These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Illinois For 2018


We analyzed over 285 places in Illinois to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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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:

  1. Palos Hills (Homes For Sale)
  2. Columbia (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Waterloo (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Palos Heights (Homes For Sale)
  5. Des Plaines (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Barrington (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. River Grove (Homes For Sale)
  8. Lemont (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Lake Forest (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Westmont (Photos | Homes For Sale)

Why did Palos Hills take the top spot? And where are Chicago and Aurora?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details. Or check out the purely worst and best places to live in Illinois.

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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.

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1. Palos Hills

Palos Hills, Illinois

Population: 17,545
Median Rent: $986
Distance to Closest Airport: 6 miles
Crime Per 100k: 569
More on Palos Hills: Homes For Sale | Data

2. Columbia

Columbia, Illinois

Source: Public domain’

Population: 10,193
Median 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.’

3. Waterloo

Waterloo, Illinois

Source: Wikipedia User | GFDL

Population: 10,197
Median 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

Palos Heights, Illinois

Population: 12,544
Median Rent: $1,688
Distance to Closest Airport: 8 miles
Crime Per 100k: 709
More on Palos Heights: Homes For Sale | Data

5. Des Plaines

Des Plaines, Illinois

Population: 58,755
Median 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.

6. Barrington

Barrington, Illinois

Source: Public domain’

Population: 10,449
Median 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

River Grove, Illinois

Population: 10,248
Median 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.

8. Lemont

Lemont, Illinois

Source: Public domain’

Population: 16,587
Median 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

Lake Forest, Illinois

Population: 18,881
Median 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.

10. Westmont

Westmont, Illinois

Population: 25,149
Median 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
  • Montgomery
  • Waukegan

For more Illinois reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Illinois

City Rank Population Median Rent Distane To Airport Crimes per 100k
Palos Hills 1 17,545 $986 6 569
Columbia 2 10,193 $785 21 784
Waterloo 3 10,197 $846 30 362
Palos Heights 4 12,544 $1688 8 709
Des Plaines 5 58,755 $1038 3 990
Barrington 6 10,449 $1220 16 756
River Grove 7 10,248 $888 5 1,561
Lemont 8 16,587 $898 14 880
Lake Forest 9 18,881 $1757 18 614
Westmont 10 25,149 $983 11 1,248
Brookfield 11 18,966 $986 5 1,486
Western Springs 12 13,133 $1677 7 266
Winnetka 13 12,437 $1627 12 739
Park Ridge 14 37,567 $1235 3 1,030
Glen Ellyn 15 27,894 $980 11 967
Highland Park 16 29,780 $1561 14 960
La Grange 17 15,688 $1125 6 1,344
Taylorville 18 11,081 $657 79 1,263
La Grange Park 19 13,596 $1082 6 794
Franklin Park 20 18,290 $804 3 1,301
Rock Island 21 38,647 $703 4 3,105
Canton 22 14,397 $625 65 1,444
Deerfield 23 18,686 $1559 13 685
Dixon 24 14,802 $636 59 1,972
Geneva 25 21,732 $1263 22 911
Moline 26 42,805 $686 2 3,866
Hinsdale 27 17,438 $1785 9 1,066
Wood Dale 28 13,908 $1268 3 1,373
Worth 29 10,776 $891 7 1,280
Elmwood Park 30 24,845 $963 5 1,489
Morton Grove 31 23,413 $1516 7 931
Fox Lake 32 10,434 $898 34 1,533
Wheaton 33 53,568 $1260 13 679
Freeport 34 24,784 $611 73 2,824
Mount Prospect 35 54,552 $981 6 1,083
Libertyville 36 20,435 $1184 21 1,350
Ottawa 37 18,707 $720 63 2,207
River Forest 38 11,217 $1215 7 2,745
Elmhurst 39 45,742 $1446 5 1,228
Schiller Park 40 11,813 $888 2 2,099
Cary 41 17,946 $1178 23 529
Hickory Hills 42 13,858 $888 5 1,118
Prospect Heights 43 16,331 $985 8 765
Pontiac 44 12,016 $623 77 2,063
Troy 45 10,041 $752 25 876
Mokena 46 19,839 $955 18 1,340
Glenview 47 46,559 $1657 8 1,400
Lyons 48 10,571 $957 3 1,258
Galesburg 49 31,469 $590 35 3,530
Niles 50 29,628 $1047 5 2,467
East Moline 51 21,394 $599 7 3,094
Westchester 52 16,719 $1378 8 1,674
Oak Forest 53 28,055 $923 12 1,219
Arlington Heights 54 75,721 $1213 8 1,030
Huntley 55 25,831 $1186 30 851
Lisle 56 22,989 $1167 15 956
Homer Glen 57 24,385 $1787 16 500
Darien 58 22,232 $1144 12 1,673
Mattoon 59 17,399 $611 56 2,534
Skokie 60 64,873 $1160 9 2,643
Glen Carbon 61 12,782 $897 20 829
Roselle 62 22,911 $1231 9 907
Oak Park 63 51,989 $1050 7 3,083
Edwardsville 64 25,044 $929 20 1,281
Downers Grove 65 49,555 $1181 13 1,380
Quincy 66 40,689 $592 97 3,765
Morris 67 13,930 $884 45 2,318
Oak Lawn 68 56,774 $1002 5 1,789
Plano 69 11,929 $881 38 905
Charleston 70 21,257 $652 46 940
Alton 71 27,175 $730 15 4,474
Wilmette 72 27,367 $1713 11 1,165
Bensenville 73 18,431 $1021 2 1,692
Burr Ridge 74 10,736 $1799 9 847
Northbrook 75 33,538 $1962 11 1,171
Frankfort 76 18,415 $1750 20 1,048
Washington 77 16,102 $829 75 1,192
South Holland 78 22,040 $1423 15 2,549
Lincoln 79 14,253 $676 107 2,546
Morton 80 16,343 $866 79 972
Buffalo Grove 81 41,554 $1399 13 531
Northlake 82 12,339 $853 4 2,171
East Peoria 83 23,090 $657 73 3,126
Bridgeview 84 16,381 $888 4 3,015
Villa Park 85 21,977 $1067 7 1,656
Norridge 86 15,023 $1106 4 2,842
Sterling 87 15,071 $645 48 3,649
Palatine 88 69,098 $1135 11 921
Streator 89 13,163 $562 72 2,955
Summit 90 11,409 $845 3 2,226
West Chicago 91 27,420 $1042 17 1,192
Kewanee 92 12,755 $570 33 3,622
Lombard 93 44,025 $1241 9 2,253
Mount Vernon 94 14,880 $589 83 6,518
Burbank 95 29,087 $1009 2 1,629
Jacksonville 96 19,042 $658 68 3,481
Evergreen Park 97 19,849 $966 5 3,229
Batavia 98 26,413 $1126 22 1,665
Addison 99 37,192 $924 6 1,890
Carol Stream 100 40,228 $1076 12 850
Effingham 101 12,650 $557 70 3,272
Melrose Park 102 25,422 $871 5 1,463
Tinley Park 103 57,125 $1067 15 1,424
Blue Island 104 22,446 $799 9 3,038
Sycamore 105 17,611 $934 39 1,527
Rolling Meadows 106 23,377 $1229 9 1,283
New Lenox 107 25,347 $989 22 1,290
Wood River 108 10,360 $730 17 3,938
Orland Park 109 58,612 $1117 13 2,320
Cahokia 110 14,574 $836 16 5,022
Belleville 111 42,729 $754 26 4,474
Warrenville 112 13,415 $1373 18 1,065
Homewood 113 19,280 $1129 16 3,148
Collinsville 114 24,855 $815 20 3,174
Crystal Lake 115 40,475 $1171 28 1,650
Macomb 116 18,771 $666 68 1,949
Grayslake 117 21,053 $1053 25 1,747
Wheeling 118 38,008 $1142 10 1,239
Antioch 119 14,342 $896 33 1,575
Loves Park 120 24,499 $787 61 2,175
Channahon 121 12,329 $1333 36 283
Forest Park 122 14,137 $967 6 4,053
Herrin 123 12,868 $593 97 3,800
Chatham 124 12,569 $1038 73 692
Bartlett 125 41,475 $1379 18 679
Bourbonnais 126 18,607 $871 42 2,004
Mundelein 127 31,550 $1184 20 1,001
Springfield 128 116,745 $742 81 5,532
Decatur 129 74,063 $654 90 4,116
St. Charles 130 32,745 $1102 21 1,453
Berwyn 131 56,414 $928 4 2,490
Lincolnwood 132 12,637 $1784 9 3,750
Cicero 133 83,972 $855 4 2,354
Hoffman Estates 134 51,727 $1177 14 935
Round Lake 135 18,425 $1204 27 824
Belvidere 136 25,300 $722 52 1,363
Maywood 137 24,029 $918 7 3,067
Campton Hills 138 11,500 $2033 26 339
Danville 139 32,030 $681 50 7,480
Swansea 140 13,722 $982 24 2,055
Elgin 141 111,919 $991 21 1,609
Park Forest 142 21,831 $1056 21 1,960
Lake Zurich 143 19,950 $1216 17 1,333
Evanston 144 75,472 $1246 11 2,386
Lockport 145 25,096 $1028 19 856
Hanover Park 146 38,331 $1141 12 769
North Aurora 147 17,612 $961 25 1,481
Chicago 148 2,714,017 $987 5 4,314
Hazel Crest 149 13,924 $1494 14 3,942
Richton Park 150 13,668 $1042 21 2,611
Naperville 151 145,789 $1360 20 1,151
Algonquin 152 30,413 $1400 24 1,292
Chicago Heights 153 30,349 $853 19 3,229
Lansing 154 28,369 $943 18 7,046
Midlothian 155 14,830 $1016 11 2,764
Yorkville 156 18,436 $1023 35 992
Woodstock 157 25,232 $943 35 1,727
Pekin 158 34,003 $657 76 2,361
Woodridge 159 33,331 $1155 15 1,449
Alsip 160 19,335 $895 8 2,922
Bellwood 161 19,146 $1064 6 2,658
Bloomington 162 78,368 $780 104 2,110
Crest Hill 163 20,316 $1022 23 1,181
Rockford 164 149,597 $719 62 5,353
Lindenhurst 165 14,380 $1303 30 514
Chicago Ridge 166 14,368 $936 5 4,203
Peoria 167 115,990 $740 66 4,572
Matteson 168 19,146 $1193 19 3,374
Shiloh 169 13,050 $936 28 1,931
Schaumburg 170 74,366 $1283 9 2,365
Glendale Heights 171 34,395 $1113 9 1,747
Machesney Park 172 23,002 $875 63 2,791
Zion 173 24,195 $963 33 3,207
Mchenry 174 26,631 $1070 31 1,663
Rantoul 175 13,238 $692 73 2,961
Fairview Heights 176 16,793 $996 22 5,424
Shorewood 177 16,539 $1540 30 1,227
Oswego 178 33,245 $1644 30 1,245
East St. Louis 179 26,731 $495 15 5,091
Vernon Hills 180 25,910 $1226 17 1,532
Normal 181 54,534 $877 101 2,244
Carbondale 182 26,066 $660 94 3,767
Romeoville 183 39,739 $1432 20 1,680
Lake In The Hills 184 28,908 $1365 25 588
Kankakee 185 26,424 $777 47 4,923
Urbana 186 41,941 $781 65 4,065
O’Fallon 187 29,078 $969 26 1,936
Gurnee 188 31,070 $1179 27 4,158
South Elgin 189 22,274 $1256 20 1,297
Roscoe 190 10,666 $979 64 1,303
Aurora 191 200,907 $1104 24 1,741
Plainfield 192 41,881 $1665 27 876
Bolingbrook 193 74,320 $1234 19 1,482
Joliet 194 147,515 $941 27 2,229
Champaign 195 84,672 $877 68 4,089
Country Club Hills 196 16,794 $1343 15 2,917
Carpentersville 197 38,275 $994 22 1,826
Bradley 198 15,668 $920 43 3,523
Waukegan 199 88,159 $900 27 3,103
Montgomery 200 19,055 $1183 29 1,826
Round Lake Beach 201 27,936 $1146 29 2,215

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