These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Illinois For 2018


Using science and data, we can tell you which teeny specks in IL are the pits.

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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:

  1. Goofy Ridge
  2. Old Shawne
  3. Hopkins Park
  4. Alsey
  5. Baylis
  6. Nason
  7. Mcclure
  8. Creal Springs
  9. Nebo
  10. Thebes

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.

And if you already know about the small towns, check out the best places to live in Illinois or the worst places to live in Illinois.

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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.

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1. Goofy Ridge


Population: 183
Median Income: $19,500
Median Home Value: $33,800

2. Old Shawne

Source: Public Domain

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

4. Alsey


Population: 184
Median Income: $24,792
Median Home Value: $47,100

5. Baylis


Population: 190
Median Income: $26,875
Median Home Value: $35,700

6. Nason


Population: 266
Median Income: $30,417
Median Home Value: $43,600

7. Mcclure


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

9. Nebo


Population: 280
Median Income: $23,750
Median Home Value: $40,200

10. Thebes


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.

  1. Best: Indian Creek
  2. 2nd Best: Trout Valley
  3. 3rd Best: Bartelso

For more reading, check out:

  • These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Illinois
  • These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Illinois
  • These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Illinois
  • Ranking Of The 100 Worst Small Towns In Illinois

    City Rank Population Home Price
    Goofy Ridge 1 183 $33,800
    Old Shawne 2 130 $26,600
    Hopkins Park 3 413 $50,000
    Alsey 4 184 $47,100
    Baylis 5 190 $35,700
    Nason 6 266 $43,600
    Mcclure 7 417 $56,000
    Creal Springs 8 389 $49,400
    Nebo 9 280 $40,200
    Thebes 10 406 $47,300
    Wilsonville 11 658 $52,900
    Wheeler 12 131 $41,300
    East Cape Girardeau 13 670 $60,200
    Dana 14 121 $71,400
    Waggoner 15 183 $51,000
    Alma 16 383 $46,500
    Brooklyn 17 740 $34,400
    Cypress 18 232 $56,000
    Broughton 19 171 $51,400
    Fidelity 20 161 $44,200
    Vernon 21 111 $37,100
    Galatia 22 940 $54,100
    Grand Tower 23 457 $42,300
    Rosiclare 24 839 $47,300
    Enfield 25 533 $37,300
    Kampsville 26 310 $56,400
    Orient 27 350 $34,400
    Maunie 28 141 $19,800
    Hurst 29 705 $51,700
    New Haven 30 382 $41,400
    Mount Clare 31 237 $70,000
    Tamms 32 749 $54,000
    Oak Grove 33 562 $10,400
    Kilbourne 34 310 $55,000
    Buckner 35 467 $45,300
    Donnellson 36 176 $42,500
    Stonefort 37 420 $45,800
    Mound City 38 624 $29,000
    Karnak 39 601 $46,800
    Plymouth 40 383 $36,500
    Wilmington 41 144 $55,000
    Keithsburg 42 558 $46,900
    West City 43 789 $56,500
    Roberts 44 374 $49,600
    Gorham 45 137 $28,600
    Irving 46 414 $50,600
    Willow Hill 47 261 $43,600
    Prairie City 48 424 $50,000
    Olive Branch 49 617 $74,300
    Bush 50 244 $32,000
    Vermilion 51 281 $53,700
    Elvaston 52 124 $60,000
    Standard City 53 159 $70,600
    Golconda 54 819 $55,000
    Junction City 55 455 $44,700
    Royal Lakes 56 134 $47,500
    Exeter 57 105 $51,400
    La Fayette 58 220 $42,900
    Bath 59 257 $51,400
    Belgium 60 408 $67,700
    Olmsted 61 435 $57,700
    Mulberry Grove 62 670 $51,400
    Waltonville 63 412 $70,300
    East Carondelet 64 523 $52,000
    Joppa 65 325 $50,000
    Alto Pass 66 382 $74,600
    Sims 67 276 $51,700
    Sorento 68 530 $50,500
    Crossville 69 801 $43,800
    Omaha 70 331 $48,000
    St. Johns 71 234 $49,000
    New Canton 72 356 $44,600
    Dowell 73 350 $44,700
    Clayton 74 607 $60,600
    Walnut Hill 75 106 $55,800
    Metcalf 76 179 $18,400
    Kansas 77 652 $59,300
    Jewett 78 226 $70,600
    Eldred 79 165 $55,000
    Herrick 80 358 $39,400
    Ashley 81 553 $57,500
    Pittsburg 82 564 $67,000
    Nilwood 83 246 $64,200
    Kane 84 338 $52,100
    Elizabet 85 273 $72,100
    Lake Ka-Ho 86 190 $52,300
    Nelson 87 132 $70,800
    Palmyra 88 579 $60,000
    Keyesport 89 443 $73,200
    Farina 90 647 $55,500
    Alvan 91 308 $60,700
    Norris 92 167 $59,200
    Ludlow 93 417 $63,100
    Loda 94 315 $70,000
    Forest City 95 225 $60,000
    Brookport 96 892 $49,800
    Thompsonville 97 645 $56,900
    St. Augustine 98 115 $46,500
    Pulaski 99 206 $31,900
    Eagarville 100 165 $67,000

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    8 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Small Towns In Illinois For 2018

    1. See how many empty homes you can find in Grand Tower today(good luck- extremely few); it is a very tight-knit community where we go above and beyond to help our neighbors. It is beautiful, the people are great, and while we may not be wealthy, we have it a dozen times better than anyone living in a bigger town.

    2. Bud Tappan, your opinion is bs. You don’t know anything about what your talking about. Sure every town has their drunks , unemployed, and dropouts. But you took this to the next level with your disrespect. I know personally 6 of these towns on your list of 10 and they are great places and I was born and raised in one further down on your list. I’m guessing that you either live in Chicago or some other miserable city. These towns you call horrible places, are really quiet farm towns, that provide crops on a major scale for this state and country. We don’t get large grants every year or every decade. So yeah there are no jobs. But Chicago sure does they get all the handouts.
      Take your opinion and shove it up your ass city bitch.

    3. I bet you guys think everything south of Chicago is crap because it’s not glamorous. Everyone in Illinois knows Chicago is a FAR different place from downstate, or anywhere outside of Cook County for that matter. I live in Chicagoland and I’d hazard a guess Chicago has more drug dealers, prostitutes, and criminals than any one of these communities. Maybe if you knew the people of the communities you write arbitrarily about you’d think about what you write.

      Oh, and “opinions based on data”? That’s a load of steaming bull.

    4. I am proud of the little town of Gorham, from which I graduated from High School. I have shown many people where I came from, on google maps. A lot of people I have had the privilege of meeting over the years told me how lucky I was to grow up in a farming community. The area landscape is one of the most beautiful I have seen. Neighbors were not close by but they were awesome people, and they treated my Grandparents with respect and love. I have lived within City limits, but I would take the Country Road any day.

    5. I don’t live in any of these towns/villages/burgs, but have been to most of them…and EVERYONE of them would be 10 times better to live in than ANYWHERE in Crook, oops, Cook county!!!!

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