Best counties to retire to in Illinois

Written by:
July 31, 2022
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Best counties to retire to in Illinois

Buyers and sellers of real estate alike—when asked what are the three most essential considerations about a property—will nearly always reply "location, location, location." While this answer is sometimes tongue-in-cheek, it is often quite accurate, and this reply perhaps applies to retirees more than any other demographic. Settling down after a lifetime of working and perhaps raising a family calls for the perfect location: a spot where you can enjoy life with as few concerns as possible.

When seniors aged 65 years or older decide on where they want to live out their golden years, they consider very specific factors, such as the cost of living, government services, health care facilities, weather and overall climate, crime rate, outdoor recreational activities, eating establishments, cultural and entertainment opportunities, and more.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to retire in Illinois using data from Niche. Niche ranks counties based on a variety of factors including cost of living, healthcare, recreation and weather. Read more about Niche's methodology here.

Location is critical as retirees determine where to spend their senior years enjoying favorite activities; however, it’s a very unique decision based on a multitude of preferences and needs. Whether it be bustling downtowns or access to parks, affordable home prices or cultural amenities like museums, retirees seeking to settle in a permanent spot are sure to find a private paradise in any of these counties recommended by Niche because, in the end, there is no place like home—no matter the location.

Read on to discover the best counties to retire to in Illinois.

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Archedamian // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Macon County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (B+), weather (B-), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Forsyth (A), Mount Zion (A-), Long Creek (B+)
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#24. Ford County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (B+), weather (C+), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Gibson City (B+), Paxton (B+), Dix Township (B+)
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Mingusboodle // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Pike County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (A-), weather (B-), outdoor activities (C+)
- Top places to live: Pittsfield (B), Newburg Township (B), Pittsfield Township (B-)
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Larry D. Moore // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Sangamon County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (B), weather (B-), outdoor activities (B+)
- Top places to live: Leland Grove (A+), Chatham (A), Rochester (A)
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TheCatalyst31 // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Hamilton County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (A), weather (B-), outdoor activities (C+)
- Top places to live: McLeansboro (B), Dahlgren Township (B), McLeansboro Township (B)

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#20. Crawford County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (A-), weather (B-), outdoor activities (C)
- Top places to live: Robinson (B+), Robinson Township (B+), Martin Township (B)
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#19. Montgomery County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (A-), weather (B-), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Litchfield (B), Hillsboro (B), Nokomis (B)
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#18. Adams County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (B+), weather (B-), outdoor activities (B+)
- Top places to live: Quincy (B), Ellington Township (B+), Melrose Township (B+)
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#17. Jersey County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (B+), weather (B-), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Jerseyville (B), Elsah (A+), Jersey Township (B)
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#16. Franklin County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (A-), weather (B-), outdoor activities (C+)
- Top places to live: Benton (B-), Christopher (C+), West Frankfort (C+)

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Madison County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (B), weather (B-), outdoor activities (B+)
- Top places to live: Glen Carbon (A+), Edwardsville (A), Maryville (A-)
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Massac County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (A-), weather (B-), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Metropolis (B-), Brookport (B), Joppa (C+)
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Coalfather // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Macoupin County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (A-), weather (B-), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Carlinville (B+), Virden (B-), Staunton (B-)
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#12. Edgar County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (A), weather (C+), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Paris (B), Brouilletts Creek Township (B), Paris Township (B)
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Matt Turner // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Menard County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (B+), weather (A-), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Petersburg (B+), Athens (B+), Lake Petersburg (B-)

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Boscophotos // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Mercer County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (A-), weather (C+), outdoor activities (C+)
- Top places to live: Aledo (B), Viola (B), North Henderson Township (B)
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#9. Saline County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (A), weather (B-), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Harrisburg (B-), Eldorado (B-), Cottage Township (B)
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#8. White County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (B+), cost of living (A), weather (B-), outdoor activities (C+)
- Top places to live: Carmi (B-), Hawthorne Township (B), Phillips Township (B)
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Henderson County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (A-), cost of living (A), weather (C+), outdoor activities (C-)
- Top places to live: Rozetta Township (B+), Lomax Township (B), Terre Haute Township (B)
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#6. Jo Daviess County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (A-), cost of living (B+), weather (C), outdoor activities (B+)
- Top places to live: Galena (A), East Dubuque (B-), The Galena Territory (A-)

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ProfDEH // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Marshall County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (A-), cost of living (A-), weather (C+), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Hopewell Township (B), Henry (B), Lacon Township (B)
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#4. Williamson County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (A-), cost of living (B+), weather (B-), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Carterville (A), Crainville (A-), Cambria (B+)
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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Clay County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (A-), cost of living (A-), weather (B), outdoor activities (C)
- Top places to live: Flora (B-), Harter Township (B-), Xenia (B-)
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#2. Hancock County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (A-), cost of living (A), weather (C+), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Carthage (B+), Hamilton (B), Wilcox Township (A)
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Visviva // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Carroll County

- Niche grades: good for retirees (A-), cost of living (A-), weather (C), outdoor activities (B)
- Top places to live: Savanna (B-), Rock Creek-Lima Township (A-), Lanark (B+)

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