According to a ranking by Nerd Wallet Finance, Chicago Heights is No. 1, followed by Melrose Park, Champaign, Woodstock, Rolling Meadows, Berwyn, South Holland, Normal, Glen Ellyn and Des Plaines. (The top southwestern Illinois city was Belleville at #22. Alton was #101.)
Many of these are blue-collar towns that don’t often get on a list like this, says Maggie Clark, the author of the study. “We do get some surprising results, and I think people are really interested in that. When you strip away assumptions that people make about places, you get a lot of interesting results, and we’ve seen that across states. We’ve done this study now in four states and it’s been real interesting to see some of the results,” she said.