Illinois is a Midwestern prairie state that borders Lake Michigan along a small portion of its northeastern boundary. In terms of land area, Illinois ranks only 25th in size among the other 50 states, but with a population of over 12 million people, it is the sixth most populous state in the country. Illinois’ official slogan is the “Land of Lincoln” because Abraham Lincoln was an Illinois congressman before becoming president. Illinois has also been home to three other U.S. presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Barack Obama, and Ronald Reagan.

Best Communities in Illinois

Chicago, Illinois’ largest city, is probably also the most famous. However, Illinois has much more to offer, including a number of other desirable communities in which to live. Some are part of the Chicago metropolitan area, while others are located miles away. Some examples include the following:

1. Algonquin
A suburb of Chicago, Algonquin boasts a 93 percent high school graduation rate, median household income of approximately $100,000 per year, and a crime rate 54 percent lower than the national average. The median home value in Algonquin is $240,600, and the population is approximately 30,000.
2. Columbia
Columbia is a small community of about 10,000 people located in southwestern Illinois. Compared with national and statewide averages, the crime rate is extremely low, and year-over-year crime in Columbia is down by 22 percent. The median household income is $73,442 per year, the high school graduation rate is 94 percent, and the median home value is approximately $200,000.
3. Schaumburg
With a population of nearly 75,000, Schaumburg is a Chicago suburb that spans two counties: Cook and DuPage. The median household income in Schaumburg is $75,658, and home prices average approximately $230,000. Ninety-two percent of students in Schaumburg graduate high school and year-over-year crime is down 29 percent.
4. O’Fallon
O’Fallon is located in southwestern Illinois and boasts a population of 29,078. The median home value is $190,700, and on average, citizens make about $80,000 per year. Crime rates are lower than U.S. and Illinois averages, and the high school graduation rate is an impressive 95 percent.

Economics

Due to the state’s agricultural productivity, small industrial cities, and large metropolitan area of Chicago, Illinois can be seen as a microcosm of the entire country. The gross domestic product of Illinois is the fifth largest in the United States. Major industries include manufacturing, agriculture, investments, and services. In addition, Illinois ranks fifth among the states for energy production.

Education

Approximately 88 percent of Illinois adults have attained at least a high school diploma, compared with approximately 87 percent across the United States. In addition, the number of Illinois adults with a bachelor’s degree or better is 33.4 percent, slightly higher than the average for the entire country at 30.9 percent. The Illinois State Board of Education serves more than 2 million students.