Illinois is often described as a microcosm of the entire United States. It's certainly true that it has a little something of everything. From big, sprawling cities to tiny little backwaters, natural attractions to urban thrills, this is a state that manages to pack a lot in.
It's also a state where high crime rates sidle up against small-town values, where mansions sit next to hovels, and where high incomes are juxtaposed with extreme poverty.
For Illinois residents with the benefit of big paychecks and mammoth savings accounts, there's certainly no lack of places to live. But which of the state's neighborhoods rank as the wealthiest? Find out now as we run through the 20 richest neighborhoods in Illinois.
20. North Centre, Chicago
Residents of the North Centre neighborhood of Chicago may have to fork out almost half a million for a home, but they get a lot by way of return. Not only is the neighborhood blessed with a great little selection of boutiques, parks, restaurants, and bars, it also boasts a median income of just a smidgeon under $100,000.
19. Lincoln Park, Chicago
For those with money to burn, the neighborhood of Lincoln Park has long been considered one of the best places in Chicago to burn it. Several millionaire property investors have bought up numerous lots in the area, turning it into the kind of place where home prices frequently exceed the million-dollar mark. As you'd expect, the residents aren't short of a few bucks. According to the latest data, most households are pulling in just short of $100,000 a year.
18. Hidden Lakes, South Barrington
According to city-data.com, the median income in South Barrington dropped by a hefty 14.5 percent between 2000 and 2019. Considering that still leaves most households on an income of $149,067, you can hold the violins for now.
While the entire village is doing well for itself, those in Hidden Lakes are doing better than most, at least if the average property price is anything to go by. Set your sights on this exclusive little neighborhood, and you'll struggle to find anything for less than $2 million.
17. Old Barrington Estates, North Barrington
If you don't mind blowing a little over $1.5 million for a property, you might want to cast your eyes in the direction of the North Barrington neighborhood of Old Barrington Estates.
The neighborhood, which consists largely of expansive new builds with every mod con you can imagine, is safe, leafy, and blessed with easy access to the amenities and facilities of the city. if you're happy to sink your entire fortune into a home, you'll find few better places to do it.
16. South River Forest, River Forest
Home Snacks has ranked the city of River Forest as one of the ten wealthiest cities in Illinois. With a median income of $129,928 and a median home value of $596,900, it's not hard to see how they came to the conclusion.
Located just 12 miles west of Chicago, the city is bristling with history, charm, and the kind of stunning homes you'd willingly suck up a hefty mortgage for. If you want to enjoy the champagne and caviar lifestyle, head for the neighborhood of South River Forest, a small little community made up of the city's richest residents.
15. Lee Woods, Northbrook
The Northbrook neighborhood of Lee Woods has been kicking around since the early 1950s. With each passing decade, it seems to get ever more expensive. With its pretty, leafy streets and its expansive properties, it's not hard to see what draws so many of Illinois' movers and shakers into the neighborhood.
Nor is it particularly difficult to see what makes Northbrook itself so popular. With some great schools, fantastic job opportunities, and a crime rate that barely registers, the suburb packs a lot into a relatively small space.
14. Meadowbrook, Deerfield
The leafy suburb of Deerfield has excellent schools, a charming, historic center, multiple job opportunities, a sublime location just 12 miles west of Lake Michigan, and some of the most expensive properties in Illinois.
In fairness, not every home in the city comes with a million-dollar price tag, but most of those in the neighborhood of Meadowbrook do. Most Meadowbrook residents are on astronomically high incomes, but even so, the cost of even a modest home here is a hard pill to swallow.
13. Lansdowne, Lake Bluff
Lansdowne is a small neighborhood in the equally small city of Lake Bluff. Developed during the early 20th century, the neighborhood ranks as the richest neighborhood in what's already a very rich city.
With its parks, its short commute into Chicago, its excellent schools, its minuscule crime rate, and its endless opportunities for fun and recreation, Lake Bluff is understandably considered one of Illinois' gems. Just be prepared to pay over the odds to live here.
The average house price is anything but average, especially in Landowne, where you'll need to part with at least a couple of million to get something decent. As you'd expect, most residents are earning the kind of income that will make your jaw drop.
12. Woods Of Cantigny, Winfield
Winfield is a small city with 9700 residents. The entire city is affluent, but those with the most cash to burn tend to congregate in the small, super exclusive neighborhood of Woods Of Cantigny. According to neighborhoods.com, Woods Of Cantigny 'features large homes' in a 'well-established community that continues to attract interest from buyers looking in the Winfield area.'
Whoever those buyers are, they'd better have some serious spending power - homes here are nothing if not expensive. On the plus side, most residents are earning enough (around $113,583 per household per year) not to worry too much about the size of their mortgage.
11. Lake View, Chicago
Spanning a big portion of the North Side of Chicago, Lake View is one of the largest neighborhoods in Chicago. With great public transportation and a huge array of bars, restaurants, and shops, it's understandably one of the city's most desirable locations.
Unfortunately for those on a shoestring budget, it's also one of the most expensive - so much so, in fact, Home Snacks ranks it as one of the wealthiest areas in Chicago.
10. Deere Park, Highland Park
If you've ever watched "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off," you'll already be familiar with Highland Park. With its stunning setting on Lake Michigan, the town has provided the setting for countless movies over the years.
Opportunities for relaxation and play on its beaches and recreational areas are endless, while there are enough shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues in the town itself to keep all tastes happy.
The entire town is affluent, but the neighborhood of Deere Park is known as one of its most exclusive areas. If you want to fit in here, you'll need at least a few million tucked away in the bank.
9. Gold Coast, Chicago
The historic neighborhood of Gold Coast has long been one of Chicago's richest neighborhoods. Developed in the wake of the Great Chicago Fire, it's home to some of the most expensive real estate in the city.
Described by choosechicago.com as an 'architectural jewel box,' the neighborhood features row upon row of 19th-century homes designed in a stunning array of historical revival styles. It's also got some great bars, world-class restaurants, and plenty of boutiques for its wealthy residents to spend their whopping paychecks at.
8. Southeast Hinsdale, Hinsdale
There's no escaping the fact that Hinsdale is an affluent community, as well as a desirable one. This little suburb consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in Illinois. Set just 20 minutes from Chicago, it's close enough to the big city for residents to enjoy the attractions and job opportunities, but far enough away for them to benefit from the charm of small-town living.
Wherever you live in Hinsdale, you won't get much change from a million for a property. If you choose to live in the super swanky neighborhood of Southeast Hinsdale, the prices rise even higher. Understandably enough, most of the neighborhood's residents are earning more per month than most of us make in a year.
7. Streeterville, Chicago
If you don't blink an eye at the thought of spending a bomb on a property, you might want to consider Streeterville. This Chicago neighborhood boosts big houses, big price tags, and, according to point2homes.com, some of the highest earners in the city. The mortgages may be massive, but the median incomes are just as huge.
6. Tuscon Woods, Oak Brook
Oak Brook is a small, affluent suburb of Chicago with a population of around 7,883. As the headquarters of companies such as Ace Hardwood, Lions Club International, and Sanford L.P, job opportunities abound.
The schools are excellent, and the amenities - which include the incredibly picturesque, 27-hole public golf facility Oak Brook Golf Course and the slightly more upscale members-only Butler National Golf Club (Oak Brook residents really like their golf apparently) - are excellent.
While the entire village is teeming with wealthy residents and multi-million dollar properties, the very richest live in the supremely exclusive neighborhood of Tuscon Woods.
5. Barrington Lakes, Barrington Hills
Barrington Hills is a small village located about 40 miles northwest of Chicago. The entire village is affluent, but nowhere is quite so affluent as the neighborhood of Barrington Lakes.
Properties here rarely come onto the market, but when they do, you can expect a multi-million price tag to be attached. You can also expect them to have several acres of land to go with the house: despite having just 4000 residents to its name, the village sprawls over 29 square miles, meaning there are just 140 people per square mile. To put that into perspective, Chicago has over 10,000 people per square mile.
4. Village Center, Hawthorne Woods
According to neighborhoodscout.com, the Village Centre neighborhood of Hawthorne Woods has a median home price that's more expensive than 93.0% of the neighborhoods in Illinois and 83.0% of the neighborhoods in the U.S. Renting is no less expensive- if you do manage to find an apartment (although good luck with that - as most people own their homes here, the rental market is somewhat lackluster), expect to part with around $2347 per month. In compensation for the high property prices, most households can expect to earn around $175,795 per year.
3. Inverness, Inverness
Inverness is small. So small, in fact, the entire village is made up of just one neighborhood. But what a neighborhood. With an enviable combination of great schools, low crime, leafy green spaces, and first-class eateries, it regularly ranks as one of Illinois' most desirable places to live.... and it's most expensive.
Because make no mistake, property prices here are sky-high. Even a modest, relatively humble single-family home will set you back around $628,700. The average rental property, meanwhile, comes in north of $3000.
Fortunately, most residents are compensated by way of a median household income that ranks as one of the highest in the state. By the last count, most families were earning the distinctly unaverage salary of $192,576.
2. Skokie Heights, Glencoe
Skokie Heights is a neighborhood in Glencoe, Illinois. Although no area of Glencoe is what you'd describe as undesirable, Skokie Heights is arguably its most exclusive (and expensive) neighborhood.
Unless you're happy enough to sleep on someone else's sofa, living here comes at a premium. If you want a single-family home, expect to part with around $953,700.
Rental property is a little more reasonable (around $1,574 per month) but with the vast majority of residents owning their own homes, you'll struggle to find anything on the property market that isn't for sale. The median income, meanwhile, is an enviable $248,851.
1. Forest Glen, Winnetka
As winnetkahistory.org notes, the Forest Glen neighborhood of Winnetka has a history that pre-dates World War II. During the 1920s and 1930s, rich Chicago families would descend on Winnetka to spend their summers away from the grime and noise of the city.
One of those families was the Dennehy's, who fell so much in love with the beauty of the area they ended up building the estate and mansion that would later expand into Forest Glen. Today, it's one of the most exclusive and richest neighborhoods in Illinois, with a median home value of $1,091,700 and a median income of $250,001.
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Written by Liz Flynn
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