How High Is the Cost of Living in Illinois?

The cost of living in Illinois is noticeably lower than the national average—but some cities are still fairly expensive.
Written by Patrick Price
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
The cost of living in
is significantly lower than that national average. Making $37,772 annually ($18.16/hour) should be more than enough for a comfortable lifestyle—depending, of course, on exactly where in Illinois you live.  
Illinois, sometimes called The Land of Lincoln or The Prarie State, is the best of both worlds—midwestern affordability combined with the vibrant culture only found near big cities like
. But how much does it actually cost to live there? For the answer, you’ll need to consider the average costs of things like housing, healthcare, transportation, groceries, and more. 
trusted insurance broker app
saving money on home and auto insurance
—has compiled all that information into one convenient location! Let’s take a look! 
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
Find insurance savings

How high is the cost of living in Illinois? 

The midwest is known for being an affordable place to live—and Illinois is no exception. With a cost of living index (COLI) of 93.4, it’s more affordable than the average U.S state. 
A cost of living index is a measurement of the average amount that a person spends to live in a given area—relative to the national average. Since Illinois has a COLI of 93.4, that means its cost of living is 93.4% of the average—and therefore 6.6% cheaper than what’s typical.
The COLI is a good indicator of Illinois's cost of living relative to other states, but it doesn’t give you any actual dollar numbers to work with. For that, we’ll break down the prairie state’s typical expenses by the most important budget categories—food, healthcare, transportation, and housing. 

Food: $270 to $1,100 per month

Everybody has to eat—it’s one of the most important expenses that we have. In Illinois, a single adult will spend about $270-$300 every month on food—this is on groceries, not restaurants or delivery (those are much more expensive). 
If you have a family, that monthly cost skyrockets. If you have a spouse and two children, for instance, you’ll have to pay around $1,100 for groceries each month
If that sounds like a lot, keep in mind that groceries in other states are typically around 6% more expensive. But of course, that’s just the Ilinois statewide average. Some places, like Chicago, tend to have steeper food prices. 
Let Jerry find you the best homeowners insurance policy for your needs
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Shop Now
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score

Healthcare: $575 per month

Healthcare costs in Illinois are more or less standard. Residents pay an average of about $575 per month for the care they need—which is about 2.8% below the national average
Of course, that doesn't mean that every Illinois resident is actually paying $6,900+ annually for healthcare. Medical expenses are one of the most unevenly distributed costs in the United States—some individuals don’t have any medical expenses at all, while others pay a huge percentage of their monthly income for healthcare. 

Housing: $850 to $1,700 per month

Housing costs typically comprise between 20% and 50% of the monthly cost of living for Illinois residents. Depending on who you ask, the median home price in Illinois is either $194,000 (
World Population Review
) or $253,433 (
)—or anywhere in between. Either way, it’s dramatically lower than the nationwide median price of $348,079
Of course, if you live somewhere like Chicago, you’ll have higher home prices (about $300,000 on average). On the other hand, some areas have housing cost well below the statewide average. In Canton, for instance, the typical home costs just $83,000
For the average homeowner, mortgages will be broken up into monthly payments of between  $1,700 and $1,300, depending on the term length. This is noticeably higher than the median mortgage payment nationwide, which is only about $1,200. So, while you’ll pay less overall for a home in Illinois, your monthly payments will probably be a bit higher. 
But what about those Illinois residents who rent rather than own their living space? He’s a quick breakdown of the median rental costs in the Prarie State: 
  • Median studio rent: approximately $850/month
  • Median one-bedroom rent: approximately $900/month
  • Median two-bedroom rent: approximately $1,000/month
  • Median three-bedroom rent: approximately $1,200/month
  • Median four-bedroom rent: approximately $1,350/month
Illinois housing costs may be relatively affordable, but don’t go celebrating just yet. In addition to rent/mortgage payments, you’ll need to spend around $125 a year on renters insurance or $1,300-$1,400 a year on homeowners insurance. On top of that, you’ll also have to pay another $300-$400 in utilities (electricity, gas, internet, water, trash removal, etc). The good news is that utilities are also pretty cheap in the Land of Lincoln—7.2% lower than the U.S average, to be precise. 

Transportation: $430 to $1,200 per month

Transportation is one of the few areas where Illinois is more expensive than most other states. Getting around in the Prarie State typically costs 38% more than average. Annually, a single adult can expect to pay roughly $5,100
Meanwhile, a family of four will need almost $14,500 each year to cover transportation costs. For your monthly budget, that means transportation is a regular expense of $430 to $1,200—depending on the number of people in your household. 
That might seem like a pretty steep price just to get around—and it is higher than the average. But that price tag makes more sense when you consider all the different expenses that contribute to your transportation costs. Here are a few of the big ticket travel-related costs in Illinois:
  • Average annual cost of car insurance in Illinois: $1,130 
  • 30-day pass for the
    Chicago Transit Authority
    (busses and trains): $75
  • Average commute time in Illinois: 29 minutes
  • Average cost of a gallon of gas: $4.28
MORE: The best road trips in Illinois
Let Jerry find you the best homeowners insurance policy for your needs
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score
Shop Now
* checking your rate won’t affect your credit score

How much you need to live comfortably in Illinois: $37,772 to $97,243 per year

Just to meet the basic requirements listed above, a single individual would need at least $29,100 to survive in Illinois. But surviving isn’t quite the same thing as living, and certainly not the same as living well
According to the
Living Wage Calculator
published by MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, $37,772 is what’s considered a living wage for an individual—and a family of four would need $79,913
The data provided by the
Bureau of Economic Analysis
, on the other hand, estimates the required cost to be even higher—stating that an individual needs $45,322 annually to live comfortably. 
Plus, don’t forget that there are plenty of “non-essential” expenses that go into affording a comfortable lifestyle. Below, we’ve listed the average prices for some of these additional expenses: 
  • Average cost of a date: $160.00 (US average: $116) 
  • Average cost of a night at the movies: $17.89 (US average: $10.61) 
  • Average cost of a Big Mac: $4.55 (US average: $3.99) 
  • Average sales tax: 8.81%(US average: 5.09%)
Small expenses like these have a way of adding up and making a big impact on your budget. Still, if you’re making $18-$19 per hour at a full-time job, then you should be just fine. If you’re making the Illinois minimum wage of $12/hour, however, you may have trouble covering your expenses.

The Illinois cities with the lowest cost of living

As has been mentioned, the cost of living in Illinois is going to vary pretty widely depending on what area you live in. Places like Chicago and
are going to be the most expensive—but what about the least expensive? Let’s take a look at some of the cities in Illinois with the lowest COLI
  1. Decatur
    (COLI: 86): Located right where the Sangamon River meets Lake Decatur, this scenic waterfront location offers big city amenities, such as prestigious zoos and museums, for those that are trying to avoid Chicago’s high COL. 
  2. Champaign-Urbana
    (COLI: 87.5): Champaign is a fun and affordable college town with plenty of things to do and places to see. 
  3. Danville
    (COLI: 88.2): If big cities aren’t your thing, Danville offers a nice small-town atmosphere and some charming historic architecture. 
If you’re looking for affordable living in the Land of Lincoln, one of the three cities listed above should be a good fit!  
MORE: The best places to live in Illinois

How to easily find home and car insurance in Illinois

Finding just the right Illinois town, neighborhood, and apartment/house to call home can be pretty challenging. Fortunately, the same doesn’t have to be true when you’re looking for great rates on
auto insurance
You can compare clear and concise policy quotes for car and homeowners policies right from your phone!
top-rated insurance broker app
—will find all the best deals, analyze them, and display your options in a matter of seconds
Using Jerry saves customers an average of $800+ each year on the cost of their car and homeowners insurance! Best of all, you can use the app for free! Give it a try today, and you could have a new policy in place in just a few minutes
was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.
Jerry automatically checks if you are paying the lowest price for your insurance, for free.
Instantly compare top insurance companies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
What insurance do you want to compare?


A single adult with no children needs approximately $3,147 per month to live comfortably in Illinois.
All of the expenses and averages listed above were gathered from
MIT’s Living Wage Calculator
, the
U.S. Census Bureau
’s American Housing Survey, and data published by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (
) as well as the Council for Community and Economic Research (
Save an average of 18% by bundling your home and auto insurance
Bundle your home and auto insurance with Jerry and save!
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings