SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
The best and worst counties to live in

Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014

* Reboot

The New York Times recently published an interactive map citing the hardest places to live in the U.S.

The article ranks all 3,135 U.S. counties on ease of life based on the following factors: median household income, education, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity rate.

* The 25 “best” Illinois counties…


* The 25 “worst” Illinois counties…


And if Illinois county geography isn’t your strong point, click here for the respective lists.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Old Shepherd - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 12:52 pm:

    I guess “best” and “worst” is in the eye of the beholder.

  2. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    Yeah - New York Times, Madison County is a garden spot. Especially when the springtime flowers poke their beautiful heads up through the abandoned buildings and baby birds take flight over downtown East St. Louis.

  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    VMan, East St. Louis is in St. Clair County.

    Much of Madison County really is quite nice.

  4. - titan - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:08 pm:

    VanillaMan - Madison isn’t on either list

  5. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    I better check that county geography map!

  6. - RMW Stanford - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    Grew up in the 15th best and now live in the 7th best

  7. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    Kankakee County checks in at #21. Only four other Illinois counties are worse places to live.

    I’ve always said Kankakee is a very good place to be from, and it’s a horrible place to be going.

  8. - Illiana - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    So 52 of 102 counties rank in the top half nationally. Sounds about right.

    VanillaMan, you are aware that East St. Louis is in St. Clair County right? In addition, Madison & St. Clair are on neither the top or bottom 25, so I am not sure why you mentioned it. Frankly, I am not surprised to see 3 St. Louis metro counties in the top 25 & none in the bottom 25, even if there are some struggling communities.

  9. - Illiana - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:12 pm:


    I apologize if my comment came out snarky.

  10. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    Lake County is #3? That number may apply to the North Shore and a couple of other communities, not much else.

  11. - Norseman - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:35 pm:

    The high property tax collar counties are ranked pretty high on the “‘best’ Illinois counties” list. Shows that there’s more to quality of life than a concern about property taxes.

  12. - Illiana - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    I don’t know that there are too many surprises. The top 25 contains a lot of suburban counties, not just in Chicagoland, but also Marshall, Tazewell, Menard, Henry, Woodford, Monroe, Washington, Clinton, Piatt, Boone, Ogle along with a few central cities McLean, Sangamon, & Champaign. By my count only 3 non-metropolitan made the top 25: Adams (Quincy), Effingham, & JoDaviess (Galena).

    By comparison, the bottom 25 is heavily weighted toward non-metropolitan counties with the exceptions being Vermillon (Danville), Peoria, Alexander (technically considered part of the Cape Girardeau metro area), & Kankakee.

  13. - Ray del Camino - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:43 pm:

    Poor old SO IL.

  14. - Anonymoiis - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    Does any of this take into account cost of living?

  15. - Chi - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    If it wasn’t for Chicagoland dragging down the rest of the state, all those So IL counties would be in the top 25 instead, right? :)

  16. - BIG R. Ph. - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    I guess it depends on whether or not you like to deer hunt. I would suppose that the NYT does not consider that a desirable lifestyle.

  17. - A guy... - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 2:32 pm:

    Yikes. I live in the #1 ranked county and it still ain’t easy. But I do love DuPage among many others.

  18. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 2:39 pm:

    Apparently traffic jams don’t count.

  19. - So what? - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    47th Ward-
    I would think that 21st means 21st from the bottom not the other way around. Kankakee has had its struggles but the worst is yet to come. The RTA removing their special taxing set-ups is worse for government there than any employer moving out of the County.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 2:43 pm:

    Kendall County.

    We have it all…

    Was one of the fastest growing counties in America at one point before the housing bubble.

  21. - cover - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    Illiana, Peoria County isn’t on either list. Peoria County’s 3 eastern neighbor counties and McLean are on the “best” list, while its western neighbors Knox and Fulton are on the “worst”.

  22. - Stooges - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    Where the heck you from Iliana? Henry county is hardly a suburb to anything, and its a stretch to consider Washington and Clinton as suburban to STL. Neither is Ogle suburban to Rockford. Have you been to any of those places?

    Also, Peoria is not in the bottom 25, and Cape Girardeau has minimal influence on Alexander county.

    Many of the better counties have major universities, which helps with median income, unemployment and education.

  23. - k3 - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 2:58 pm:

    Glad you’re not around anymore, 47th Ward! Lots of positive things are happening in Kankakee County and in fact, employers are making major investments in the county and we have the fastest job growth in the state. The idea that it would be better to live in Jasper, Coles or Effingham County than in Kankakee is ridiculous. It just proves that you can make a list based off any statistics you want. What about property values, cost of living or proximity to major metropolitan areas? What about arts and entertainment, an area we are seeing a lot of growth in? Bogus.

  24. - logic not emotion - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 3:00 pm:

    I haven’t checked; but I bet it is similar to the report / rating.

    Economic factors play a major role.

  25. - logic not emotion - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 3:03 pm:

    k3: I agree that most lists are distorted; but I’ve spent a little time in Kankakee and in those other counties. I haven’t checked; but how does the crime rate there compare to Jasper, Coles or Effingham?

  26. - k3 - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    Countywide, the crime rate would likely be average (I can’t find stats on overall crime). City of Kankakee is higher, but the crime rate is still the lowest it’s been since the 70’s. And I agree the list mirrors the County Health rankings and we do have underserved communities and that’s a challenge. But I would argue the resources we have for people in poverty are far greater than any rural county to our south, but that’s not part of the survey. And I will concede we need to do better and collaborating to lift families out of poverty.

  27. - Diogenes in DuPage - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 3:19 pm:

    Given the factors listed, there are not too many surprises on the state or national maps.

  28. - southwest - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 3:34 pm:

    I have spent many years in both the #1 and the #6 best counties - DuPage is very much inferior to Monroe - in my humble and biased opinion!

  29. - ah HA - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 3:36 pm:

    Sangamon County easy to live in?? bahhh… I think Cook County is the worst county to live in.

  30. - efudd - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 3:38 pm:

    Iliana-I live in Union county. Although one passes through Alexander county to get to Cape, no one, in either Missouri or Illinois, consider it a part of “metro” Cape Girardeau. To the post, I grew up in Kankakee county, if southern Illinois is considered the worst places to live, I respectfully disagree.

  31. - Federalist - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    These type of rankings are constantly being published by all types of groups/organizations.

    They have their own criteria and perhaps their own agenda.

    Think for yourself and don’t pay too much attention to them.

  32. - Anon - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 3:55 pm:

    Is it a coincidence that the worst counties are all south of I-80? Is that Chicago’s fault?

  33. - Illiana - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 4:13 pm:


    Here is the official map of Metropolitan & Micropolitan Areas of the United States

  34. - Illiana - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 4:14 pm:

    And yes I see that I should have seen it as Fulton in the bottom 25, not Peoria

  35. - Illiana - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 4:29 pm:

    It appears that Washington County is not part of Greater St. Louis, but Clinton County is. Henry County is official part of the Quad Cities metro area. Ogle County is not part of suburban Rockford, so I erred there. Alexander County is officially part of the Cape Girardeau metro area.

    So that leaves 5 non-metropolitan counites in the top 25 (Adams, Effingham, JoDaviess, Ogle, & Washington) & only 3 metropolitan counties in the bottom 25 (Vermillion, Kankakee, & Alexander).

  36. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 5:12 pm:

    –I think Cook County is the worst county to live in. –

    Yeah, that’s why it has the largest population of any county. The mean streets of Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Wilmette, Glenview, River Forest, etc. are rough.

  37. - A guy... - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 5:59 pm:

    Don’t forget Oak Park, Orland Park, Barrington, Palatine, Schaumburg, and a bunch of other great places. And don’t leave out Beverly, Sauganash or a ton of great city neighborhoods. There’s lots right with Cook County.

  38. - drew - Tuesday, Aug 12, 14 @ 7:11 pm:

    It seems like the median income should be adjusted for cost of living, but other than that the criteria seem pretty objective.

  39. - Down Here - Wednesday, Aug 13, 14 @ 7:51 am:

    Washington and Clinton Counties are hardly suburban. Maybe you could consider New Baden, which straddles the Clinton/St. Clair County line as exurban. Aside from that, purely rural. Carlyle and Nashville are both about 50 miles from St. Louis, but there are a lot of farm fields in between.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* Zopp makes small cable TV buy during debate
* Exelon Just Received A $1.7 Billion Rate Increase Through The Market-Based Capacity Auction
* Question of the day
* Raoul: "Inflexible demands plus willful amnesia is no recipe for any negotiation"
* Violence spike blamed on budget cuts
* *** UPDATED - Home and doing better *** I'll be back later
* Gray hired by Trump
* MLB playoff open thread
* Once more, with feeling
* B3 fallout?
* Unclear on the concept
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Visit our advertisers...







Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

* Galaxy Android 6.0 updates, iPhone 6s expansion & more – Pocketnow Daily
* Sony rolls back CEO’s comments on selling mobile division
* Acer setting up for October 12 Windows 10 devices day
* 3D Touch Control Center concept reminds Apple of what it can do
* Google is getting more search volume from smartphones than PCs
* BATBAND: Sleek, ear-free headphones won’t hurt your ears, now on Kickstarter
* Moto X Force passes through Chinese regulators

* Hahn feels White Sox fanbase's frustration
* Sox to rely on improvement of core in 2016
* One benefit of the White Sox' lefty-heavy rotation
* Foot issue to sideline White Sox prospect Hawkins
* After second base, it was no-go White Sox
* Scouting, player development key for White Sox
* Arbitration-eligible White Sox won't put dent in payroll


Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0


* Anti-violence programs shut down as Chicago sho.....
* GOP Standing By Rauner -
* GOP Standing By Rauner - Alton Daily News..

* Bridge construction to halt Chicago-St. Louis Amtrak trains
* Jesse Jackson calls for conference on gun violence
* Man charged in shooting death of Chicago police employee
* Ex-cemetery worker receives probation for body desecration
* Rauner names contributor to preservation agency
* Ex-governor says ex-convicts shouldn't be labeled felon
* Rockford University looking to finish raising $17.3 million
* Corruption arraignment Tuesday for ex-Chicago schools CEO
* Chinese students bring new business to Champaign-Urbana
* ISU president calls for end to budget turmoil in Springfield

* More than 400 press passes issued for this year's Illinois State Fair
* Rauner names new chair of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency board
* Rail work to shut down Chicago-St. Louis Amtrak trains for two weeks
* Rail work to shut down Amtrak trains for two weeks
* Ex-governor Ryan says ex-convicts shouldn't be labeled felons
* Anti-violence programs shut down as Chicago shootings climb
* The Papers of Abraham Lincoln project still in jeopardy; memo paints discouraging picture
* Democrats say Rauner 'needs to get serious' on budget
* Democrats: Illinois could go broke without budget
* Gov. Rauner ends quarter with $19M in campaign fund

* Notre Dame gets $20 million for global investing institute
* The Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots approach to governing
* Cubs World Series tickets would be most expensive in history
* Union files lawsuit on Chicago Park District pension bill
* Paul Ryan said to weigh speaker bid under GOP pressure

* Patrick Kane spoils Islanders Brooklyn debut
* Jonathan Toews sets up Patrick Kane with ridiculous no-look pass
* Ryan says ex-cons shouldn’t have to wear ‘felon’ label
* Watch: New Blackhawk Artem Anisimov scores shorthanded goal
* Tearful Ald. Carrie Austin on health crisis that nearly killed her
* Emails: Ex-CPS CEO was outraged City Hall questioned no-bid deal
* Artemi Panarin’s personality, skill breaking down language barrier
* Parents blast CPS for cuts in special ed programs
* Mayor tells U.S. attorney general that Chicago cops are in “fetal” position
* Blackhawks’ success further motivates Nick Leddy

* 15-year-old killed, four people wounded in city shootings
* Cubs faithful gather in Wrigleyville to cheer on team in NLDS Game 1
* Emanuel supports principal training amid CPS scandal fallout
* Elmhurst police ask for help identifying woman killed by Metra train
* Bomb threat at GSU cancels classes
* Man, 62, found dead outside on Far South Side
* Teen is charged in killing of longtime Chicago police civilian employee
* Ryan says 'felon' hurts convicts' chances of finding work
* Police charge father after incident that left infant son seriously injured
* Black bear that visited Indiana this summer returns to state

* More than 400 press passes issued for this year's Illinois State Fair
* Charles Krauthammer: Another massacre, another charade
* Rauner names new chair of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency board
* Rail work to shut down Chicago-St. Louis Amtrak trains for two weeks
* Ex-governor Ryan says ex-convicts shouldn't be labeled felons
* Anti-violence programs shut down as Chicago shootings climb
* The Papers of Abraham Lincoln project still in jeopardy; memo paints discouraging picture
* Mike Lang: 'Racial Taboo' screening will advance local unity efforts
* Democrats say Rauner 'needs to get serious' on budget

* Area prep statistics: Boys' and girls' cross-country (Oct. 10)
* Sabers' comeback falls short
* Tigers become playoff eligible with latest victory
* Panthers roll to first shutout against Dwight
* Sages' flurry sinks Sabers
* Spartans get off to hot start against Maroa
* Bulldogs can't dig out from early hole
* Storm outlasts Bunnies in nonconference tilt
* Anthony Zilis' Week 7 Helmet Stickers
* Jones sparkles in defeat

* Cubs get tough reminder: This is still the Cardinals
* Rozner: Cards execute plan to perfection to take Game 1
* Boy Scouts closing Woodstock's Camp Lakota, two in Wisconsin
* Officials: Five people hospitalized after Long Grove crash
* Lackey, home runs too much for Chicago Cubs

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Boulder Rep. Jared Polis introduces afford......
* Senator Durbin Calls on VA and Department ......

* Kirk supported money to Illinois waterways......

* Ramp From Lower Wacker To LSD Closure Starts Monday
* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* No political bets -- this means St. Louis won’t get Cubbie-blue cheesecake
* McHenry board cancels health insurance of striking teachers.
* Keeping retirement weird. A little place in Michigan.
* Speaker Softly and Carry a Big Stick
* Parents, Advocates Speak Out Against CPS Special Need Education Cuts
* Special education
* Marine Drive To Undergo Repaving
* Schakowsky Introduces Bill To Make Renewable Energy Tax Credit Permanent

* Board’s New Rules Will Reduce Risk of Tire Fires and Disease-Carrying Mosquitos
* Illinois Hosts Inaugural Interstate Medical Licensure Compact - Aims to increase health care access through multi-state physician licensure program
* IEMA Announces Elgin Community College Attains ‘Ready to Respond Campus’ Designation - Elgin one of five Illinois campuses to receive distinction
* New Mortgage Loan Interface Increases Efficiency, Compliance
* State Fire Marshal Ushers In Fire Prevention Week - “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep!”

    Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller