10 Cheapest Places to Live in Illinois 

By PropertyClub Team
May 7th 2024
Known for its great lakes and midwestern charm, Illinois offers a good mix of small towns and big cities. While it has its fair share of large metropolitan areas with a higher cost of living, it also has plenty of smaller cities and towns that are much more affordable. So, if you're looking for an inexpensive place to live in the Prairie State, read on to explore some of the most affordable places to live in Illinois. 

hash-mark10 Cheapest Places to Live in Illinois 

  1. Decatur
  2. Rantoul
  3. Lincoln
  4. Peoria
  5. Belleville
  6. Charleston
  7. Moline
  8. Springfield
  9. Champaign
  10. Normal

hash-mark1. Decatur 

Decatur is the cheapest city in Illinois. Home to 69,097 residents, Decatur is the most populous city in Macon County and the 17th most populous in the state of Illinois. Known for being the original home of President Abraham Lincoln and for its prolific soybean production, Decatur is a rural city with very affordable home prices. The median home price is $88,917, which is 97% lower than the statewide median. The cost of living in Decatur is also 27.1% lower than the rest of the US and 22.2% lower than the rest of Illinois. 

hash-mark2. Rantoul 

Rantoul is also one of the cheapest places to live in Illinois. The quiet village is located about 15 miles north of Champaign, IL, and features a population of 12,371. Rantoul is known for its small-town atmosphere and easy access to parks and golf courses. It's also very affordable, with a median home price of $113,282. The cost of living in Rantoul is about 19% lower than the national average, and a single person would need to make about $30,400 to afford to live there. 

hash-mark3. Lincoln

Lincoln is another one of the most affordable places to live in Illinois. Located in Logan County, about 45 miles south of Peoria and 35 miles northeast of Springfield, Lincoln is a small city home to about 13,288. It's known for its historic attractions, including Abraham Lincoln's original law practice and the world's largest covered wagon. It's also a very affordable city with a median home price of $115,540. The cost of living in Lincoln is also 27.2% lower than the national average and 22.3% lower than the statewide average.  

hash-mark4. Peoria

Peoria is also one of the most affordable cities in Illinois. Located in the heart of Central Illinois, the city of Peoria is home to 113,150 residents. It's the principal city in the Peoria metro area, home to a population of just over 400,000 people and is also one of the largest cities in Illinois. Known for its picturesque views of the Illinois River and agricultural heritage, Peoria is a proud city with a low cost of living. The median home price is $119,973, while the cost of living is 24.4% lower than the rest of the US. 

hash-mark5. Belleville

Belleville is another one of the most affordable cities in Illinois. Situated in St. Clair County, Belleville is a pleasant city in southwestern Illinois, located about 17 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri. Belleville is known for being the home of the first brewery in the state of Illinois, and today, it features a population of 42,404 residents. It's a very affordable city with a median home price of $135,172 and an average rent of $1,108. The cost of living in Belleville is also about 20% lower than the national average. 

hash-mark6. Charleston

Charleston is also among the cheapest cities in Illinois. Located in Coles County, Charleston is home to Eastern Illinois University and features a population of 17,286. It's also one of the principal cities in the Charleston-Mattoon metro area, which features a total population of 57,523 residents. Charleston is also a very affordable city with a median home price of $138,886. The cost of living is roughly 30% lower than the national average, and the average adult needs to make about $24,800 per year to afford a comfortable lifestyle. 

hash-mark7. Moline

Moline is another one of the cheapest cities in Illinois. Situated on the Mississippi River in Rock Island County, Moline is right near the Iowa border. The population of Moline is 42,985. However, it's also one of the Quad Cities, along with the cities of East Moline, Rock Island, Davenport, IA, and Bettendorf, IA, which collectively feature a population of 384,324 residents. Despite its central location, Moline is very affordable and features an average home price of $139,042. The cost of living is 24.3% lower than the rest of the US, and the average person needs to earn about $30,000 per year to afford a comfortable living. 

hash-mark8. Springfield

Springfield is another one of the cheapest places to live in Illinois. Located in the heart of Central Illinois, Springfield is the state capital and one of its most historically significant cities. It has a population of 114,394 residents, making it the 7th largest city in Illinois. Springfield is known for being the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, as well as the city where President Obama started his political career. It's also a very affordable place to live, with a median home price of $151,621 and an average rent of $1,115. The cost of living in Springfield is also about 22% lower than the national average, and the average person needs to earn about $30,800 to be able to afford to live in the city. 

hash-mark9. Champaign

Another one of the most affordable places to live in Illinois is Champaign. Along with the neighboring city of Urbana, Champaign is one of the most culturally important cities in western Illinois. It's home to the massive University of Illinois campus, as well as cultural attractions like the Krannert Art Museum and the Spurlock Museum. It's also at the center of what is known as the Silicon Prairie, with many notable startups located in the city. Champaign has a population of 88,302, although a total of 236,000 residents live in the entire Champaign-Urbana metro area. Even with all its fantastic benefits, Champaign is a very affordable city with a median home price of $203,931 and an average rent of $1,624. The cost of living is about 19% lower than the national average. 

hash-mark10. Normal

Normal is another one of the cheapest places to live in Illinois. Located in McClean County, about 38 miles southeast of Peoria, Normal is a peaceful town with popular attractions and a low cost of living. It's home to about 52,736. However, it's one of the principal cities in the Normal-Bloomington metro area, which is the 7th largest in Illinois outside of Chicago. Normal is also very affordable, with a median home price of $238,170 and an average rent of $1127. The cost of living in Normal is about 16% below the statewide average.