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Is South Elgin a Good Place to Live?

Offering a balance between a sparse suburban lifestyle and the glorious urban landscape of Chicago, this Kane County village has many people asking if South Elgin, IL, is a good place to live.  

If South Elgin is on your list of places to consider in Chicagoland, we’ve put together some pros and cons for the village of nearly 25,000. We’ll look at a few things to do nearby, cost of living, and crime statistics in the area.  

Facts about South Elgin 

South Elgin is in the western part of the Chicago metropolitan area. The village is bordered by Elgin to the north and Bartlett to the east and sits astride the Fox River. The area along the Fox River was home to several Native American tribes, who were ultimately expelled from the region in the 1830s. The town was first called Clintonville, but that was changed to South Elgin to match the local post office in 1907.  

How big is South Elgin?  

South Elgin, IL Figures*  
Population  21,985 (2010)  
Population  23,867 (2020) 
Total Area (sq. mi.)  7.26  
Land Area (sq. mi.) 7.06 
Water Area (sq. mi.) 0.20 
Time Zone  UTC-6 (Central Standard Time) 
Elevation (ft.) 709 

Is South Elgin a Safe Place to Live? 

Crime tends to be one of the determining factors for deciding on a place to live. So, it should come as some relief that South Elgin has one of the lowest crime rates in the U.S. According to, South Elgin is in the 92nd percentile, meaning only 8% of cities are safer and 92% of cities are more dangerous. 

Is South Elgin Affordable?  

The cost of living in South Elgin is slightly lower than the rest of the United States, but slightly higher than in other parts of Illinois, according to  

BestPlaces uses a 100-point scale, with 100 being the average cost across the nation. Overall, South Elgin scores 97 versus 93.4 for the rest of the state. Home costs are slightly below the national average at $256,300 vs. $291,700. Whereas most categories (utilities, health care, groceries) are slightly less than the national average, miscellaneous costs (includes such things as restaurants, repairs, clothing and entertainment) score 103.2, or just above the national average.  

Pros and Cons 

Determining pros and cons can be a bit of personal opinion. For instance, driving from South Elgin to the Chicago Loop takes about 90 minutes, which some might perceive as a positive, while another would view it as a negative.  

Pros about South Elgin 

Salaries in South Elgin tend to be higher than the national average, according to Per capita income and household income are both higher than the national average, as are many salaries.

Another great plus about living in South Elgin is the access to outdoor activities. The area is home to a number of forest preserves, golf courses, and water activities on the Fox River (some of which we’ll touch on in a bit).  

While the local school district doesn’t stand out, per se, there are some highly regarded schools in the region, including Corron Elementary School ( grade A), Kenyon Woods Middle School (B-) and South Elgin High School (B+).  

Cons for South Elgin 

As previously mentioned, getting to downtown Chicago takes a considerable amount of time. It takes almost 90 minutes to travel either the 45 miles to The Loop or the 41 miles to Wrigley Field.  

Weather can also be a detractor for many people moving to South Elgin. Hot and humid summers, averaging over 80 degrees F, give way to cold and snowy winters, averaging below freezing from November through March, with 21.9 snowy days bringing about 32.1 inches per year. also reports that the unemployment rate is slightly above the U.S. average (7.1% vs. 6%) and the job growth decline is sharper (-9% vs. -6%).  

What is South Elgin Known for?  

Being situated on the western edge of Chicagoland, South Elgin is close to a number of outdoor activities and stunning natural beauty.  

Start your adventure at Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve on the Fox River. The preserve is 197 acres, offers 4.21 miles of trails, and is a destination for boaters, hikers, fishers, birders and picnickers alike. It’s just one of several forest preserves in the region, including the Kenyon Farm, McLean Fen, Blackhawk County, Elgin Shores and Otter Creek. 

In addition to the area’s many forest preserves, the village itself has more than 300 acres of parks, protected natural areas and open spaces. Panton Mill Park is a destination in and of itself, featuring a splash pad in summer, an amphitheater, plus some great opportunities for watching the Fox River roll by.  

Then, head to Vasa Park, a 25-acre park designed to “promote Scandinavian culture by holding events that are committed to educating and promoting knowledge and appreciation of Scandinavian culture.” Highlights of the year include the Midsommar Festival in June and the Fish Boil in the fall. 

Explore a slice of the area’s history at the Fox River Trolley Museum, which hosts annual events like the Ghost Story Train, Caboose Days and The Polar Express train ride. The museum has several pieces of historic equipment, including the Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric #304, a high-speed, lightweight interurban built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1923. 

South Elgin is also adjacent to the James "Pate" Philip State Park and The Highlands of Elgin Golf Course, both notable for the restorations of their natural habitats (albeit for different reasons).  

Higher Education near South Elgin 

Chicago and the surrounding cities are home to some widely recognized and prestigious universities and colleges. Chicago itself hosts 29 colleges, the top 5 (as rated by are The University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University of Chicago, and Rush University. Also notable in the region are DePaul University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University (in Evanston), and Wheaton College (Wheaton).   

For those hoping to stay closer to the South Elgin area, students can check out Aurora University, Judson University, Providence Baptist College, Benedictine University, Waubonsee Community College and Elgin Community College.  

Is South Elgin in your Plans?

Does South Elgin figure into your relocation plans? Does our composite view synch up with what you know about South Elgin? There are many factors to consider when moving, and you’re taking one of the most important steps by doing your research.  

Of course, relocation often requires the use of self-storage. Thankfully, Store Space has you covered, with convenient, affordable storage options in South Elgin. Or, use our storage location finder for locations throughout the Midwest and across the nation.  

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