The recession hit the Midwest hard, and Illinois was no exception. In recent years, however, Illinois has shown signs of growth in its economy. Not only in the bigger towns but also in many smaller towns and suburbs. Many towns have benefited from growth of start up and technological companies. Many cities have seen revitalization attracting white collar workers and families. With a friendly Midwestern feel, good educational opportunities and employment opportunities, several Illinois towns have seen growth in population.
Here are 5 of the fastest growing cities in Illinois.
The Village of Northbrook is a quaint town located on Illinois’ North Shore. Its close proximity to Chicago allows access to jobs and entertainment, but Northbrook has many charms of its own. It is a great mid western city to live in. Northbrook was incorporated as Shermanville in 1901. It was named fro Frederick Scherman who donated land for the first train station. In 1923 the name was changed to Northbrook because it is located on the north branch of the Chicago River.
It is known for its beautiful homes, historic buildings and beautiful park. There are many family friendly things to see and do including the River Trail Nature Center, Nickel City Family Entertainment Center, Willow Hill Golf Course and shops at Northbrook Court. The town has a low crime rate and good educational facilities. In fact, Glenbrook North High School was built in 1953 and was attended by director John Hughes who used it in the popular 1980s film, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Northbrook has many employment opportunities. The top professions include scientific and technological businesses, financial and insurance, health care, real estate, retail and manufacturing. Young families make up much of the recent population increase which is about 33,000. The median household income is $110,000. The median home value is $465,000. Northbrook is a popular place to live.
Highland Park is located 25 miles north of Chicago. The city was incorporated in 1869 and has been a popular suburb of Chicago. Aside from easy access to Chicago, Highland Park is attracting young families with its park like setting and its shops, restaurants and cultural activities. The town was used as the setting for many 1980s classic films by John Hughes. It is home to the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cubs practice facilities and several of the professional athlete’s homes.
The Ravinia Festival is a 3200 seat pavilion which offers classical, jazz and pop music shows including performances by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Highland Park has seen a recent growth in business. Until 2009 it was home to the Solo Cup international headquarters, but many businesses have come into the city. Professional, financial, medical, retail and manufacturing have helped the city’s economy. The city has a low crime rate and a low unemployment rate.
The current population is nearly 30,000. The average household income is $100,000 and the average house value is $475,000. The city is also home to several Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes. The school system has a high rating. Highland Park has a growing economy, cultural and educational opportunities making it a great place to live.
Another growing Chicago suburb is Glenview. It has a low crime rate, good home values, good economy and highly rated schools. In fact Glenbrook South High School is rated the 19th best public school in the United States. Its current population is 46,000. The average household income is $90,000 and the median home value is 430,000. Glenview has many quaint regions and nice neighborhoods. The “Park” is the oldest neighborhood in the city and was established in 1894 by Hugh Burnham as a religious society.
The “Grove” is a prairie with historic buildings and the home of an 1836 settler. Wagner Farm was farmed by the Wagner family in the last half of the nineteenth century and is maintained by the Park District as a working farm. Several major companies have businesses in Glenview which attract population growth. These include Kraft Foods, Abt Entertainment, Signode, Aon and Anixter. Glenview is one of the top places to live in Illinois.
Champaign is the hub of central Illinois. It has seen the expansion of technology and start up companies including Intel and Yahoo! offices. The Research Park of the University of Illinois is integral to the growth in Champaign. The city has been called the “Silicone Prairie”. Other companies based in Champaign include Intel, IBM, State Farm, Caterpillar, and Deere and Company. Champaign was established as Urbana when the Illinois Central Railroad laid tracks through the town in In 1860, the city changed its name to Champaign.
The city did well economically because of industry and transportation. The city has become revitalized with the its Research Park and the companies it is attracting. The current population of Champaign is 86,000. The median household income is $41,000 and the median home value is $142,000. With its Midwestern charm, the city is a great home for families.
The charming village of Woodstock is famous as the filming location of the hit film Groundhog’s Day. The citizens enjoy the annual Groundhog’s Day festival. Located 50 miles northwest of Chicago, Woodstock is also close to Rockford, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Catalent is a bio technological company located in Woodstock and Centegra Hospital system employs 1000s in Woodstock. Woodstock was established in 1853.
It features a historic town square which houses the Old McHenry County Courthouse and the Woodstock Opera House. The town holds many festivals throughout the year including the Diversity Festival, the McHenry County Fair and a summer Farmers’ Market. Crime is low and education is good in this quaint family friendly town. Orson Welles famously attended the Todd School For Boys. The city has seen growth in the past few years. The current population is 25,000. The median household income is $57,000 and the median house value is $170,000 making living in Woodstock a good value.