Whenever some mentions a "bad" town one always comes to mind, but is the town that comes to your mind on today's list? The site Road snacks claim to have the stats. If your small town shows up on this list let us know if you agree!

William Howell

The recent study looked at the top 10 worst small towns, and today we will look at the top three from this study for the great state of Illinois.

How They determined the worst small towns to live in Illinois

This study seems to be pretty in-depth with them using FBI crime data and the Census's 2016-2020 American Community Survey, this is the criteria they used:

  • Population Density (The lower the worse)
  • Highest Unemployment Rates
  • Low housing costs (meaning there's no demand)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • Education (Number of high school dropouts)
  • High Crime

We looked at cities with populations between 1,000 and 5,000 people, of which, there were a lot - 204 to be exact. We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.

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The Worst Small Towns In Illinois

Welcome to Illinois sign on the side of a road

3. Cairo

With a population of 1,884, Cairo has been seeing a drop in numbers over the years. Home values are also the second worst in the state.

2. Wamac

Wamac has the worst home value in the state, but on the bright side the unemployment rate isn't as bad as the other two on this list, but everything else doesn't look great according to this study. This town has a population of 1,222.


1. Madison

Madison Illinois reportedly has a population of 2,941, and overall it finds itself in the top 20 for every individual thing this study was looking at while making the list. Putting Madison statistically in at number 1.

According to recent numbers,

The median household income was $24,828 and the median family income was $29,926. Males had a median income of $27,363 versus $21,250 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,090. About 19.6% of families and 24.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.4% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

What do you think of these numbers? Let us know. You can see the 10 worst small towns here.

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