These Are The 10 Worst Chicago Suburbs
We used science and data to determine which Chicago suburbs are the real pits.
Nick James, RoadSnacks
Chicago has captured the minds of America and become an icon to the world. A shining example of down-to-earth glamour right smack dab in the middle of the heartland of America.
But not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround the Windy City.
So the question arises, do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger than life appeal of their more famous neighbor?
We’ve come here today to use science and data to determine which Chicago ‘burbs need a little tender loving care, the sore thumbs of the Chicagoland area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Chicago, although Wilmette certainly tries.
We examined the 24 biggest suburbs of Chicago to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t find them on the worst places to live in Illinois, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Chicago in terms of quality of life:
Read on to see how we determined the places around Chicago that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
Advertisement. Article Continues Below.
How we determined the worst Chicago ‘burbs
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things. We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:
We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education – student-teacher ratios and student spending levels
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Nice homes
Then, we ranked the list based on places that are the worst in all of these categories that have over 5,000 people around Chicago.
We crunched the numbers and — like magic — got the list from worst to best.
Read on below to learn more about these terrible places in Chicago to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 24 suburbs ranked from worst to best.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased. Snarkiness incorporated for entertainment purposes only. Hold on to your pants.
1. Harwood Heights
Home Prices: $213,000
Adjusted Median Income: $41,565
Harwood Heights has reached new heights when it comes to being a sub-par place to live — it ranks as the worst Chicago suburb.
The village of over 8,000 people ranked poorly for most criteria, but particularly poorly for adjusted median income for which it ranks as the lowest in the area. Additionally, it has the second worst education scene for children (measured in terms of student-teacher ratio and student spending). It also has the second lowest population density, so there’s less to do when you decide to skip school.
On the bright side? Crime really isn’t that bad for the area.
Home Prices: $197,100
Adjusted Median Income: $50,170
Lyons isn’t the king of the jungle when it comes to being a bad place to live near Chicago as it ranks second overall.
Unlike Harwood Heights, crime is an issue in Lyons as it ranks as having the 3rd worst crime index in the area. Mix in a low adjusted median income and you might be scared of this lion.
Home Prices: $188,300
Adjusted Median Income: $51,545
It’s not worth living in Worth, the third worst Chicago suburb.
Not living up to its name, Worth has the fifth lowest home prices and fourth lowest adjusted median income of the Chicago suburbs we looked at.
4. Hickory Hills
Home Prices: $181,700
Adjusted Median Income: $53,732
The king of the hill when it comes to being a potentially bad place to live around Chicago is Hickory Hills.
The city on the southwest corner of Chicago ranks as having the second lowest home values in the area and the sixth highest crime rate.
5. Oak Lawn
Home Prices: $147,300
Adjusted Median Income: $57,428
Oak Lawn hasn’t been watered in a while as it places fifth on our list of the worst places to live around Chicago.
The biggest city in the top ten by far, Oak Lawn “boasts” the lowest home prices in the area by a wide margin, which is a signal that no one really wants to live here. Can’t argue with supply and demand, right?
6. Palos Hills
Home Prices: $217,700
Adjusted Median Income: $48,868
The sixth worst Chicago suburb goes to Palos Hills.
The city ranked as having the second lowest adjusted median income on the list as a big chunk of your pay check goes to the relatively high cost of living (the highest of any place in the top ten).
Source: Google Maps
Home Prices: $182,000
Adjusted Median Income: $66,027
Westchester proves it’s not the best chester as it ranks as the seventh worst Chicago burb.
Located to the west of Chicago, Westchester ranks as having the third lowest home prices in the area.
Home Prices: $195,400
Adjusted Median Income: $65,468
It’s not all butterflies and streams in Brookfield as it ranks as the eighth worst place to live around Chicago.
The city tied for the fifth worst education index in the area and has the sixth lowest home values.
9. Elmwood Park (tie)
Home Prices: $184,300
Adjusted Median Income: $52,707
The second largest city on the list, Elmwood Park has parked itself in a tie for ninth.
It ranked poorly for home values, education, and crime, but didn’t appear higher on the list because of a relatively low unemployment rate.
9. Riverside (tie)
Home Prices: $345,000
Adjusted Median Income: $69,457
And rounding out the bottom-side of the list is Riverside in a tie for ninth worst place to live around Chicago.
Unlike the rest of the list, home values and incomes aren’t as low as they are in cities mentioned above, however 3rd lowest population density signals a lack of decent amenities.
All Aboard The L To Loserville
Well there you have it — the worst of the burbs surrounding Chicago with Harwood Heights leading the charge.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Chicago aren’t all bad. Wilmette takes the cake as the best place to live in Chicago.
So if you have a choice of where to live around Chicago, now you have the inside scoop your real estate agent would conveniently forget to mention.
Worst Chicago Suburbs Full List
La Grange Park
Share on Facebook
On the 49th Parallel
Thé Mulindwas Communication Group
"With Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja and Dr. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda is in anarchy"
Kuungana Mulindwa Mawasiliano Kikundi
"Pamoja na Yoweri Museveni, Ssabassajja na Dk. Kiiza Besigye, Uganda ni katika machafuko"