These Are The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Illinois For 2019


We used data and science to determine which places in Illinois go easy on your wallet.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Illinois.

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A wise sage once said:

“She works hard for the money…”

And these places in Illinois definitely treat her right.

You see, these are the cities and places in Illinois where the cost of living is the lowest; where your salary goes the furthest. And when if you have the luxury of choosing where to live in the Prairie State, then the cost of living should play a role in the decision.

So we did the hard for you and crunched the numbers to find the cities that have lower food, energy, and housing costs. After the dust settled on our analysis of the 326 largest places in Illinois, we were left with this set of the best value for your money.

So where is the cheapest place to live in Illinois? That would be Hoopeston.

Here are the 10 cheapest places to live in Illinois for 2019:

  1. Hoopeston (Photos | Visit)
  2. Clinton (Photos | Visit)
  3. Dixon (Photos | Visit)
  4. Mount Carmel (Photos | Visit)
  5. Salem (Photos | Visit)
  6. Hillsboro (Photos | Visit)
  7. Du Quoin (Visit)
  8. Pana (Photos | Visit)
  9. Litchfield (Photos | Visit)
  10. Lincoln (Photos | Visit)

So listen up Lincolnshire (the most expensive place in Illinois) as we explain how we created this ranking. You could learn some things from the rest of the state.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Illinois and the cheapest places in the country:

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Prairie State For 2019

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Illinois
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2013-2017 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Illinois to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 326 places in Illinois that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Illinois according to the data is Hoopeston.

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Illinois For 2019

Hoopeston, IL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,186
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.6x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 82.8x (47th cheapest)
More On Hoopeston: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Hoopeston is a city in Grant Township, Vermilion County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 5,351.

The median income in Hoopeston comes in at $41,313 and the median home value is $64,100 for 2019.

Clinton, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,260
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (13th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 83.9x (43rd cheapest)
More On Clinton: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Clinton is the largest city in DeWitt County, Illinois, United States. The population was 7,225 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of DeWitt County.

The median income in Clinton comes in at $45,877 and the median home value is $79,100 for 2019.

Dixon, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 15,257
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 84.5x (39th cheapest)
More On Dixon: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Dixon is a city and county seat of Lee County, Illinois, United States. The population was 15,733 as of the 2010 census, down from 15,941 in 2000. The city is named after founder John Dixon, who operated a rope ferry service across Rock River, which runs through the city. The Illinois General Assembly designated Dixon as “Petunia Capital of Illinois” in 1999 and “The Catfish Capital of Illinois” in 2009.

The median income in Dixon comes in at $54,353 and the median home value is $92,300 for 2019.

Mount Carmel, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,032
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 6)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (12th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.9x (77th cheapest)
More On Mount Carmel: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Mount Carmel is a city in and the county seat of Wabash County, Illinois, United States. At the time of the 2010 census, the population was 7,284, while the next largest town in Wabash County is Allendale, population 475. Located at the confluence of the Wabash, Patoka, and White Rivers, Mount Carmel borders both Gibson and Knox counties of Indiana. A small community known informally as East Mount Carmel sits near the mouth of the Patoka River on the opposite side of the Wabash River from Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel is 5 miles northeast of the Forest of the Wabash, a National Natural Landmark within Beall Woods State Park and about a mile north-northeast of one of its main employers, the Gibson Generating Station. Mount Carmel is also the home of Wabash Valley College, part of the Community College System of Eastern Illinois.

The median income in Mount Carmel comes in at $44,500 and the median home value is $76,400 for 2019.

Salem, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 7,044
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (15th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.3x (86th cheapest)
More On Salem: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The median income in Salem comes in at $41,122 and the median home value is $71,600 for 2019.

Hillsboro, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,231
Rank Last Year: 48 (Up 42)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.6x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 73.9x (92nd cheapest)
More On Hillsboro: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Hillsboro is a city in Montgomery County, Illinois, United States. The population was 6,207 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Montgomery County.

The median income in Hillsboro comes in at $48,682 and the median home value is $80,000 for 2019.

Du Quoin, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,876
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 9)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (24th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 72.7x (98th cheapest)
More On Du Quoin: Homes For Sale | Data

Du Quoin is a town in Perry County, Illinois, United States. The population was 6,109 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Du Quoin comes in at $37,442 and the median home value is $69,200 for 2019.

Pana, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 5,572
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.2x (115th cheapest)
More On Pana: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Pana is a city in Christian County, Illinois, United States. The population was 5,614 at the 2000 census.

The median income in Pana comes in at $41,197 and the median home value is $69,900 for 2019.

Litchfield, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,951
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 13)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (21st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 74.2x (91st cheapest)
More On Litchfield: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Litchfield is a city in Montgomery County, Illinois, United States. The population was 6,939 at the 2010 census, and 6,588 in 2009 and 7,012 in 2015. It is located in south central Illinois, south of Springfield and northeast of Metro-East.

The median income in Litchfield comes in at $43,045 and the median home value is $76,900 for 2019.

Lincoln, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 13,912
Rank Last Year: 33 (Up 23)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (14th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.9x (78th cheapest)
More On Lincoln: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Lincoln is a city in Logan County, Illinois, United States. It is the only town in the United States that was named for and by Abraham Lincoln before he became president; he practiced law there from 1847 to 1859. First settled in the 1830s, Lincoln is home to three colleges and two prisons. The three colleges are Lincoln College, Lincoln Christian University, and Heartland Community College. It is also the home of the world’s largest covered wagon.

The median income in Lincoln comes in at $52,245 and the median home value is $90,300 for 2019.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Illinois Cheapskate

If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Illinois, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in illinois for 2019.

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Illinois according to the data:

  1. Lincolnshire
  2. Highwood
  3. Lincolnwood

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Illinois

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Hoopeston 19.33 5,186 1.6x 82.8x
2 Clinton 29.67 7,260 1.7x 83.9x
3 Dixon 36.67 15,257 1.7x 84.5x
4 Mount Carmel 38.67 7,032 1.7x 75.9x
5 Salem 40.0 7,044 1.7x 75.3x
6 Hillsboro 44.0 7,231 1.6x 73.9x
7 Du Quoin 45.33 5,876 1.8x 72.7x
8 Pana 46.67 5,572 1.7x 70.2x
9 Litchfield 47.0 6,951 1.8x 74.2x
10 Lincoln 50.33 13,912 1.7x 75.9x

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