The 10 Best Places To Retire In Illinois For 2021


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

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best places to retire in Illinois.

What do 1.5 million Illinoisans above the age of 65 know that the rest of America does not? They know that the Land of Lincoln has some of the best places to call home if you are looking to retire.

That's right. There is more to Illinois than da' Bears and a good 'ol fashioned horseshoe, there are super safe, super affordable places for people looking to spend their retirement years in the Midwest. And lucky for you, HomeSnacks has taken the guessing out of the equation: we did the research and created a list of the top ten best places in Illinois to retire for 2021.

How'd we determine the best places to retire in Illinois? Well, we know that when people are searching for the best places to retire, they are also looking for things like convenience and an economy that protects their bottom line; and folks, Illinois' best places to retire have all that and then some. To identify Illinois' top ten, we consulted the numbers. In total, we analyzed 202 cities. We looked at important factors like cost of living, crime, amenities, rent and distance to closest national airport for every place with over 10,000 residents.

We discovered that people in this demographic are starting to move to bigger cities so that they have better access to public transportation, healthcare options, and programs designed especially for them. This trend is happening in Illinois, and this is why we find most of the state's best places to retire centered around Chicago. But, there are other areas in this flyover state that are just great. So definitely give places like Waterloo and Columbia a second look.

So, where are the best places to retire in Illinois? Keep reading.

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

Now, HomeSnacks is not your just your average website. We've had more than 50 million people read our published articles and we've been featured in hundreds of media outlets for our best of the best rankings, including this feature by Patch.com. So, yes, we know what we're talking about.

So, what's the best place to retire in Illinois for 2021? According to the latest data, Palos Hills is the best place to retire in the Prairie State for 2021.

To see how your favorite places in Illinois compared, take a look at the list below; and if you don't see it there, head to the bottom.

For more Illinois state reading:

The 10 Best Places To Retire In Illinois For 2021

Palos Hills, IL

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 17,318
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Rent: $1,035
Distance to Closest Airport: 6 miles
More on Palos Hills: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Palos Heights, IL

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 12,480
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $1,322
Distance to Closest Airport: 8 miles
More on Palos Heights: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Columbia, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,752
Rank Last Year: -
Median Rent: $887
Distance to Closest Airport: 21 miles
More on Columbia: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 10,633
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 8)
Median Rent: $975
Distance to Closest Airport: 7 miles
More on Worth: Real Estate | Data

La Grange, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 15,545
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Rent: $1,183
Distance to Closest Airport: 6 miles
More on La Grange: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lake Forest, IL

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 19,173
Rank Last Year: -
Median Rent: $1,831
Distance to Closest Airport: 18 miles
More on Lake Forest: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Park Ridge, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 37,457
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Rent: $1,433
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
More on Park Ridge: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Des Plaines, IL

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 58,673
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Rent: $1,144
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
More on Des Plaines: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Winnetka, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 12,428
Rank Last Year: 20 (Up 11)
Median Rent: $1,628
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
More on Winnetka: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lemont, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 17,023
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 6)
Median Rent: $1,069
Distance to Closest Airport: 14 miles
More on Lemont: Real Estate | Data | Photos

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Prairie State for 2021

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 202 places from across the state.

For these 202, 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 202, 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. You can download the data here.

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. Dekalb
  3. Montgomery

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In Illinois?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Palos Hills 17,318 $1,035
2 Palos Heights 12,480 $1,322
3 Columbia 10,752 $887
4 Worth 10,633 $975
5 La Grange 15,545 $1,183
6 Lake Forest 19,173 $1,831
7 Park Ridge 37,457 $1,433
8 Des Plaines 58,673 $1,144
9 Winnetka 12,428 $1,628
10 Lemont 17,023 $1,069

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.