Most Affordable Places to Live in Illinois

Located in the heart of the Midwest, Illinois is a great place to live and work. With its vibrant cities, stunning landscapes, and friendly community spirit, this state has something for everyone. The economy in Illinois is diverse and thriving, anchored by major sectors such as manufacturing, finance, insurance, and technology. Jobs are readily available throughout the state, with many positions offering great benefits and opportunities for career growth.

If you want to move to Illinois, you’ll be happy to know that Illinois has some of the most affordable places to live in the country. Whether you’re looking for a small-town atmosphere or want to be close to the city, there’s an option that will fit your budget.

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Here are some of the most affordable places to live in Illinois.

1. Hoopeston

Hoopeston, IL, is a small city located in the heart of eastern Illinois. The town was founded as a way station at the junction of two railroads in 1871, and the bustling downtown area has since become its focus. The city has long been a center for agriculture and farming, with its rich soil providing ideal growing conditions for a variety of crops. In addition to traditional agricultural activity, Hoopeston is perhaps best known for being the “Sweet corn Capital of the World.” The city hosts the Sweet corn Festival, which celebrates the local crop with music, food, and games every year. The festival attracts visitors from all over Illinois and is one of the largest events in the city. Hoopeston has recently developed into a retirement village, but it is still changing.

  • Population – 5000
  • Median Value Of Home – $50,000
  • Median Rent – $601
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 69.6
  • Employability Rate – 93.1
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 31.74 (6.38 Violent and 25.36 Property)
  • Health centers, nursing homes, and education authorities are among the city’s major employers.
  • Best Neighborhoods- East Lynn, Coalton

Things to Do in Hoopeston

  • At the U.S. Amusement Park, you can enjoy rides and other activities.
  • Skaters’ Paradise is a paradise that adores skating.

2. Freeport

Freeport, Illinois, is a beautiful city located in the state’s northwest corner. German immigrants from Pennsylvania established the town in 1827. Freeport is the perfect size for those who want all the benefits of living in a small town but with access to big city amenities. The city is home to several historical landmarks, including the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Site. Freeport is also known for its outdoor recreation opportunities, with several parks and trails located within the city limits. Freeport has a vibrant nightlife and several shopping opportunities, but perhaps the most famous attraction is The Great Baseball Tour.

  • Population – 24000
  • Median Value Of Home – $69,000
  • Median Rent – $605
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 71.9
  • Employability Rate – 94.5
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 20.94 (3.38Violent and 17.56 Property)
  • Construction, finance, and health care authorities are among the city’s major employers.
  • Best Neighborhoods- Sierra, South Bauch street

Things to Do in Freeport

  • The Freeport Art Museum is a haven for art enthusiasts.
  • Visit the Krape Park and discover Falls and greenery.

3. Wood River

Founded in 1826 as part of the American pioneer movement, Wood River boasts a deep connection to its roots and a passion for innovation. Wood River has always been at the forefront of change, from its early days as an agricultural hub to its modern role as the home of several groundbreaking companies. With crystal clear waters winding their way through verdant hills and rolling farmlands, the area offers endless hiking, fishing, boating, and picnicking opportunities. The stunning journeys such as Nickle Plate Trail will provide plenty of enjoyment for outdoors enthusiasts. In addition to its stunning natural landscape, Wood River also boasts a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries and theaters showcasing the work of local artists. Regular showings are available at the Wildey Theatre and Haskell Playhouse. 

  • Population – 10000
  • Median Value Of Home – $84,000
  • Median Rent – $778
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 75.9
  • Employability Rate – 94.6
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 47.59 (6.12Violent and 41.48 Property)
  • The recreation and tourism industries are the most prominent in Wood River, followed by retail and manufacturing. Healthcare is also a major industry in the region.
  • Best Neighborhoods- Rice street, Ground 8th street

Things to Do in Wood River:

  • Play Pinball at the CP Pinball Station.
  • At the National Great River Museum, you’ll get to know about rivers.

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4. Granite City

Located in western Illinois, Granite City is a charming and historic city known for its rolling hills, picturesque nature trails, and rich history. With roots dating back to the 1800s, the city is home to several historic landmarks and sites that reflect its storied past. Perhaps most notable is Old Main Street, a long strip of quaint shops and restaurants that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Granite City grew rapidly in the early 1800s due to its excellent position relative to the Mississippi River. Horse Shoe Lake State Park and Dirt Racing are two of the nearby outdoor activities.

  • Population – 30000
  • Median Value Of Home – $71,000
  • Median Rent – $842
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 75.5
  • Employability Rate – 93
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 29.04 (7.91 Violent and 21.13 Property)
  • Manufacturing, Healthcare industries are some of the top employers in the city. 
  • Best Neighborhoods- Lincoln Place, Maryland Place

Things to Do in Granite City

  • At the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, you’ll find out Native American ruins and artifacts.
  • Fast and Furious or Formula 1 lovers can experience Dirt Racing at the Kenny Wallace.

5. Charleston

Charleston, IL, is a relatively small city located in eastern Illinois. Despite its size, the city has a lot to offer visitors and residents alike. The downtown area is home to several historical buildings, including the Coles County Courthouse, which was built in 1837. The city also has several parks and recreational facilities, including an indoor pool, a skate park, and several tennis courts. For art enthusiasts, the Charleston Alley Theatre will be a great way to spend some time. The city is home to Eastern Illinois University and has close ties to its neighbor, Mattoon.

  • Population – 20000
  • Median Value Of Home – $95,000
  • Median Rent – $542
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 72.3
  • Employability Rate – 94.4
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 7.23 (2.49Violent and 4.74 Property)
  • Essential industries such as educational services, health care, and social services are the top employers in the city.
  • Best Neighborhoods- Morton Park

Things to Do in Charleston

  • The Fox Ridge State Park, located in Charleston, is a great location to view flowers.
  • Watch a play at the Charleston Alley Theatre CAT.

6. Clinton

Clinton, IL, is a small city in central Illinois with a population of just over 7,000 people. The city was founded in 1835 and was originally named New Germanton. The city was renamed Clinton in 1837, after Dewitt Clinton, the Governor of New York, from 1817 to 1823. The small city of Clinton, which is only 30 miles from Decatur, has a distinct appeal and is the perfect spot for someone seeking to get away from the big city while still enjoying the nightlife on occasion. The DeWitt County Museum is one of several historical locations from which visitors may explore the area.

  • Population – 7000
  • Median Value Of Home – $98,500
  • Median Rent – $528
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 74.1
  • Employability Rate – 92.8
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 22.42 (0.43 Violent and 21.99 Property)
  • Manufacturing and healthcare are the most common occupations in Clinton.
  • Best Neighborhoods- West Jefferson street, North Linden street

Things to Do in Clinton

  • Enjoy a fishing trip at the Weldon Springs State Park.
  • You can visit the Dewitt Clinton Mansion, which is now called as Dewitt County Museum.

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7. Mendota

Mendota, Illinois, is a small city located in the northwestern part of the state. Mendota is located on the Illinois River, approximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of LaSalle County. The city is home to Illinois Valley Community College and North Central College. Mendota is perhaps best known for its long history of coal mining. The chamber of commerce in Mendota assists organize events throughout the year, but Mendota also has a number of permanent activities and museums.

  • Population – 7000
  • Median Value Of Home – $91,000
  • Median Rent – $665
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 74.5
  • Employability Rate – 86.9
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 10.06 (1.42 Violent and 8.64 Property)
  • Agriculture, construction, and education offer a few possibilities in Mendota, but manufacturing and health care account for the majority of employment.
  • Best Neighborhoods- Randolph street, Homer street, Center place.

Things to Do in Mendota:

  • You may view Trains and Engines at the Union Depot Railroad Museum.
  • You can pay respect to Wild Bill at the Wild Bill Hickok Memorial.

8. Dixon

Dixon is a small town in northern Illinois known for its rich history and picturesque landscape. Situated near the Rock River, Dixon retains much of its original 19th-century charm, from quaint shops and restaurants to historic homes and public buildings. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or want to explore one of the state’s most beautiful towns, Dixon is sure to delight. If you’re searching for a city outside of the city that offers nightlife access but is still near enough to get around town, Dixon may be the place for you.

  • Population – 15000
  • Median Value Of Home – $80,000
  • Median Rent – $550
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 74.9
  • Employability Rate – 94.8
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 15.97 (0.98 Violent and 14.99 Property)
  • The manufacturing and retail sectors are Dixon’s major industries.
  • Best Neighborhoods- Lost Nation / Chana, Palmyra / Prairieville, Dixon North.

Things to Do in Dixon

  • Take a walk on the Lowell Parkway Trail, which features deer, zebra, and many more animals.
  • Pay tribute to Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln statue.

9. Springfield, IL

Springfield is the capital of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County. Located in the heart of central Illinois, Springfield is a vibrant and exciting city with a rich history and many unique attractions. From the Lincoln Presidential Museum, which honors the life and legacy of one of the country’s greatest presidents, to the natural beauty of Forest Park, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Springfield. The Knight’s Action Park and Caribbean Adventure are located in Springfield, Illinois, which is home to the state’s largest theme park! The city is also the home of Illinois State University and the University of Illinois at Springfield.

  • Population – 112400
  • Median Value Of Home – $115,000
  • Median Rent – $1,185
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 75.4
  • Employability Rate – 96
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 46.45 (9.42 Violent and 37.03 Property)
  • The Education sector and hospital sectors are Springfield’s major industries.
  • Best Neighborhoods- Downtown, West Koke mill, Vinegar Hill

Things to Do in Springfield

  • There are several locations associated with Abraham Lincoln, such as the Lincoln Home, Monument, and Presidential Library, where you may explore.
  • You can try out a variety of amusement rides at the Knight’s Action Park.

10. DeKalb, IL

DeKalb is a city in northern Illinois, United States. It is the county seat of DeKalb County. The city is named after decorated German war hero Johann de Kalb, who fought for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. The city is home to Northern Illinois University, as well as a variety of businesses and industries. DeKalb is known for its diverse Population, its commitment to the arts, and its small-town feel. The city offers a variety of goods and services and is a great place to live, work, and play. 

  • Population – 43000
  • Median Value Of Home – $160,000
  • Median Rent – $959
  • Overall Cost of Living Compared to National Average 100 – 84.1
  • Employability Rate – 94.9
  • Crime Rate per 1000 residents – 32.37 (6.40 Violent and 25.97 Property)
  • Distribution facilities, such as 3M, Nestle, Panduit, and Target sponsor the city’s economy.
  • Best Neighborhoods- Sycamore, Cortland, Sandwich

Things to Do in DeKalb

  • For history and art lovers, the Ellwood House Museum and NIU Art Museum are tranquil stops.
  • Visit the Egyptian Theatre and enjoy any one of Egypt’s amazing plays.

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Conclusion

The state of Illinois has a long and illustrious history, as well as several distinct cities. There are many affordable places to live in Illinois which offer a variety of goods and services and have a low cost of living. Suppose you are tight on budget but still want to find a great place to call home; consider some of the cities on this list. Whether you’re looking for a small town or big city feel, there is sure to be an affordable option that fits your needs and preferences. Research well when choosing the best place for you and your family to live in Illinois. Thanks for Reading!

Also See: 6 Largest Cities in Illinois to Move to | Moving to Illinois

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of living in Illinois?

The cost of living in Illinois is relatively low when compared to other states. The average cost of living index is 93.4.

What city in Illinois has the lowest crime rate?

Some of the cities in Illinois with the lowest crime rates include Dixon, Mendota, and Charleston. 

What are some of the major industries in Illinois?

The major industries in Illinois include manufacturing, retail, education, health care, and distribution facilities.

Why is Illinois a great place to live?

Illinois is a great place to live because it has a diverse population, a thriving economy, excellent schools and hospitals, and many exciting attractions and activities. Whether you’re looking for big-city excitement or small-town charm, Illinois has something to offer everyone. Additionally, the cost of living in Illinois is relatively low compared to other states.

See Also: Top Affordable Movers in the USA

Written by


Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.