When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.
But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of Illinois.
But where exactly in Illinois? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.
To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Illinois that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.
What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Palos Hills don’t mind us spreading the word.
Here are our top ten places in the Prairie State to retire for 2018:
- Palos Hills (Homes For Sale)
- Columbia (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Waterloo (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Palos Heights (Homes For Sale)
- Des Plaines (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Barrington (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- River Grove (Homes For Sale)
- Lemont (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Lake Forest (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Westmont (Photos | Homes For Sale)
How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Prairie State
To create our list of the best places in Illinois to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Prairie State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.
This left us with 201 places from across the state.
For these 201, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:
- Low cost of living as measured by rent
- Low crime
- Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
- Nice weather
- Distance to the closest international airport
- Other retirees (High median age)
We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 201, with the lowest number being the best.
Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Palos Hills, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.
1. Palos Hills
Population: 10,193Median Rent: $785
Distance to Closest Airport: 21 miles
Crime Per 100k: 784
More on Columbia: Homes For Sale | Data
The first white settlers to come to the area of Columbia, Illinois, were Frenchmen in the mid-17th century. They named the area in which Columbia was founded L’Aigle, which is French for ‘The Eagle.’
Population: 10,197Median Rent: $846
Distance to Closest Airport: 30 miles
Crime Per 100k: 362
More on Waterloo: Homes For Sale | Data
Waterloo’s history dates back to the 18th century, with the French being the first Europeans to settle in the area. The site was ideal because of its elevation; the proximity of the Mississippi River Valley brought frequent flooding to the lowlands. It was also close to Fort de Chartres, a French stronghold. They named their settlement Bellefontaine, meaning ‘beautiful spring.’ This name related to a spring of water a mile south of the site of Waterloo, a frequent campsite on journeys between Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and St. Louis. France had long since abandoned the area, as it had been ceded to Britain in the wake of the Seven Years’ War in 1763 and had since been unoccupied.
4. Palos Heights
5. Des Plaines
Population: 58,755Median Rent: $1,038
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
Crime Per 100k: 990
More on Des Plaines: Homes For Sale | Data
Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwe (Chippewa) Native American tribes inhabited the Des Plaines River Valley prior to Europeans’ arrival. When French explorers and missionaries arrived in the 1600s, in what was then the Illinois Country of New France, they named the waterway La Rivière des Plaines (River of the Plane Tree) as they felt that trees on the river resembled the European plane tree. The first white settlers came from the eastern United States in 1833, after the Treaty of Chicago, followed by many German immigrants during the 1840s and 1850s. In the 1850s, land in the area was purchased by the Illinois and Wisconsin Land Company along a railroad line planned between Chicago and Janesville, Wisconsin. In 1852, the developers built a steam-powered mill next to the river, to cut local trees into railroad ties. Socrates Rand then bought the mill and converted it into a grist mill, which attracted local farmers. The Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad made its first stop in the area in the fall of 1854.
Population: 10,449Median Rent: $1,220
Distance to Closest Airport: 16 miles
Crime Per 100k: 756
More on Barrington: Homes For Sale | Data
The original settlers of the Barrington area were the indigenous peoples of the Native American Prairie Potawatomi or Mascoutin tribes, which later divided into the Potawatomi, Chippewa, and Ottawa tribes. Many local roads still in use today, including Algonquin Road, Rand Road, Higgins Road, and St. Charles Road, were originally Native American trails. For many years, Barrington was considered part of the Northwest Territory, then the Illinois Territory.
7. River Grove
Population: 10,248Median Rent: $888
Distance to Closest Airport: 5 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,561
More on River Grove: Homes For Sale | Data
Just like nearby Elmwood Park and Oak Park are named after their historic elm and oak trees, River Grove gets its two-part name first from the community’s shallow muddy plains river, and second from the majestic groves of American ash trees lining shore of the (Aux) Des Planes River ‘Bottomland’. Credit goes to the village’s early German and Nordic settlers who, already holding a great reverence for the ‘Mystic Ash’ through old world traditions, felt that they were home again among the familiar groves of ash trees, ‘just like the ones they left behind’. Up until the modern day extinction event of the American ash tree species 2006?2018, River Grove was the home to Cook County’s second-oldest Green Ash with an estimated age of 240 in the ‘Old growth’ Lafrombose Woods, along with several other living examples of locally evolved White, Green, Black and Blue Ash types 110?160 years of age scattered around the village. Because the invasive Asian Emerald Ash Borer kills off young trees long before they reach seeding age of 10, scientists theorize that the ‘Fraxinus/ash’ species will no longer be able to germinate continued generations by 2018 within the local woods, or only 12 years after EAB was first discovered in River Grove.
Population: 16,587Median Rent: $898
Distance to Closest Airport: 14 miles
Crime Per 100k: 880
More on Lemont: Homes For Sale | Data
Before white settlers arrived in Lemont, Native Americans traveled the Des Plaines River in birch bark canoes on trading trips between the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan. The native Potawatomi lived off the land in this area, directly using natural resources for food, shelter, clothing and medicine. In the 18th century, French voyageurs traveled down the Des Plaines River, trading Native Americans metal, beads and cloth for animal furs and changing the Native American lifestyle forever.
9. Lake Forest
Population: 18,881Median Rent: $1,757
Distance to Closest Airport: 18 miles
Crime Per 100k: 614
More on Lake Forest: Homes For Sale | Data
The Potawatomi inhabited Lake County before the United States Federal Government forced them out in 1836.
Population: 25,149Median Rent: $983
Distance to Closest Airport: 11 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,248
More on Westmont: Homes For Sale | Data
The area known as Westmont was inhabited by the Potawatami until the year 1833. After several failed attempts by the U.S. government to persuade the Native Americans to move from the area, in 1833, the Native Americans agreed under coercion to vacate their land for nominal payment.
Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…
So there you have it, the best place to retire in Illinois goes to Palos Hills.
If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:
- Round Lake Beach
For more Illinois reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Illinois For 2018
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Illinois
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In Illinois
Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Illinois
|La Grange Park||19|
|East St. Louis||179|
|Lake In The Hills||184|
|Country Club Hills||196|
|Round Lake Beach||201|