Best counties to raise a family in Illinois

Illinois

Known in other parts of the world as shires, provinces, or territories, the United States’ counties (also known in certain states as boroughs or parishes) date back to the 1600s, when settlers first came to find freedom from British rule. Today, those counties remain, with the 50 states divided into several, each with its own unique makeup.

For people looking to find a home to raise a family in, choosing a county is an important decision. Most families place affordable homes, safe neighborhoods, a quality school system, and family-friendly activities at the top of their wishlists.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to raise a family in Illinois using data from Niche. Niche ranks counties based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, healthcare, recreation and weather.

The list features counties that boast some of the top schools and fun, family-friendly activities for every season. Keep reading to explore the best counties to raise a family. Maybe you’ll find one that suits your brood.

Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Clinton County

– Population: 37,634
– Median home value: $146,200 (80% own)
– Median rent: $808 (20% rent)
– Median household income: $66,639
– Top public schools: Damiansville Elementary School (A), Aviston Elementary School (A), Bartelso Elementary School (A)
– Top private schools: Mater Dei Catholic High School (B+), Christ Our Rock Lutheran High School (B+), All Saints Academy (unavailable)
– Top places to live: New Baden (A-), Breese (B+), Trenton (B+)

Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Tazewell County

– Population: 133,195
– Median home value: $142,000 (76% own)
– Median rent: $741 (24% rent)
– Median household income: $63,454
– Top public schools: Morton High School (A), Lettie Brown Elementary School (A-), Jefferson Elementary School (A-)
– Top private schools: Illinois Central Christian School (ICCS) (B), St. Patrick School (unavailable), Blessed Sacrament School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Morton (A), Washington (A), East Peoria (B)

Teemu008 from Palatine, Illinois // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Boone County

– Population: 53,537
– Median home value: $153,400 (81% own)
– Median rent: $854 (19% rent)
– Median household income: $69,272
– Top public schools: Belvidere North High School (B+), Poplar Grove Elementary School (B+), North Boone High School (B)
– Top private schools: Immanuel Lutheran School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Timberlane (B+), Candlewick Lake (B+), Poplar Grove (B)

A. McMurray (A mcmurray) // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Ogle County

– Population: 51,025
– Median home value: $146,900 (73% own)
– Median rent: $745 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $60,986
– Top public schools: Kings Elementary School (A), Mary Morgan Elementary School (A), Byron Middle School (A)
– Top private schools: Faith Christian School (B)
– Top places to live: Byron (A), Oregon (B+), Hillcrest (B)

MrHarman // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Kankakee County

– Population: 110,637
– Median home value: $147,900 (68% own)
– Median rent: $887 (32% rent)
– Median household income: $58,902
– Top public schools: Grant Park Elementary School (A-), Bonfield Grade School (A-), Grant Park High School (B+)
– Top private schools: Grace Christian Academy (B+), Bishop McNamara High School (B), Kankakee Trinity Academy (B)
– Top places to live: Bourbonnais (A-), Bradley (B), Limestone (B)

Farragutful // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Rock Island County

– Population: 143,873
– Median home value: $119,400 (68% own)
– Median rent: $748 (32% rent)
– Median household income: $54,858
– Top public schools: Hampton Elementary School (A-), Illinois City Elementary School (A-), Taylor Ridge Elementary School (A-)
– Top private schools: Alleman High School (A-), Quad Cities Christian Jr. and Sr. High School (B+), East Moline Christian School (A-)
– Top places to live: Moline (B+), East Moline (B+), Hampton (B+)

Dual Freq // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Piatt County

– Population: 16,401
– Median home value: $138,600 (82% own)
– Median rent: $851 (18% rent)
– Median household income: $70,849
– Top public schools: Atwood-Hammond Elementary School (A), Monticello High School (A), Washington School (A-)
– Top private schools: Monticello Christian Academy (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Monticello (A), Monticello Township (A), Willow Branch Township (A-)

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#18. Grundy County

– Population: 50,666
– Median home value: $199,300 (71% own)
– Median rent: $999 (29% rent)
– Median household income: $77,350
– Top public schools: Saratoga Elementary School (A), Coal City Middle School (A), South Wilmington Grade School (A)
– Top private schools: Immaculate Conception School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Minooka (A-), Coal City (B+), Morris (B)

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#17. DeKalb County

– Population: 104,366
– Median home value: $173,100 (57% own)
– Median rent: $930 (43% rent)
– Median household income: $63,317
– Top public schools: Somonauk Middle School (A-), Hinckley-Big Rock Middle School (A-), James R. Wood Elementary School (A-)
– Top private schools: Cornerstone Christian Academy (B-), St. Mary’s Catholic School (unavailable), St. Mary School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Sycamore (A-), Cortland (B+), DeKalb (B+)

Alexbaumgarner // Wikimedia

#16. Winnebago County

– Population: 284,819
– Median home value: $120,400 (66% own)
– Median rent: $799 (34% rent)
– Median household income: $54,489
– Top public schools: Hononegah High School (A), Ledgewood Elementary School (A), Willowbrook Middle School (A)
– Top private schools: Keith Country Day School (A+), Boylan Catholic High School (A-), Rockford Lutheran Junior/Senior High School (A-)
– Top places to live: Rockton (A), Roscoe (A-), Loves Park (B)

ProfDEH // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Woodford County

– Population: 38,700
– Median home value: $168,700 (82% own)
– Median rent: $758 (18% rent)
– Median household income: $72,808
– Top public schools: Metamora Grade School (A), Jefferson Park School (A-), Eureka High School (A-)
– Top private schools: St. Mary Elementary School (unavailable), Countryside Private School (unavailable), Linn Mennonite Christian School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Germantown Hills (A), Eureka (A-), Metamora (A-)

Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Madison County

– Population: 264,776
– Median home value: $135,600 (71% own)
– Median rent: $824 (29% rent)
– Median household income: $60,738
– Top public schools: Columbus Elementary School (A), Albert Cassens Elementary School (A), Edwardsville High School (A)
– Top private schools: Marquette Catholic High School (A), Father McGivney Catholic High School (A-), Metro-East Lutheran High School (A-)
– Top places to live: Glen Carbon (A+), Edwardsville (A+), Maryville (A-)

Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Monroe County

– Population: 34,168
– Median home value: $211,300 (83% own)
– Median rent: $872 (17% rent)
– Median household income: $85,747
– Top public schools: Rogers Elementary School (A), Parkview Elementary School (A-), Waterloo Junior High School (A-)
– Top private schools: Gibault Catholic High School (A-), SS. Peter & Paul Catholic School (unavailable), Immaculate Conception School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Columbia (A), Waterloo (A-), Valmeyer (B)

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#12. Peoria County

– Population: 182,770
– Median home value: $129,800 (65% own)
– Median rent: $798 (35% rent)
– Median household income: $55,842
– Top public schools: Dunlap High School (A+), Ridgeview Elementary School (A), Hickory Grove Elementary School (A)
– Top private schools: Daarul Uloom Islamic School (A), Peoria Christian School (A-), Peoria Notre Dame High School (A-)
– Top places to live: Dunlap (A), Peoria (A-), Elmwood (B+)

Beyond My Ken // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Champaign County

– Population: 209,922
– Median home value: $162,100 (53% own)
– Median rent: $882 (47% rent)
– Median household income: $52,797
– Top public schools: University of Illinois High School (A+), Mahomet-Seymour High School (A+), Central High School (A-)
– Top private schools: The High School of Saint Thomas More (A), Judah Christian School (A-), St. Matthew School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Savoy (A+), Urbana (A), Mahomet (A)

Larry D. Moore // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Sangamon County

– Population: 196,861
– Median home value: $141,200 (69% own)
– Median rent: $820 (31% rent)
– Median household income: $61,912
– Top public schools: Glenwood High School (A), Springfield High School (A), Iles Elementary School (A-)
– Top private schools: Sacred Heart Griffin High School (A-), Lutheran High School (B), Calvary Academy (B-)
– Top places to live: Leland Grove (A+), Sherman (A), Chatham (A)

Xing979 // Wikimedia Commons

#9. St. Clair County

– Population: 262,338
– Median home value: $128,000 (65% own)
– Median rent: $861 (35% rent)
– Median household income: $55,179
– Top public schools: O’Fallon High School (A), Smithton Elementary School (A), Scott Elementary School (A)
– Top private schools: Governor French Academy (A), Althoff Catholic College Preparatory High School (A-), First Baptist Academy (A-)
– Top places to live: O’Fallon (A+), Shiloh (A), Fairview Heights (A)

Carldaniel // Wikimedia Commons

#8. McHenry County

– Population: 307,714
– Median home value: $224,500 (79% own)
– Median rent: $1,197 (21% rent)
– Median household income: $86,799
– Top public schools: Cary-Grove Community High School (A+), Prairie Ridge High School (A+), Huntley High School (A)
– Top private schools: Trinity Oaks Christian Academy (A), Marian Central Catholic High School (A-), Faith Lutheran High School (B+)
– Top places to live: Fox River Grove (A+), Lakewood (A), Cary (A)

Michael from Palatine, Illinois // Wikimedia Commons

#7. McLean County

– Population: 172,578
– Median home value: $167,000 (65% own)
– Median rent: $845 (35% rent)
– Median household income: $67,675
– Top public schools: University High School (A+), Thomas Metcalf School (A+), Normal Community High School (A)
– Top private schools: Central Catholic High School (A), Cornerstone Christian Academy of McLean County (A-), Calvary Christian Academy (B)
– Top places to live: Bloomington (A), Normal (A), Downs (A)

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#6. Cook County

– Population: 5,198,275
– Median home value: $246,600 (57% own)
– Median rent: $1,123 (43% rent)
– Median household income: $64,660
– Top public schools: Walter Payton College Prep (A+), Northside College Preparatory High School (A+), Whitney M. Young Magnet High School (A+)
– Top private schools: University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (A+), North Shore Country Day (A+), Latin School of Chicago (A+)
– Top places to live: Evanston (A+), Western Springs (A+), Oak Park (A+)

IvoShandor // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Kendall County

– Population: 126,054
– Median home value: $235,600 (84% own)
– Median rent: $1,414 (16% rent)
– Median household income: $96,563
– Top public schools: Lisbon Grade School (A), Oswego East High School (A), Wolfs Crossing Elementary School (A)
– Top private schools: Parkview Christian Academy (B+), Cross Lutheran School (unavailable), St. Mary School (unavailable)
– Top places to live: Oswego (A), Montgomery (A-), Yorkville (B+)

Teemu008 from Palatine, Illinois // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Will County

– Population: 689,315
– Median home value: $232,000 (81% own)
– Median rent: $1,176 (19% rent)
– Median household income: $86,961
– Top public schools: Lincoln-Way East High School (A+), Lincoln-Way Central High School (A+), Hickory Creek Middle School (A)
– Top private schools: Joliet Catholic Academy (A), Providence Catholic High School (A-), Illinois Lutheran High School (A-)
– Top places to live: Frankfort (A), Bolingbrook (A), Mokena (A)

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#3. Kane County

– Population: 531,376
– Median home value: $238,300 (74% own)
– Median rent: $1,148 (26% rent)
– Median household income: $79,394
– Top public schools: Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (A+), St. Charles East High School (A+), St. Charles North High School (A)
– Top private schools: Elgin Academy (A+), The Einstein Academy (A+), Marmion Academy (A+)
– Top places to live: Geneva (A+), Campton Hills (A), St. Charles (A)

edward P. steinburg desnged // Wikimedia Commons

#2. Lake County

– Population: 701,473
– Median home value: $265,100 (73% own)
– Median rent: $1,197 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $89,427
– Top public schools: Adlai E. Stevenson High School (A+), Vernon Hills High School (A+), Libertyville High School (A+)
– Top private schools: Lake Forest Academy (A+), Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart (A+), Carmel Catholic High School (A+)
– Top places to live: Long Grove (A+), Buffalo Grove (A+), Bannockburn (A+)

Neatpete86 // Wikimedia Commons

#1. DuPage County

– Population: 929,060
– Median home value: $308,500 (73% own)
– Median rent: $1,316 (27% rent)
– Median household income: $92,809
– Top public schools: Hinsdale Central High School (A+), Neuqua Valley High School (A+), Glenbard West High School (A+)
– Top private schools: Benet Academy (A+), St. Francis High School (A+), Wheaton Academy (A+)
– Top places to live: Clarendon Hills (A+), Naperville (A+), Hinsdale (A+)

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