CHICAGO (AP) _ The Chicago metropolitan area has the nation's wealthiest and poorest suburb, according to a survey.

The Los Angeles and St. Louis areas had most of the nation's 15 poorest suburbs, and New York area communities dominated a list of the richest 15, said the study released Sunday.

The study was based on 1987 Census income and population projections, and directed by Pierre deVise, an urbanologist at Roosevelt University.

''The nation's richest suburbs come closest to representing the American dream as portrayed in films, novels and pop sociology,'' deVise said. The poorest ''resemble the American nightmare,'' he said.

Chicago suburbs Kenilworth and Ford Heights were named the wealthiest and poorest suburbs, respectively. Per capita annual income in Kenilworth was $61,950, while in Ford Heights it was just $4,943, the study said.

''The nature of suburbs is changing dramatically,'' said deVise. ''The future of American politics now lies in the suburbs.''

After Kenilworth, the wealthiest suburb was Bloomfield Hills, Mich., near Detroit. Per capita income there was $59,830.

Hewlett-Woodburgh, N.Y., was the third wealthiest at $59,300 per capita annual income; Ladue, Mo., near St. Louis was fourth at $55,962; and Mission Hills, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City, was fifth at $55,136.

Besides Hewlett-Woodburgh, five of the wealthiest 15 suburbs are in the New York City area, the study showed.

The Los Angeles suburbs of Cudahy and Bell Gardens were the second and third most impoverished suburbs, with per capita annual income of $5,170 and $5,337, respectively.

Alorton, Ill. and East St. Louis, Ill., both near St. Louis, were the fourth and fifth poorest suburbs, the study showed. Per capita income in Alorton was $5,795, while in East St. Louis it was $5,973.

Illinois also had the ninth poorest in Centreville and No. 11 in Venice - both St. Louis suburbs - as well as Robbins, No. 14, outside Chicago.

The study also ranks suburbs in terms of social status, using the percentage of college graduates and the number of executives of various industries as measured by listings in the 1988-1989 ''Who's Who in America'' directory.

Again, Kenilworth was at the top with 77.5 percent of its residents 25 years and older having college degrees. Kenilworth was third in finance executives, fourth in total ''Who's Who'' biographees, and fifth in both communications executives and manufacturing executives, the study said.

Bronxville, N.Y., a suburb of New York, ranked first in total ''Who's Who'' biographees and in communications executives. Oyster Bay, N.Y., near New York City, topped the list with the greatest proportion of financial executives, and Bloomfield Hills had the highest percentage of manufacturing executives.