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Is Living in Decatur IL Right for You? | 🌟 COMPLETE Moving to Decatur Guide

Last Updated on: 2nd November 2023, 10:22 am

Moving to Decatur, Illinois? Decatur is a city with a lot of history. It was founded in 1829 and named after War of 1812 naval hero Stephen Decatur. Decatur is known for being the first home of President Abraham Lincoln, who settled here in 1820 at just 20 years old. Decatur is often described as a “big small town”. The city is large and populous, yet locals say if you know at least three people, you’re connected to everyone here. As an industrially and agriculturally centered city, Decatur’s symbol is its historic Transfer House, which once served as the city’s transfer point for the City Electric Railway streetcars in the late 1800s.

Living in Decatur can be summed up by the city’s motto: “Decatur, we like it here”. As an affordable urban-suburban city, it has something to offer everyone. As such, Decatur Illinois is an excellent place to live.

Where Is Decatur?

Decatur is in Macon County and is the county’s largest city. It’s part of the Decatur Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes 14 nearby towns. Being situated in Central Illinois, Decatur runs along the Sangamon River, with Lake Decatur on the east side of the city.

It’s 181 miles from Decatur to Chicago, which is roughly the same amount of mileage between Decatur and both the O’Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway International Airport. The Decatur Airport, which is only six miles from the city center, also offers domestic flights.

If you don’t have a car, you’ll find that Decatur public transportation is sufficient for getting around. The city is served by the Decatur Public Transit System (DPTS), which provides 15 bus routes and a downtown trolley. Amtrak has also recently begun offering a Thruway Bus Service with daily round trips between Decatur and Springfield or Champagne with connections between Springfield and Chicago.

Decatur Population & Demographics

The population of Decatur IL is 70,522, according to the 2020 US Census Bureau, and is the largest city in Macon County. As a large city, Decatur is also fairly diverse.

Here’s a quick look at the Decatur demographics:

  • White (non-Hispanic or Latino): 67.5%
  • Hispanics and Latinos: 2.8%
  • Asians: 1.4%
  • Black or African Americans: 23.1%
  • American Indian and Alaska Natives: 0.2%
  • Communities of two or more races: 5.3%

The median age in Decatur is 42.3, which is about the same for the rest of the Decatur Metro Area. Additional demographics for Decatur look like this:

  • Population density: 1,587.9 people per square mile
  • Population gender: 53% female population and a 47% male population
  • Median household income: of $40,368
  • Rate of high school graduation or higher education: 89.9%
  • Attainability rate for Bachelor’s degree or higher: of 16.4%
  • Foreign-born population: of 3.2%
  • Veteran population of 7.7%

Is Decatur safe? According to the FBI, the overall Decatur IL crime rate is as low as 1,902 total occurrences per 100,000 people. Out of 100,000 people, violent crimes occur in every 697 people and property crimes occur in every 1,206 properties. The total crime is 4.2% lower in Decatur than the rest of Illinois and 18.9% lower than the rest of the country. As such, Decatur IL is a safe place to live.

Additionally, the Decatur Police Department employs 100 sworn officers.

Cost of Living in Decatur

Wondering about the cost of living in Decatur? According to the Cost of Living Index, the cost of living in Decatur is 11% lower than the state of Illinois and 16% lower than the national average. As such, Decatur is an appropriately affordable city to live in Illinois.

Typical Decatur Living Expenses

To get a closer look at what your living in expenses in Decatur would be, you can use the Economic Policy Family Budget Calculator. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average cost of housing in Decatur for a family of four is $6,835 per month.

Here’s the breakdown of the common expenses in Decatur according to the Economic Policy Institute’s calculator:

  • Housing: $772
  • Food: $692
  • Child care: $1,297
  • Transportation: $1,188
  • Health care: $1,532
  • Other necessities: $530
  • Taxes: $823

When you add up your monthly expenses over the course of a year, you’ll find that a family of four would need a minimum household income of $82,017 to live comfortably in Decatur.

Here’s what your other monthly expenses may look like living in Decatur:

  • Average Decatur IL utilities per month: $291
  • Auto insurance: $191
  • Auto loan: $578
  • Health insurance: $185
  • Life insurance: $74
  • Cable & satellite: $95

According to Numbeo, everyday living expenses in Decatur look like this:

  • Meals at inexpensive restaurants: $20.00
  • 12 oz Coke or Pepsi: $2.54
  • Milk (1 gallon): $2.59
  • Loaf of bread (fresh, white): $1.49
  • Rice (1 pound): $0.75
  • Eggs (dozen): $4.05
  • Domestic beer (1 pint): $6.00
  • Bananas (1 pound): $0.75
  • Bottle of wine (mid-range): $15.00
  • Cigarettes (20 pack): $15.00

As for homes in Decatur, the median home price is $284,381 which is 33% lower than the national average and 22% lower than the state. While the market here is becoming competitive, the Decatur IL homes for sale are currently affordable.

If you plan to look at the apartments in Decatur, the city has an average rent of $593 for a one-bedroom apartment with a 3% year-over-year change, according to Zumper.

Decatur Neighborhoods | Where to Live in Decatur

It’s essential to learn about the neighborhoods in Decatur before moving there. Here’s a quick look at some of the best places to live in Decatur.

West End

West End is a neighborhood in Decatur’s Historic district. It’s popular among both working-class and upper-middle-class families for its diverse and unique architectural styles and affordability. West End is also home to Fairview Park, which provides access to biking trails, a playground, an aquatic center, skate park, and much more.

South Shores

The South Shores neighborhood is a peaceful area right in the center of Decatur. It’s close to Mt. Zion (another popular neighborhood) and is home to excellent schools, Lake Decatur, golf courses, the South Shore Shopping area, and more. It’s also a very family-oriented neighborhood with homes ranging from quaint two bedrooms to large estates right on the lake.


The Bayshore neighborhood is a suburban area primarily made up of medium-sized homes with three to four bedrooms. It’s also home to apartment complexes and high rises, with a large portion of its community made up of government workers. It’s also one of the more affordable neighborhoods in Decatur.

Decatur Weather & Climate

The weather in Decatur is characterized by the state’s continental climate, which consists of cold winters and warm summers. The average temperature in Decatur during the summer is 76ºF with highs of 86ºF and lows of 67ºF. During the winter, Decatur sees an average temperature of 45ºF with highs of 35ºF and lows of 21ºF — but can dip as low as 3ºF.

Decatur also sees 40 inches of rainfall annually, as well as 13 inches of snow. Most people here consider the spring and fall months to be the best time to visit Decatur, as the temperatures are more moderate and comfortable.

Things to Do in Decatur

If you’re looking for things to do in Decatur, your options are endless. There are plenty of natural attractions, museums, restaurants, entertainment venues, and more. There are also lots of shopping in Decatur, whether you prefer commercial plazas, malls, or boutiques — starting with the Hickory Point Mall and the Brettwood Village Shopping Center.

Chevrolet Hall of Fame



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The Chevrolet Hall of Fame is a car museum featuring an incredible display of Chevrolet’s greatest cars and memorabilia starting from the 1920s. It’s one of the top Decatur attractions and the perfect place to bring the car lover in your life.

Decatur Plaza Shopping Center, 3635 US-36 East, Decatur, IL 62521 (217) 791-5793

Overlook Adventure Park

This is a seasonal attraction that offers putt-putt golf ziplining, batting cages, high ropes, and more. You can book kid’s parties here, bring a date, or even come with friends. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Decatur!

2501 E Nelson Pk Rd, Decatur, IL 62521 (217) 422-2316

Scovill Zoo

The Scovill Zoo was once a small farm and is now home to 500 animals that come from 96 different species and six continents. It’s one of the most educational things to do in Decatur IL with kids.

71 S Country Club Rd, Decatur, IL 62521 (217) 421-7435

Additional Attractions in Decatur

You can also find more things to do in Decatur by checking out the city’s events calendar or the Parks and Recreation Department.

Decatur Restaurants

Wondering about the food in Decatur? From American to Japanese cuisine, there’s no shortage of options. Here’s a look at some of the most mouthwatering restaurants in Decatur.

The Gin Mill

The Gin Mill is one of the best restaurants in Downtown Decatur, featuring prime steaks, seafood, craft beers, and cocktails in an elegant space.

124 E Prairie Ave, Decatur, IL 62523 (217) 330-8073

Napoli’s Italian Restaurant

Napoli’s is a more recent restaurant to come to the Downtown Decatur area, but it’s already highly rated. Here you’ll find traditional Italian fare ranging from handmade brick oven pizza, baked pasta, and other irresistible specialties.

134 E Main St, Decatur, IL 62523 (217) 542-5928

Beach House


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For a romantic evening, the Beach House is the perfect dinner location for fresh seafood, steaks, flatbreads, and inventive menu items. It’s also on the water and has a patio that allows you to enjoy your food outdoors at sunset.

2301 E. Lake Shore Dr, 1001 S Lake Front Rd, Decatur, IL 62521 (217) 422-7202

Jobs in Decatur

Decatur’s economy is driven by its local manufacturing and agricultural industries. Over the last year, the city has seen a 1.7% increase in its job growth rate and is predicted to grow by another 22.5% over the next decade. The average salary in Decatur is $22,788 a year, with the highest paying jobs being chief executives, computer information systems managers, and architectural and engineering managers.

Some of the top Decatur jobs include:

Decatur Schools

The city schools of Decatur are all located within the Decatur School District No. 61. There are a total of 15 schools here, including two high schools, three magnet schools, and seven elementary schools. There are also eight private schools in Decatur.

Millikin University is the city’s most notable private university. However, there are a handful of colleges in Decatur, including Richland Community College. Lastly, the Decatur Public Library is considered the learning hub of the community.

Decatur Statistics & Information

  • County: Macon County
  • Decatur Area: 37.79 square miles
  • Decatur zip codes: 62501, 62521, 62522, 62523, 62524, 62525, 62526, 62535, and 62554
  • Decatur Area code: 217
  • Decatur Elevation: 594 feet
  • Decatur Time zone: Central Standard Time (CST)
  • Closest airport to Decatur: Decatur Airport (DEC), 6 miles from the city center

Decatur Illinois Map

Want to see what else is in the city of Decatur? Check out this map:

Decatur is an affordable city that has plenty to offer young professionals and families alike. If you’re planning on moving to Decatur, Illinois, allow the skilled team at Federal Companies help you make a smooth transition. Give us a call today at (800) 747-4100 to learn more about our moving services or visit our Decatur Movers page and get a free quote!


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