Most Americans have never been to Illinois. However, as the people who live there know, Illinois is an awesome state.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Illinois has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Prairie State. Don’t shoot the messenger, this is all using data.
After analyzing more than 578 of Illinois’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in Illinois where you’d never want to live:
- Goofy Ridge
- Old Shawne
- Hopkins Park
- Creal Springs
Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since Illinois has its stuff figured out.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.
How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?
In order to rank the worst small towns to live in Illinois, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we crunched the numbers
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the Census’s 2010-2014 American Community Survey, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The lower the worse)
- Highest Unemployment Rates
- Low housing costs (meaning there’s no demand)
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Education (Number of high school dropouts)
- High Crime
We looked at cities with populations between 100 and 1,000 people, of which, there were a lot – 578 to be exact.
Additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.
1. Goofy Ridge
Population: 183 Median Income: $19,500
Median Home Value: $33,800
2. Old Shawne
Population: 130 Median Income: $17,188
Median Home Value: $26,600
3. Hopkins Park
Population: 413 Median Income: $18,750
Median Home Value: $50,000
Population: 184 Median Income: $24,792
Median Home Value: $47,100
Population: 190 Median Income: $26,875
Median Home Value: $35,700
Population: 266 Median Income: $30,417
Median Home Value: $43,600
Population: 417 Median Income: $35,750
Median Home Value: $56,000
8. Creal Springs
Population: 389 Median Income: $27,031
Median Home Value: $49,400
Population: 280 Median Income: $23,750
Median Home Value: $40,200
Population: 406 Median Income: $28,125
Median Home Value: $47,300
There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In Illinois
If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Prairie State with the worst economic situations, where there’s high crime and there’s not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best small towns to live in Illinois, according to science.
- Best: Indian Creek
- 2nd Best: Trout Valley
- 3rd Best: Bartelso
For more reading, check out:
Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Illinois
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