The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Illinois For 2021


We used science and data to determine which cities in Illinois that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the most expensive places to live in Illinois.

If you guessed that many of Illinois' most expensive places are located around Chicago, you guessed right. The northeast corner of Illinois has a long history of exorbitant home prices, high property taxes, and people who can afford to pay these premium price tags.

Yes, Illinoisans can thank famous mobsters like Al Capone, professional athletes like Michael Jordan, and the CEOs of the state's 36 Fortune 500 companies for driving up the cost in the state's most expensive places. More importantly, you can thank HomeSnacks for creating a list of the most expensive places in Illinois for 2021 so that anyone thinking about moving to The Land of Lincoln will know how to navigate the state's pricey pockets.

Before you head down to our list of Illinois' top ten most expensive places, it's important to note how we calculated our list. First, we looked at the American Community Survey for places with at least 5,000 residents. We then looked at the home to income ratio and the rent to income ratio for each place. This left us with 329 Illinois places that will require you to make at least $58,247/year to offset your cost of living.

So, if you want to know what it's going to take to live in one of the most expensive places in one of the most expensive states in America, take a look below.

Here are the 10 most expensive places to live in Illinois for 2021:

  1. Lincolnshire
  2. Highwood
  3. Lincolnwood
  4. Evanston
  5. Morton Grove
  6. Westmont
  7. Chicago
  8. Niles
  9. Skokie
  10. Northbrook

What's the most expensive place to live in Illinois? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Lincolnshire is the most expensive place to live in Illinois.

So hopefully Litchfield (the cheapest place to live in Illinois) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

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

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Illinois For 2021

1. LincolnshireLincolnshire, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,572
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.4x (11th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 41.7x (13th most expensive)
More on Lincolnshire: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Lincolnshire comes in at $116,316 and the median home value is $508,700 for 2021.

2. HighwoodHighwood, IL

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 5,310
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.6x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.3x (30th most expensive)
More on Highwood: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Highwood comes in at $63,388 and the median home value is $354,800 for 2021.

3. Lincolnwood

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 12,434
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.2x (23rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 50.2x (33rd most expensive)
More on Lincolnwood: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Lincolnwood comes in at $95,030 and the median home value is $396,100 for 2021.

4. EvanstonEvanston, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 74,587
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.0x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.3x (80th most expensive)
More on Evanston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Evanston comes in at $78,904 and the median home value is $391,400 for 2021.

5. Morton Grove

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 23,089
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (44th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.8x (23rd most expensive)
More on Morton Grove: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Morton Grove comes in at $85,360 and the median home value is $317,200 for 2021.

6. WestmontWestmont, IL

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 24,931
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.7x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.6x (70th most expensive)
More on Westmont: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Westmont comes in at $64,416 and the median home value is $301,900 for 2021.

7. ChicagoChicago, IL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,709,534
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.4x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.4x (46th most expensive)
More on Chicago: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Chicago comes in at $58,247 and the median home value is $258,000 for 2021.

8. NilesNiles, IL

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 29,451
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.4x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.8x (72nd most expensive)
More on Niles: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Niles comes in at $64,772 and the median home value is $284,400 for 2021.

9. SkokieSkokie, IL

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 63,821
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 6)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.4x (13th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.5x (84th most expensive)
More on Skokie: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Skokie comes in at $73,046 and the median home value is $318,800 for 2021.

10. NorthbrookNorthbrook, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 33,343
Rank Last Year: 12 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.3x (20th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.7x (115th most expensive)
More on Northbrook: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Northbrook comes in at $124,863 and the median home value is $534,800 for 2021.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Prairie State For 2021

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 2015-2019 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 most 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 329 places in Illinois that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in Illinois according to the data is Lincolnshire. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Illinois For 2021

Well there you have it, the places in Illinois that have the highest cost of living, with Lincolnshire ranking as the most expensive city in the Prairie State.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in Illinois according to the data:

  1. Litchfield
  2. Clinton
  3. Pana

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Illinois

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Lincolnshire 14.0 7,572 4.4x 41.7x
2 Highwood 24.0 5,310 5.6x 49.3x
3 Lincolnwood 28.67 12,434 4.2x 50.2x
4 Evanston 38.33 74,587 5.0x 57.3x
5 Morton Grove 40.33 23,089 3.7x 46.8x
6 Westmont 45.0 24,931 4.7x 56.6x
7 Chicago 46.17 2,709,534 4.4x 52.4x
8 Niles 49.17 29,451 4.4x 56.8x
9 Skokie 50.0 63,821 4.4x 57.5x
10 Northbrook 50.33 33,343 4.3x 60.7x
11 Elmwood Park 51.83 24,468 4.3x 53.5x
12 Willowbrook 64.0 8,673 3.3x 48.6x
13 Inverness 64.33 7,633 3.3x 59.3x
14 Glenview 64.67 47,416 4.3x 65.0x
15 North Riverside 66.0 6,646 4.2x 57.4x
16 Norridge 69.0 14,703 3.9x 60.5x
17 Schiller Park 75.67 11,621 3.8x 52.5x
18 Burr Ridge 77.0 10,763 4.3x 70.4x
19 Melrose Park 77.33 25,605 3.8x 51.1x
20 Gilberts 79.33 7,823 2.7x 47.5x
21 Rolling Meadows 79.67 23,219 3.3x 53.8x
22 Countryside 80.33 5,961 3.7x 57.5x
23 Bloomingdale 80.33 22,027 3.5x 61.7x
24 Forest Park 80.67 13,927 3.7x 58.1x
25 Urbana 80.67 42,718 4.2x 44.3x
26 Winfield 80.67 9,700 2.7x 53.1x
27 Northfield 81.0 5,534 4.3x 71.1x
28 Justice 81.33 12,800 3.5x 47.7x
29 Wood Dale 81.33 13,796 3.4x 56.7x
30 Lombard 82.67 43,998 3.2x 57.3x
31 Des Plaines 83.33 58,673 3.7x 61.0x
32 Bensenville 84.5 18,281 3.5x 55.6x
33 Carbondale 84.67 25,597 5.3x 31.0x
34 Campton Hills 85.67 11,105 2.8x 59.0x
35 Harwood Heights 88.0 8,487 4.1x 65.4x
36 Vernon Hills 88.0 26,343 3.3x 64.8x
37 Pingree Grove 89.33 8,107 2.8x 56.4x
38 Long Grove 91.0 7,963 3.0x 65.9x
39 Schaumburg 92.33 74,194 3.0x 57.7x
40 Huntley 92.33 26,966 3.3x 61.0x
41 Prospect Heights 92.67 16,137 3.9x 66.5x
42 Mount Prospect 93.67 54,604 4.1x 70.4x
43 Addison 93.67 36,896 3.7x 63.6x
44 Lisle 95.33 23,431 3.9x 70.8x
45 Arlington Heights 96.0 75,482 3.7x 70.4x
46 Lake Bluff 96.33 5,632 3.9x 76.6x
47 Dekalb 96.67 42,908 3.5x 49.9x
48 Summit 97.67 11,260 3.6x 54.2x
49 Palatine 100.17 68,407 3.5x 67.1x
50 Hillside 101.33 8,080 3.0x 48.5x
51 Champaign 101.33 87,636 3.3x 50.9x
52 Chicago Ridge 102.33 14,153 3.3x 49.1x
53 Downers Grove 102.67 49,470 3.7x 72.2x
54 Cicero 102.83 82,330 3.3x 52.5x
55 Woodridge 103.67 33,455 3.2x 64.2x
56 River Grove 103.67 10,076 3.5x 61.5x
57 Barrington 104.0 10,290 4.1x 79.4x
58 Palos Hills 104.17 17,318 3.3x 59.1x
59 Park Ridge 104.33 37,457 3.9x 77.9x
60 Burbank 105.33 28,729 3.1x 56.5x
61 Wheeling 106.0 38,499 2.9x 54.2x
62 Willow Springs 106.33 5,604 3.9x 73.4x
63 Crest Hill 106.67 20,550 3.0x 49.8x
64 Elk Grove Village 107.0 32,942 3.3x 66.2x
65 Lake Forest 107.67 19,173 4.9x 94.0x
66 Bridgeview 108.0 16,124 3.3x 57.5x
67 Wheaton 108.33 53,270 3.5x 72.9x
68 Glendale Heights 109.0 34,079 2.8x 53.8x
69 Hoffman Estates 109.67 50,841 3.1x 65.7x
70 Northlake 110.0 12,290 3.3x 57.7x
71 Homer Glen 110.33 24,592 3.1x 68.2x
72 Oak Park 110.67 52,233 4.1x 80.5x
73 Elmhurst 111.67 46,463 3.6x 79.2x
74 Oak Lawn 112.0 55,936 3.2x 60.1x
75 Hinsdale 113.33 17,710 4.4x 108.2x
76 Highland Park 114.33 29,628 3.9x 85.7x
77 Roselle 114.67 22,754 2.8x 63.1x
78 Broadview 115.0 7,755 2.9x 50.7x
79 Winnetka 115.0 12,428 4.4x 153.6x
80 Palos Heights 115.0 12,480 3.2x 67.5x
81 Westchester 115.33 16,440 2.8x 60.5x
82 River Forest 115.67 10,970 4.6x 113.7x
83 Wilmette 116.33 27,247 4.3x 111.0x
84 Itasca 116.5 9,224 3.4x 73.6x
85 Maywood 117.67 23,578 3.0x 52.0x
86 Berwyn 118.0 55,407 3.4x 64.8x
87 Clarendon Hills 118.33 8,716 4.5x 114.5x
88 Deerfield 119.67 19,006 3.4x 81.8x
89 Lake Barrington 120.67 5,117 3.4x 79.9x
90 Hickory Hills 121.33 13,816 3.5x 68.7x
91 Villa Park 122.33 21,916 3.2x 67.0x
92 Glen Ellyn 122.33 27,855 4.1x 100.1x
93 Western Springs 122.67 13,272 3.5x 87.0x
94 La Grange 123.33 15,545 4.0x 104.8x
95 Buffalo Grove 123.33 41,062 2.9x 70.6x
96 Posen 123.33 6,149 2.9x 38.2x
97 Glencoe 124.0 8,888 3.8x 158.1x
98 Streamwood 124.33 39,809 2.4x 46.3x
99 Darien 125.67 21,884 3.4x 80.2x
100 Geneva 126.33 21,888 3.0x 74.1x

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.