Most Americans have never been to small town Illinois. However, as the Illinoisan who live there know, small town Illinois is an awesome place to call home.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, Illinois has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using Saturday Night Science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Prairie State. Don’t freak out, we will use data to show which places have high crime, poverty, and unemployment.
After analyzing more than 371 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:
So what is the worst small town to call home in Illinois for 2023? According to the most recent census data, Cairo is the worst small town to live in Illinois.
While many of these small towns have seen better days, they have wonderful communities and people. This report in no way means to knock the folks that call towns like Cairo home. Everyone
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.
The 10 Worst Small Towns In Illinois For 2023
Median Home Value: $30,400 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.4% (7th worst)
Median Home Value: $23,100 (worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.2% (18th worst)
Median Home Value: $46,000 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.3% (4th worst)
Median Home Value: $50,000 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (38th worst)
Median Home Value: $44,600 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 23.6% (worst)
Median Home Value: $53,900 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 19.3% (2nd worst)
Median Home Value: $48,300 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.8% (11th worst)
Median Home Value: $31,000 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.6% (6th worst)
Median Home Value: $71,500 (44th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (33rd worst)
Median Home Value: $48,400 (12th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.2% (2worst)
Methodology: How do you decide if a small place in Illinois is lousy or not?
To rank the worst small towns to live in Illinois, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. Assuming that people like low crime, solid education, things to do, and a stable economy isn’t a stretch.
We then analyzed the criteria using Saturday Night Science, the thinking you’d use at a bar. It seems like even your crazy Uncle would agree that a town with high crime is worse than a town with low crime; all else the same.
- 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 1,000 and 5,000 people, of which there were many – 371 to be exact.
We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets them from the cities. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.
We base all our research on facts, which is meant as infotainment. We updated this article for 2023, which is our tenth time ranking the worst small places to live in Illinois.
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:
- Kenilworth (Pop. 2,423)
- Leland Grove (Pop. 1,336)
- Prestbury (Pop. 2,051)
For more Illinois reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Worst Small Towns In Illinois
|60||South Chicago Heights||4,022|
|95||East Hazel Crest||1,326|