In Chicago, if you make a six-figure salary, you have a lot of quality options when it comes to neighborhoods to live in. But which is the best place that will allow you to live comfortably and stay within your means?
GOBankingRates analyzed U.S. cities with a minimum of 1,000 households or 5,000 households, depending on the population of the state. The cities were then ranked according to livability, amenities, average annual costs for groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare and miscellaneous expenditures, as well as the median rent for each city. These factors were then scored and combined to produce a final ranking. According to the study, the best place to live on a $100,000 salary in Illinois is the northwest Chicago suburb of Libertyville.
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Libertyville Outshines Other Affluent Chicago Suburbs
Libertyville ranks as the best place to live in Illinois on a $100,000 salary, and with a “live comfortably” income — which was calculated by doubling the total annual necessities of the city — of $99,882, the suburb just makes the cut.
When you compare the figure to other affluent Chicago suburbs, you begin to see just how affordable Libertyville really is. Take, for example, Lake Forest, a northern Chicago suburb that has the same annual groceries ($4,096.86) and annual healthcare costs ($4,878.72) as Libertyville. While these important expenses are the same, Libertyville’s annual rent is $24,456 less than Lake Forest’s annual rent. Libertyville also comes with cheaper annual transportation costs. In terms of “live comfortably” income, it takes $49,372 more to live in Lake Forest than it does to live in Libertyville.
|Location (Illinois)||Annual Rent||Annual Utilities||Annual Transportation||Annual Misc. Costs||Total Annual Necessities||“Live Comfortably” Income||Median Household Income|
|Editor’s Note: Annual grocery and healthcare costs were also factored into the total annual necessities and averaged $4,096.86 and $4,878.72, respectively, for each of the cities listed.|
Libertyville Might Be More ‘Affordable’ Than You Think
Libertyville comes in with the lowest median household income of the five affluent Chicago suburbs analyzed in the table above. But when we take a closer look at that median household income figure at a national level, an interesting wrinkle is added to the “affordability” of Libertyville.
When compared nationally to the other cities that were named the best in their respective states, Libertyville had the third-highest median household income of $126,406 but also had the highest “live comfortably” income at $99,882. The latter figure might suggest that Libertyville is not an affordable place to live, even for households that make over $100,000.
But the suburb’s difference of median household income and “live comfortably” income is $26,524, the sixth-largest difference of all of the cities analyzed in the study. When you compare this data to the differences found in other cities in the study where the median household income is also over $100,000 — such as West Linn, Oregon ($535) and Maple Valley, Washington ($3,355) — Libertyville actually turns out to be one of the most affordable places for Americans who earn six figures.
So, while one still needs to earn a hefty salary to live a comfortable life in Libertyville, data suggests that the suburb offers a significant value relative to cities where the median household income is similar.
Keep reading to see how much you need to live comfortably in 50 major U.S. cities.
More on Making Money and Economy
- 35 Cities Where You Can Afford to Live Off Less Than $50,000
- How I Live Comfortably on a Budget in an Expensive City
- States Where You’re Most and Least Likely to Live Paycheck to Paycheck
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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the best places to live on a $100,000 salary in each state by analyzing cities along these criteria: (1) minimum number of households is 5,000; for less populated states or states with fewer average households per city, 1,000 was the minimum; (2) livability score, sourced from AreaVibes; (3) amenities score, sourced from AreaVibes; (4) itemized cost of living index for groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare and miscellaneous expenditure, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, which were adjusted to each city’s local cost of living, sourced from Sperling’s Best Places; (5) median rent, sourced from Zillow’s February 2019 rental price index; Trulia was used for rental data that was unavailable from Zillow. In order to qualify as a “best” city, the total cost of living expenditures could not exceed $100,000. The list of cities was compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey and includes all cities the Census Bureau has complete data for.