15 Best Places to Retire in Illinois - InvestingChannel

15 Best Places to Retire in Illinois

This article takes a look at the 15 best places to retire in Illinois. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis on navigating retirement living in the US, you may go to 5 Best Places to Retire in Illinois.

America and the Senior Citizen: A Troubled Story?

According to the Pew Research Center, America currently houses 62 million senior citizens who account for 18% of the country’s total population. Projections indicate an upward trajectory, with senior citizen numbers projected to reach 84 million by 2054, constituting 23% of the population. In fact, it’s not just senior citizens as a whole that are witnessing growth, but the centenarian population within this group is also on an upward trend. United States Census numbers depict a mere 2,300 Americans aged 100 and above in 1950. This has now grown to 101,000 in 2024 and is expected to quadruple to 422,000 by 2054. With senior citizens accounting for such a large portion of America’s population, what relationship does the country hold with this significant section of its citizens? 

For one, it is expensive to be a senior citizen in America – more so than many, many countries across the world. A study by the Social Science Research Network revealed that the number of senior Americans filing for bankruptcy has more than doubled from the figures of 25 years ago. Social scientists who are studying the Consumer Bankruptcy Project attribute this rise in senior citizen bankruptcy to high healthcare costs, low incomes, and declining pensions. When all of this adds up, the equation reveals an unfavorable answer. 

Deborah Thorne, an author behind the Social Science Research Network’s bankruptcy study, says that Medicare and the problems that riddle this system are in large part accountable for the financial struggles that America’s senior citizen class is facing. 

My bankruptcy started with back surgery. I had several medical tests that my insurance did not cover. This caused me to fall behind in my medical payments. The next thing I knew, the bills began piling up. I got to the point I owed more than I was making on Social Security”

-US Senior Citizen who filed for bankruptcy talking to Deborah Thorne, author of Social Science Research Network’s bankruptcy study

Registered Nursing estimates annual healthcare costs to be around $11,300 for senior citizens in America. Breaking it down, this comes out to $942 per month. For senior citizens who are surviving solely on Social Security checks – a monthly amount of $1,909 according to 2024 Social Security payouts – this leaves behind a mere $967 to cover necessities such as rent, groceries, transport, utilities, and more. 

Faced with such circumstances, America’s retiring class often grapples to find the best possible living situation – one that fits within their limited budget and delivers a certain standard of living. To make this a reality, senior citizens often move for retirement, either to some of the best places to retire around the world or to the best states for retirement in the US. Here, one particularly favorable retirement state is that of Illinois which ranks 9th. Not only does Illinois’ state average cost of living sit at 7.9% below the national average, but the state is also tax-friendly toward retirees as it doesn’t tax nearly all forms of retirement income. 

The housing market in Illinois is also favorable with figures being significantly below the national median. According to Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ:RDFN), the median price of a home in the state is $266,300. For seniors who manage living on smaller Social Security checks, there are various discounts that can be availed. One of the most prominent examples of this is Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS), which has over 60 outlets in the state of Illinois. At Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS), shoppers aged 60 and above can benefit from a weekly 15% Wednesday-only discount on their selected range of brands. All in all, the state aims to make retirement living more comfortable, making Illinois a good state to retire

To facilitate present and potential retirees in navigating the move to Illinois state, we have compiled a list of the 15 best places to retire in Illinois.

15 Best Places to Retire in Illinois A doctor holding a clipboard talking to an elderly patient in a Medicare Advantage healthcare facility.


To compile this list of the 15 best places to retire in Illinois, we consulted several sources including our lists of 30 Cheapest Places Across America Where You Will Want to Retire, 25 Best US Cities Where You Can Retire on $2500 a Month, 25 Most Affordable Places to Retire in the U.S. in 2024, 25 Cheap and Beautiful Places to Retire in the US,15 Best Cities to Retire in the Midwest, 20 Safest Places to Retire in the US, 20 Best Cities to Retire on a Budget of $1,800 a Month, 20 Best Places to Retire in the US, and Niche, NewHomeSource, Movoto, and WorldAtlas. 

Once a list of places was compiled using these sources, we then ranked them across multiple factors, namely, their cost of living, their livability scores, and their median house price. For this article, cost of living indexes were taken from Best Places, livability scores were taken from Area Vibes, and median house prices were taken from Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ:RDFN). To ensure that the recommended places were of a suitable living standard, we removed any places with a livability score of below 60. A cumulative score was then assigned to each place, with the 15 highest-scoring places making our list of the 15 best places to retire in Illinois. For places that gained an equal score, their cost of living index was used as a tie-breaker. The resulting list is presented in ascending order, with the highest-ranked place being presented last. 

It is important to remember that personal preference plays a big part. The best course of action is to visit the place you plan to move to, converse with locals, take advice from a financial consultant, and only then make your final decision. 

By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that tracks the movements of corporate insiders and hedge funds. By using a similar consensus approach, we identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). Whether you are a beginner investor or a professional one looking for the best stocks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders. 

Here are the 15 best places to retire in Illinois:

15. Granite City

Insider Monkey Score: 62

Livability: 65

Cost of Living Index: 82.5

Median House Price: $117,000

Located in Madison County, Granite City is one of the best places to live in Illinois. The city is situated on the Mississippi River, giving residents access to water views and a range of nature-related activities. Senior citizens can visit the Granite City Park District, the Granite City Cinema, and the Alfresco Performing Arts Center for a fun day out on the town. 

14. Casey

Insider Monkey Score: 62

Livability: 63

Cost of Living Index: 73.2

Median House Price: $187,000

Our next pick for the best places to retire in Illinois is the dual-county city of Casey. Located in the counties of Cumberland and Clarke, Casey is best known for hosting a series of certified world’s largest items. These include a massive rocking chair, wooden shoes, a key, and a mailbox – among others. Residents can also indulge in a range of delectable eats at some of Casey’s best food establishments including Richards Farm Restaurant and Wildflour Bakery & Candy Co. 

13. Geneva

Insider Monkey Score: 63

Livability: 80

Cost of Living Index: 95.4

Median House Price: $375,000

With a cost of living that is 4.6% lower than the national average, Geneva is a great retirement destination for senior citizens who are in search of peaceful yet affordable living. A Chicago suburb, Geneva residents have the benefit of having a big city nearby where they can travel for a fun day out. Within Geneva itself, senior citizens can visit the Geneva History Museum, the Penrose Brewing Company, and Stone Creek Miniature Golf.

12. Kankakee

Insider Monkey Score: 66

Livability: 62

Cost of Living Index: 80.6

Median House Price: $104,250

Many senior citizens dream of being retirement-time homeowners, and there’s no better spot for this category of retirees than Kankakee. With a low median home price of $104,250, interested retirees will be saving upwards of $280,000 as compared to the national median house price. Not only does this make many financially lower-end retirees into homeowners, but it also does so without emptying their banks. Of course, the city also has much more to offer including a host of indoor and outdoor activities and highly-rated eateries. 

11. Aledo

Insider Monkey Score: 70

Livability: 69

Cost of Living Index: 76.4

Median House Price: $163,000

Aledo’s winning feature is its low cost of living –  a whole 23.6% lower than the national average. This small town acts as a retirement gateway for the financially struggling senior citizen. Located in Mercer County and with a population of under 4,000 as per the last United States Census, Aledo is one of the best small towns in Illinois to live. Residents can partake in the town’s many festivals including the Rhubarb Festival, the Mercer County Fair, and the Antique Days celebration. 

10. Oregon

Insider Monkey Score: 71

Livability: 74

Cost of Living Index: 82.2

Median House Price: $155,000

The tenth spot on our list of best places to retire in Illinois goes to the Ogle County city of Oregon. Despite being small, the city has much to offer. Residents can visit the Conover Square Mall, the Oregon Park East, and Cin’s Treasures Ceramics & Art Studio for a day out on the town. To finish the day, they can enjoy a meal at Breakers Saloon & Eatery or the Spring Valley Restaurant. 

9. Galena

Insider Monkey Score: 72

Livability: 80

Cost of Living Index: 82.8

Median House Price: $280,000

Galena’s distinctive quality is its intact 19th-century architecture which dots the town, one of the most prominent of which is Dowling House from 1826. Located in Illinois’ Northwest region, Galena is a historic small town that is perfect for senior citizens who are in search of a slower retirement period. Residents can take a trip around town with the Galena Trolley Tours sightseeing agency, visit Grant Park for a nature break, and go to the River Bend Gallery to delight their artistic side. 

8. Quincy

Insider Monkey Score: 74

Livability: 68

Cost of Living Index: 77.1

Median House Price: $132,000

Quincy is regarded as one of the best cities to retire on a budget of $1,800 a month, making it a great pick for retirees who are living off of a Social Security income. One of the larger cities on our list of best places to retire in Illinois, Quincy offers residents a suburban feel. Residents can visit the Quincy Community Theatre, the Quincy Brewing Company, and the Gardner Museum of Architecture & Design, among other attractions. 

7. Rock Island

Insider Monkey Score: 83

Livability: 73

Cost of Living Index: 75.7

Median House Price: $136,000

Located in a county of the same name, Rock Island is famously known for its bridge-building history. All in all, the city boasts everything that a retiree could need. Residents can access healthcare at the Community Health Care Rock Island Clinic, catch a bite at the Riverfront Grille, or spend a happening day out at the Quad City Botanical Garden and the Hauberg Museum. 

6. Litchfield

Insider Monkey Score: 83

Livability: 66

Cost of Living Index: 70.9

Median House Price: $95,950

With a cost of living that is 29.1% lower than the national average, Litchfield is one of the best places to retire in Illinois on a budget. A wishful homeowner’s dream, Litchfield offers a remarkably low median house price, helping financially struggling retirees get a more stable grip on life. Home to the famous Route 66, the city is also known for its diverse nature offerings. 

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Disclosure: none. 15 Best Places to Retire in Illinois is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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