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Naperville ranks fourth among 2,300 cities on 2022 list of Top 100 Best Places to Live in America – Chicago Tribune

Described by Livability.com as “a growing oasis where big-city attractions — think a diverse cuisine scene, performing arts venues, various shops, family-friendly spaces and a thriving nightlife — meld with small-town magic,” Naperville placed fourth on the company’s 2022 Top 100 Best Places to Live in America.

Amanda Ellis, editor-in-chief at Livability, said the annual rankings are based on quality of life data points awarded for each city’s amenities, economy, demographics, housing, social and civic capital, education, health care, transportation and infrastructure.

“We look at things like what are people’s incomes relative to costs? How much disposable income do people have? What does the entrepreneurship landscape look like?” Ellis said.

This is the ninth year the Top 100 list has been issued, and Ellis said the company tries to switch things up each year based on current events.

“We added a measure of resilience to recover from potential natural disasters, which I thought was really fascinating,” Ellis said.

Out of the 2,300 small- to mid-sized communities of less than 500,000 in 36 states reviewed, Naperville scored 668 in behind top-rated Madison, Wisconsin, with 725; No. 2 Ann Arbor, Michigan, with 686; and no. 3 Rochester, Minnesota, with 671.

Naperville was not included on last year’s list. The last time it made the Top 100 was in 2017, when it ranked 37th.

Local Realtor Lee Ernst, who is with Livability sponsor eXp Realty, said city is deserving of the honor.

“It’s a classy city with a great downtown that hosts mom-and-pop shops as well as some national brands,” and numerous restaurants for just about any taste, Ernst said.

Good school districts are also a draw as is easy access to public transportation and major roadways that can take a person to downtown Chicago or out to the country, he said.

Also earning high marks were Naperville’s outdoor attractions, such as the forest preserves, sports complexes, golf courses and the Naperville Riverwalk, and the “plethora of community get-togethers and festivals, like cute farmers markets and must-see concerts,” the livability write up said.

The rating also took into account Naperville’s average commute of 33.6 minutes, median home value of $503,821, median household income of $127,648 and median property tax of $9,227.

By comparison, Madison has a population just over 250,000, and its average commute is 19.3 minutes, median home value $378,228, median household income $67,565 and median property tax $5,426, Livability figures show.

Madison, according to Livability, earned its rank as the best place to live for the second year in a row because the Midwest college town possesses “a resilient economy and is a welcoming place for recent grads, families and retirees alike.”

It also has “a famous farmers market, tons of free cultural attractions, outdoor concerts rocking all summer long and 200 miles for hiking, biking and snowshoeing.”

Other Illinois cities making the Top 100 list are Oak Park (28), Downers Grove (37), Evanston (52) and Bloomington (64).

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