The 10 Best Places To Retire In Illinois For 2019


We analyzed over 201 places in Illinois to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

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Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the best places to retire in Illinois.

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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 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.

Where exactly in Illinois is the best place to retire? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data — which returns Palos Hills as the best place to hang up your cleats.

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.

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.

For Illinois state reading:

Palos Hills, IL

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 17,545
Rank Last Year: 200 (Up 199)
Median Rent: $986
Distance to Closest Airport: 6 miles
More on Palos Hills: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Columbia, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,193
Rank Last Year: 230 (Up 228)
Median Rent: $785
Distance to Closest Airport: 21 miles
More on Columbia: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Columbia is a city in Monroe and St. Clair counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, about 12 miles south of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 9,707 at the 2010 census.

Waterloo, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,197
Rank Last Year: 283 (Up 280)
Median Rent: $846
Distance to Closest Airport: 30 miles
More on Waterloo: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Waterloo is a city in Monroe County, Illinois, United States. The population was 9,811 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Monroe County.

Palos Heights, IL

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 12,544
Rank Last Year: 275 (Up 271)
Median Rent: $1,688
Distance to Closest Airport: 8 miles
More on Palos Heights: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Palos Heights is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Palos Heights students can readily commute to Moraine Valley Community College in nearby Palos Hills. Moraine Valley serves the local residents through classes, seminars, lectures, concerts, plays, and other activities. Trinity Christian College is also located in Palos Heights.

Des Plaines, IL

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 58,755
Rank Last Year: 221 (Up 216)
Median Rent: $1,038
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
More on Des Plaines: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Des Plaines is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 58,364. It is a suburb of Chicago and is just north of O’Hare International Airport. It is located on, and named for, the Des Plaines River, which runs through the city just east of its downtown area.

Barrington, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 10,449
Rank Last Year: 213 (Up 208)
Median Rent: $1,220
Distance to Closest Airport: 16 miles
More on Barrington: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Barrington is an affluent suburban village in Cook County and Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 10,327 at the 2010 census. Located approximately 32 miles northwest of Chicago, the area features wetlands, forest preserves, parks, and horse trails in a country-suburban setting.

River Grove, IL

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 10,248
Rank Last Year: 122 (Up 115)
Median Rent: $888
Distance to Closest Airport: 5 miles
More on River Grove: Real Estate | Data | Photos

River Grove is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 10,227 at the 2010 census.

Lemont, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 16,587
Rank Last Year: 266 (Up 259)
Median Rent: $898
Distance to Closest Airport: 14 miles
More on Lemont: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lemont is a village located in Cook, DuPage, and Will counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, and is a suburb of Chicago. The population was 16,000 as of the 2010 census. Lemont is home to Argonne National Laboratory and other heavy industrial sites.

Lake Forest, IL

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 18,881
Rank Last Year: 310 (Up 301)
Median Rent: $1,757
Distance to Closest Airport: 18 miles
More on Lake Forest: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lake Forest is a city located in Lake County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 19,375. The city is along the shore of Lake Michigan, and is a part of the Chicago metropolitan area and the North Shore. Lake Forest was founded around Lake Forest College and was laid out as a town in 1857 as a stop for travelers making their way south to Chicago. The Lake Forest City Hall, designed by Charles Sumner Frost, was completed in 1898 and originally housed the fire department, the Lake Forest Library, and city offices. Lake Forest is among the wealthiest cities in the United States.

Westmont, IL

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 25,149
Rank Last Year: 203 (Up 193)
Median Rent: $983
Distance to Closest Airport: 11 miles
More on Westmont: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Westmont is a village in DuPage County, Illinois, United States. Westmont is a community of 5.03 square miles in area. Westmont had a 2000 population of 24,554, a partial special census was conducted 2007 resulting in a population of 26,211, and the census of 2010 put the population at 24,685. It is located approximately 18 miles west of the Chicago Loop in the southeastern portion of DuPage County.

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Prairie State for 2019

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 — 1364 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 10,000 people that weren’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.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire In Illinois 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:

  1. Round Lake Beach
  2. Montgomery
  3. Waukegan

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In Illinois?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Palos Hills 17,545 $986
2 Columbia 10,193 $785
3 Waterloo 10,197 $846
4 Palos Heights 12,544 $1,688
5 Des Plaines 58,755 $1,038
6 Barrington 10,449 $1,220
7 River Grove 10,248 $888
8 Lemont 16,587 $898
9 Lake Forest 18,881 $1,757
10 Westmont 25,149 $983

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