3 Illinois Cities Earn Praise in Annual Money Magazine Rankings

3 Illinois Cities Earn Praise in Annual Money Magazine Rankings

Looking to leave the city but stay near Chicago? Money Magazine's latest list points to Naperville and Bolingbrook, Illinois, as two of the Best Places to Live 2014.

For those wanting a more urban experience, Chicago's Edison Park neighborhood was ranked fifth on the magazine's Best Big-City Bargains list released along with the Best Places to Live list.

Naperville and Bolingbrook came in 33rd and 38th respectively on the Best Places to Live list of top 50 towns with a population of 50,000 to 300,000. The annual rankings are determined by economic opportunity and jobs, housing affordability, education, crime, health, arts and leisure, ease of living and diversity, according to the magazine.

Naperville's urban appeal

With a median family income of $127,142 and median home price of $355,000, the magazine noted Naperville's “cosmopolitan feel.”

“People run or stroll along the four-mile long brick Riverwalk, which hugs the DuPage River that runs through downtown,” the magazine says. “The pedestrian-friendly city center has more than 50 restaurants, as well as art galleries, boutiques and live music clubs.”

Along with its designation on the Best Places to Live ranking, Naperville came in at No. 14 on Money’s Top Earning Towns list released in conjunction with the Best Places to Live. The magazine also notes Naperville’s median home price of $355,000 was the most affordable town among the 15 on that list. 

Diversity a bright spot in Bolingbrook

In neighboring Bolingbrook, the magazine credited a diverse population, 32 million square feet of industrial and manufacturing space, and availability of sporting options in its Best Places ranking.

With a median family income of $91,740 and a median home price of $156,902, the magazine reports Bolingbrook’s schools are good, but “there are a few that don’t rate as highly as those in neighboring suburbs.”

Edison Park a bargain

Chicago’s Edison Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side was one of the top Best Big-City Bargains. Median home price in the neighborhood is $222,8000, according to the magazine. “This family-friendly neighborhood combines a suburban feel with some urban advantages. Residents are a mix of city workers and young professionals,” the magazine says. 

RELATED: Real estate agents reveal 5 hot Chicago neighborhoods to buy a home

About the rankings

According to Money, each town considered for its annual Best Place to Live rankings is rated in seven categories. Here’s how the magazine breaks down each category:

  • Economic opportunity — real estate purchasing power, foreclosure rate, tax burden, and state’s fiscal strength
  • Jobs — income growth, county employment (not seasonally adjusted), and projected job growth
  • Housing affordability — median home-price-to-income ratio and average property taxes
  • Education — test scores, educational interests and attainment, and percentage of students in public schools
  • Health — number of local doctors and local hospitals and health of residents
  • Crime — property and violent crime rates
  • Arts and leisure — activities in the town and area, including movie theaters, museums, green spaces and sports venues

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