It wasn’t that long ago that a Top-10 list of towns for something positive would invariably include the city of Naperville at the top of the list or very close to it. Lists included best places to live, best libraries, best school systems, best places to raise a family, best downtown areas, best river walks, etc. That’s not the case anymore. Often times Naperville doesn’t show up on the list, or if it does, it’s not at the top or even near it.
Such is the case recently when a list ranking the Best Family Friendly Cities in Illinois was announced by Wallethub, an online personal finance-based site. Naperville was listed dead-last on the Top-10 list behind other northern Illinois towns including #2 Deerfield, #4 Libertyville, #6 Hinsdale, # 7 Cary, #8 Lake in the Hills, and #9 Frankfurt. Ranked first on the list was Morton (near Peoria), along with #3 Washington, and #5 O’Fallon.
The judging included 21 indicators, some of which included:
- Air quality
- Attractions within city limits
- Commute times
- Crime statistics
- Divorce rates
- Employment level
- High school graduation rates
- Number of pediatricians
- Number of playgrounds
- Percentage of families with children under age 18
- Recreational and park options
- School system rankings
- Socioeconomic environment
Comparatively speaking, Naperville is an expensive city in which to live, and has become even more expensive recently with the addition of a first-time ever city sales tax, a 617% increase in refuse pick-up, and huge increases in electric rates. With those increases included, Naperville would have been a no-show on the Top-10 list.
As the Naperville city council continues to nickel and dime, and sawbuck and C-note residents and businesses upward, along with increasing numbers of regulations, Naperville making any positive top-ten list may become a distant memory.