What is the Cheapest Place to Live in Illinois?

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Illinois is a Midwestern state with the sixth largest population in the country. When you visit Illinois, you will discover a mix of natural resources and residents. Chicago, the state’s largest city, is flanked by small industrial towns and areas of immense agricultural productivity. The Port of Chicago connects Illinois with several international ports, while the state is a major transportation hub and economic producer. Springfield is the capital of Illinois, although Chicago has a population of over 2.6 million. When you’re ready to relocate to the state on a budget, learn more about the cheapest place to live in Illinois.

Median income in Illinois

A diverse mix of cultures provides appeal to people planning to live in Illinois. Millions of people live the life of the big city of Chicago, while other residents live in rural areas and on farms, producing the food people eat across the country. The vast differences in lifestyles also contribute to differences between cost of living and median income across the state. The median household income in Illinois is $ 65,886.

In Chicago, the median household income is $ 58,247. The cost of living in Chicago is higher than the rest of the state, with the overall cost of living above the national average. State-wide cost of living estimates are slightly lower than the national average in all areas except housing, where the cost of living is significantly lower than the national average. The Chicago housing market is one of the state’s most expensive markets, and residents can expect to pay around the national average for housing. That being said, there are plenty of perks and reasons to move to Chicago, so don’t let the above average cost of living fool you.

Inexpensive living spaces in Illinois

The state of Illinois comprises nearly 56,000 square miles of land and provides homes for more than 12.6 million people. You might be wondering, “What’s the cheapest place to live in Illinois?”

If you’re looking for the cheapest place to live in Illinois, you’ll have to look outside the big city as rental prices are the highest in Chicago. You may be able to live in a city suburb if you plan to commute for work.


Hoopeston, a small town of about 5,000 residents, is one of the most affordable places in Illinois. This quiet suburb is made up of a large population of residents who have found Hoopeston one of the cheapest places to retire in Illinois. You can explore the city center to enjoy the small town vibe and learn more about its history.


Freeport, another profitable place to live, is in Stephenson County; German settlers from Pennsylvania founded the community in the early 19th century. Freeport has a growing economy supplemented by finance, healthcare, and construction. Its most famous attraction is The Great Baseball Tour.

Granite city

Granite City appeals to those who enjoy spending time outdoors and embarking on adventures. It’s close to the Mississippi River, which means you can hang out on the shore or walk along the water to see the natural surroundings. Other outdoor activities include clay races and exploring the nearby Horse Shoe Lake State Park.


Charleston is home to the University of Eastern Illinois and historic attractions worth seeing. Charleston is a college town. Although the cost of living is a bit higher than in some of the neighboring small towns, it is still quite affordable. Historic sites dot the various neighborhoods and areas. Some of the strongest elements of the urban economy include social services, education, and health care.

Decatur and Clinton

Decatur offers access to restaurants, shopping and nightlife. The average rent price for a bedroom is $ 575. If you like the idea of ​​being near this city without living there and paying the higher costs, check out Clinton. This small town is about 35 km north of Decatur, providing city access mixed with a small town vibe. Historical attractions abound in Clinton, including the DeWitt County Museum.

Illinois’ Most Affordable Rent

Many of these areas offer affordable rent, which places them among the cheapest places to live in Illinois. Hoopeston’s average rental price is just over $ 550, making it an affordable place to live. Residents of Freeport pay an average of $ 495 per month in rent for a one-bedroom apartment. This price is well below the national average of $ 1,514. Rental prices across Freeport have increased by approximately 19% from 2020 to 2021.

In Granite City, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $ 550. This price marks a decrease of 14% compared to the previous year. Charleston residents pay an average of $ 525 for a one-bedroom apartment, while those living in Clinton can expect to pay around $ 700 for a two-bedroom apartment. As you approach Decatur, the largest city near Clinton, rental prices go up.

If you want to live in a larger city in Illinois but pay less rent, consider looking for a room to rent or sharing a rental with one or two roommates. Sharing housing costs can keep your costs under control, including rent, utilities, and internet service. Online tools offer information to people who want to share a living space. You can also reduce your costs by limiting your electricity and gas consumption to lower your monthly utility bills. Alternative rental units may be available to tenants in the state, such as mobile homes.

As you begin to compare cheap Illinois homes, browse thousands of Illinois apartments for rent on Zumper and narrow your search to suit your budget.

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