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The 20 Worst Places to Live in Illinois


Illinois has some amazing places to live that offer residents a fantastic lifestyle. There are safe locations with excellent schools, multiple leisure activities, employment opportunities in various industries, and good transport links.

On the other hand, there are some less desirable places in which to live. On the one hand, the cost of living and property prices are often lower in these areas, although this is often a sign of economic problems and a lack of demand in the housing market.

The worst areas often have higher crime rates, a lack of amenities and activities, poor-performing schools, and limited job opportunities. To help you find the best areas to live and to avoid the most undesirable areas, here are the worst places to live in Illinois.


20. Matteson

Matteson is a suburb of Chicago that is home to 19,336 people. Crime is the main reason why Matteson makes it onto the list of the 20 worst places to live in Illinois, as it is the 14th most dangerous place in the state.

Although it only has the 42nd worst property crimes in Illinois, violent crimes are a massive problem as Matteson has the fifth highest violent crime rate. A further issue is the underfunded schools, so educational opportunities are not the best in this city.

Despite the problems with education and crime, Matteson does offer a good lifestyle for many people due to the diversity of the activities in the area.


19. Chicago

For those who live in Chicago, it may not surprise them to learn that the city is one of the worst locations to live in the state. Overall, Chicago is the 13th most dangerous city in which to live.

Violent crimes are a significant problem in this city, and it has the 10th highest violent crime rate of all the cities in Illinois. Although property crimes are less of an issue, Chicago still ranks as having the 36th most property crimes in the state.

Despite these problems, the residents of Chicago are never short of something to do in their free time.


18. Metropolis

Metropolis is the 12th most dangerous place to live overall, although property crimes are a far worse issue than violent crimes. This city has the 11th most property crimes in the state.

Although it is clear that there is a crime issue in this city in Massac County, there are other elements of Metropolis that offer a good lifestyle. These include a range of family-oriented activities, decent schools, an array of outdoor spaces, and excellent transport links.


17. Carbondale

Carbondale is a city in Jackson County that is home to almost 26,000 people. It is the 10th most dangerous place to live in Illinois, which is why it makes it onto the list of the worst places to live in Illinois.

Although crime is probably the most significant issue, it is not the area's only problem. For example, the housing options are poor, and the job opportunities are limited. However, like most places, Carbondale also has some plus points.

These include above-average schools, a lively night scene, and good transport links. Carbondale also boasts a diverse community.


16. Rockford

Located in Winnebago County, Rockford is a city with a population of 147,881 people. Violent crimes are one of the biggest problems in Rockford, as it has the sixth-most violent crimes in Illinois.

However, property crime is also an issue, although the city only has the 27th highest property crime rate in the state. Another significant issue is the lack of diversity in the job market. On the other hand, the schools are decent, the community is diverse, and residents enjoy a vast array of activities in their leisure time.


15. Springfield

Springfield is the eight-most dangerous place to live in Illinois, which is the primary reason that the city is on the list of the worst places to live in Illinois.

If the safety concerns do not bother you, then there are some positive elements to life in Springfield, which is a city in Sangamon County with a population of 116,459. The schools in the city are above average, and there are plenty of things for people of all ages to do in their free time, including a lively night scene.


14. Peoria

Located in Peoria County, Peoria is home to 114,512 people. Like many other cities on the list, Peoria is considered an undesirable area due to its crime rates. It has the seventh-most violent crimes and the 18th highest property crime rate in Illinois.

Another reason that this is not a great place to live is the limited employment opportunities in the area. If you can get over these issues, then you might enjoy the nightlife and the diversity in the community if you choose to make this location your home.


13. Alton

Alton is ranked as the sixth-most dangerous place to live in the state based on a combination of violent and property crimes. Another weak point of Alton is the limited job opportunities. However, life in Alton is not all bad.

Niche says that the public schools are above average, there is community diversity, and there are plenty of activities for the residents to enjoy. Alton is a suburb of St. Louis in Madison County with a population of 26,884 residents.


12. Danville

If the rankings were down to violent crimes alone, then Danville would rank far higher up the list, as it has the second-most crimes of this type in Illinois. It also has a high property crime rate as it has the sixth-highest property crime rate.

Further issues include below-average schools and a lack of employment opportunities. On the plus side, there is a good range of leisure activities to enjoy in the area, the community is diverse, and there are strong transport links.

Mount Vernon

11. Mount Vernon

The most surprising thing is that Mount Vernon does not feature higher up this list, as the data shows that it is the most dangerous city in which to live in Illinois, says Road Snacks.

Not only does it have the third-most property crimes in Illinois, but it also has the fourth-most violent crimes. However, there are also some positive aspects of living in Mount Vernon, such as the above-average schools and vibrant nightlife.


10. Centralia

Centralia is the second-most dangerous city in Illinois, with the third-highest violent crime rate and the sixth-most property crimes. The city of 12,538 people would potentially rank higher on the list, but it has only the 32nd worst unemployment rate and 10th lowest median home value.

This location's only good point is that there are outdoor activities to enjoy in the area, although there is a lack of attractions that will appeal to families.


9. Zion

Zion is a suburb of Chicago in Lake County, with a population of 24,047. There are many downsides to living in Zion that make it one of the worst areas to live in Illinois.

First of all, it is not a great place for families, as the underfunded schools are below par, and there is a lack of family-oriented activities in the area. Another big issue is the lack of employment opportunities in the area, which possibly explains the unemployment rate of 10.9 percent.


8. Beardstown

There is an unemployment rate of 8.9 percent in Beardstown, which is home to 5,902 people. It is clear that people do not want to live in the area, as the median home value is the sixth-worst in Illinois, which is a sign of a lack of demand.

Beardstown is also the fourth-most dangerous place to live in the state. Although the evidence shows that this city has issues, there are those that argue that Beardstown is in a good location as it sits by the Illinois River, which means there are outdoor activities to enjoy in the local area.


7. Robbins

Robbins is home to just over 5,000 people. There are various issues in this small city that mean it is an undesirable place to live. Although there are outdoor spaces to enjoy, there is a general lack of leisure activities and facilities in the city, especially for families.

The economy is also poor, with a low median home value, an unemployment rate of 12.4 percent, and a lack of job opportunities. Despite not ranking in the top 20 most dangerous places to live, crime is still problematic in Robbins.


6. Hoopeston

The 15th most dangerous place to live in Illinois is Hoopeston, which is why the city ranks so highly on this list. However, crime is not Hoopeston's only problem. It also has a high unemployment rate, which is probably down to the lack of employment opportunities in the area.

Other issues include a low median home value, poorly-rated schools, and a lack of amenities and activities for residents. Hoopeston, which is in Vermilion County, is home to 5,229 people.

East St. Louis

5. East St. Louis

Multiple issues in East St. Louis have led to it being considered as one of the most undesirable places to live in Illinois. It has the third-worst unemployment rate in the state at 17.4 percent, and the median household income for residents is only $19,278.

When these figures are considered, it will not surprise you to learn that many of the 26,647 residents are living below the property line. The only good point about East St. Louis is that the public schools are highly rated.


4. Kankakee

There are multiple issues in Kankakee that make it such an undesirable place. However, at the top of the list is the poorly rated schools in the area, which have the third-lowest student-teacher ratio in the state.

Therefore, it is not the best option for families who want to live in Illinois. Kankakee also has a high unemployment rate and a low median household income. A further problem in Kankakee is the crime rates, and it is the 11th-most dangerous city in Illinois.

If you are the sort of person who tries to look for the good in every situation, then you will be pleased to learn that two positive features of this town in Kankakee County are the community diversity and the vibrant night scene.


3. Cahokia

If you are looking for a cheap place to live, then Cahokia is the place to go, as it has the lowest median home value in Illinois. However, the low property prices are not as appealing as they may initially seem, as it is a sign of the poor economy in this city.

Cahokia also has the 17th worst unemployment rate, at 13.3 percent. Another huge problem in Cahokia is the high crime rates, as it is the ninth-most dangerous place to live overall, based on both property and violent crime rates.


2. Riverdale

Economic issues are the predominant reason that Riverdale is in the second position on the list. Many people live below the poverty line, and the low median household income is the primary reason.

Furthermore, 21.3 percent of the city's population are unemployed, which is the second-highest rate of unemployment in Illinois. The economic issues are not the only problem in Riverdale, as it also has high crime rates. Statistics show that Riverdale is the 16th most dangerous place to live.


1. Centreville

According to Road Snacks, the worst place to live in Illinois is Centreville. Unlike many of the cities on this list, crime is not the area's biggest issue. The reason that Centreville ranks in the top position is its economic issues.

A staggering 45.6 percent of residents in Centreville are living in poverty, and it has the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the state. Those who are in work have some of the lowest salaries in Illinois. The median household income is the third-lowest in the state, which is a reflection of the area's lack of desirability and the low demand for housing in this small city.

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Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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