BC in the News: Ranks 23rd in the State

The best places to live in Illinois? Here are those around us that made the list


Mt. Sterling, IL – It might not have the glitz and frenetic pace of Chicago and its collar counties, but its housing and jobs opportunities put Brown County among the top spots in the state to live. 

That’s according to new rankings by Niche.com, which lists the west-central Illinois community as the 23rd “most livable” location among the state’s counties. 

The online site came up with the rankings based on key statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and insight from experts. 

In Illinois, it rated 99 of the 102 counties on such factors as nightlife, education, housing and diversity. 

Brown County received a “B-plus” overall grade, scoring best for job opportunities and housing — both of which were graded as “A” — with it being noted as the second-best place in Illinois to buy a house. Its diversity — it was 16th of the Illinois counties — was rated “B plus” and it received “B” grades for nightlife and “B minus” for its public schools and its attractiveness to families. 

Its lowest rating was for its attractiveness to young professionals. It dropped to 57 of 99 in that category. 

Nationwide, though, it still was enough to put the county as the 647th best in which to live from among 2,767 counties reviewed. 

Alex Geisler, executive director of Action Brown County, said it was an honor to be included in the list.

“Brown County truly is a small community with large community amenities,” she said. “Our family friendly county is fortunate to have deep-seeded loyalty, which leads to a strong philanthropic support and allows us the resources to make things happen.”

Geisler said the county is unique because it is growing population, economic development and employment opportunities. 

“Our centralized location allows us easy access to larger, metropolitan areas, while still keeping our rural roots,” she said. “From our thriving YMCA to our newly revitalized downtown district, Brown County has the comforts and conveniences of a large community, with the rolling corn fields and hometown pride of rural America, making it the perfect place to call home.” 

Sangamon County was the only other west-central Illinois county included in the state’s top 25, ranked fifth. It was rated 185th best in the nation. 

Its “A” grade overall was based largely on nightlife and attractiveness to families — both were given “A” grades, and its public schools, which were graded “A minus.” It received “B” grades for diversity and jobs and a “B plus” for housing. 

It was ranked as the ninth best place in the state for young professionals and 10th for families. 

Although it rated 99 counties, it ranked just the top 55 in the state. 

Morgan County squeaked in at number 53, receiving an overall “B” grade. Most of its scores were “B minus” — diversity, housing, family attractiveness and jobs — except for public schools, graded as “C plus,” and nightlife, which received an “A minus.” 

At the top of the list was DuPage County, which is just outside of Chicago. Lake County, in the northeast corner of the state along Lake Michigan, was second.