First off, for those who are expecting a low-ranking for the city of Rockford, relax. Rockford didn't make the list, because our population is too large to meet the criteria of 25,000 to 100,000 people. Some of you in neighboring communities, however, might not like the ranking your hometown gets.

The personal finance site, WalletHub, put their formidable numbers-crunchers to work figuring out which cities in Illinois (with a population of 25,000 to 100,000 people) provide their residents with both a good quality-of-life, and affordable living costs.

Kevin Hoffman, writing for Reboot Illinois, describes some of the other criteria:

A total of 30 indicators were used to determine a small city’s livability score, ranging from school quality and housing costs to crime rates and the number of restaurants per capita.
Individual rankings were broken down into five main categories: affordability, economic health, education and health, quality of life and safety.

First, the top five best small cities in Illinois:

  1. Lake in the Hills
  2. Elmhurst
  3. Highland Park
  4. Algonquin
  5. Crystal Lake

Now, the bottom five:

  1. East St. Louis
  2. Kankakee
  3. North Chicago
  4. Urbana
  5. Berwyn

Belvidere gets the #8 spot on the "worst" list, and Dekalb is ranked #20 on the same list.

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