Wallethub.com has issued its annual list of the “best places to raise a family in Illinois” and Oak Lawn did not fare well in the analysis.
Oak Lawn was ranked number 175 out of 222 municipalities in the State of Illinois. The website analyzed the municipalities across 4 key dimensions using 21 relevant indicators of family friendliness. Each metric was graded on a 100 point scale with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for families.
The 4 key dimensions examined were (1) Family Life and Fun, (2) Education, Health and Safety, (3) Affordability and (4) Socio-Economics. Despite affordability being a “key dimension”, Naperville was ranked number one overall.
Oak Lawn ranked number 207 for family life and fun. That score drove the village’s overall ranking down and was its lowest of the four key dimensions. The family life and fun category included giving credit for the playgrounds per capita, the number of attractions such as zoos, museums, and theaters, the share of families with young children, and the average commute time.
Surprisingly, affordability was Oak Lawn’s second worst score coming in at a rank of 186 of the 222 municipalities. Affordability was graded based on “housing affordability” and “general affordability”, which includes the median family income divided by the cost of living index.
The Education, Health and Safety category ranked Oak Lawn as 128 out of 222 communities. The metrics included the quality of the school system, high school graduation rate, air quality, pediatricians per capita, share of uninsured children, and both violent and property crimes per 1,000 residents. Some of the metrics within the category, like the quality of the school systems and high school graduation rates are beyond the control of the village officials but are under the purview of elected school board members. The number of pediatricians per capita was elevated due to the existence of Advocate’s Christ Hospital and the many doctors practicing in town.
The final and highest ranked category for Oak Lawn was the Socio-Economic rank of 125 out of 222. Socio-Economic factors include the separation and divorce rates, the share of two parent families, the share of families living below the poverty level, the share of households receiving food stamps, the unemployment rate, the wealth gap, and the foreclosure rate.
In the southwest suburbs, New Lenox held the highest ranking at number thirty. Neighboring towns of Evergreen Park and Burbank were ranked ahead of Oak Lawn but Chicago Ridge was ranked number 206.
WalletHub is an online financial advisor. WalletHub is owned by Evolution Finance, Inc. and is based in Washington, DC.