5 Worst Places to Live in Illinois

Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, is a Midwestern state known for its vibrant cities, rich agricultural land, and historical significance. Chicago, a global metropolis, often steals the spotlight. However, Illinois also has areas that grapple with social and economic challenges. This article delves into five of the worst places to live in Illinois, examining the factors that contribute to their less-than-ideal reputations.

Factors Considered in the Ranking

This ranking is based on a combination of the following factors:

  • Crime rates: We’ll analyze violent crime rates (murder, assault, rape, robbery) and property crime rates (theft, burglary, vehicle theft)
  • Economic conditions: This includes unemployment rates, poverty levels, and median household income.
  • Education quality: School performance, graduation rates, and access to higher education are considered.
  • Infrastructure and amenities: We’ll look at the state of roads, public transportation, healthcare access, and the availability of recreational facilities.
  • Overall quality of life: This encompasses subjective factors like community atmosphere, cleanliness, and general resident satisfaction.

5 Worst Places to Live in Illinois

1. Cairo, Illinois

  • Statistics: Exceedingly high crime rates, extreme poverty levels, low educational attainment.
  • Resident testimonials: Residents might express concerns about safety, lack of opportunities, and deteriorating infrastructure.
  • Potential reasons: Historical economic decline, population exodus, limited resources.

2. Harvey, Illinois

  • Statistics: High crime rates, struggling economy, significant infrastructure problems.
  • Resident testimonials: Residents might express frustration with limited job prospects, frequent crime occurrences, and a lack of investment in the community.
  • Potential reasons: Deindustrialization, historical disinvestment, potential corruption.

3. East St. Louis, Illinois

  • Statistics: Persistently high crime, widespread poverty, struggling schools.
  • Resident testimonials: Residents might describe feelings of insecurity, dissatisfaction with public services, and a desire for greater opportunities for themselves and their families.
  • Potential reasons: Historical economic disenfranchisement, systemic inequality, lack of resources

4. Rockford, Illinois

  • Statistics: Above-average crime rates, economic disparities, mixed educational performance.
  • Resident testimonials: Residents might share concerns about specific crime-ridden neighborhoods, a lack of well-paying jobs, and underfunded schools in certain areas.
  • Potential reasons: Deindustrialization, income inequality, pockets of blight.

5. Danville, Illinois

  • Statistics: High crime, sluggish economy, signs of urban decay.
  • Resident testimonials: Residents might speak about feeling unsafe in certain areas, the scarcity of good jobs, and visible signs of neglect in the city.
  • Potential reasons: Loss of manufacturing jobs, population decline, limited revitalization efforts.

Important Disclaimers

  • Rankings can change: These rankings are based on current data. Cities can improve or decline over time.
  • Positives within the negatives: Even cities with challenges have positive aspects and some residents may thrive there.
  • It’s all relative: One person’s undesirable place might be perfectly suitable for someone else.


Alternatives and Hope for Improvement

It’s important to remember that Illinois offers a multitude of livable and even thriving communities outside of these five. Cities like Naperville, Bloomington, Champaign, and many others consistently rank high in livability surveys due to their strong economies, safe neighborhoods, and excellent school systems.

Furthermore, the cities mentioned in the “worst” category have the potential for improvement. Revitalization efforts, community-driven initiatives, economic development programs, and investment in infrastructure and education can make a significant positive impact over time.


To ensure the accuracy and credibility of this article, it’s crucial to utilize reputable sources. Here are some types of sources to consider:


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MBS Staff
Articles: 5610

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