Looking for a peaceful town in the Midwest? Consider moving to Rantoul, Illinois. Rantoul is a quiet village in Champaign County that offers affordable living, diversity, and good schools. Rantoul is famous for being the former site of the Chanute Air Force Base, and there is still an area dedicated to its proud history. The village was founded on March 4th, 1954, and was named after Robert Rantoul Jr, a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Director of the Illinois Central Railroad. Today, Rantoul is a great place for families and retirees who appreciate friendly neighbors and small-town living.
Where is Rantoul?
Rantoul is in Champaign County, about 20 minutes outside of Champaign, Illinois. Nearby towns and communities include Dillsburg, Prospect, Thomasboro, and Flatville. It’s a fairly flat, landlocked town in eastern Illinois with a total area of 8.59 miles.
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Rantoul Population and Demographics
The Rantoul IL population is 12,371 according to the 2020 census, which is a 4.4% decrease since 2010. The population density is 1,457 residents per square mile. But while the population has been slowly shrinking over the past few decades, the median income has gradually increased.
Several famous residents have called Rantoul home, including race car driver Don Branson, NFL Player Sean Bubin, and ABC News anchor Michelle Franzen.
Other Rantoul IL Demographics
- The population of Rantoul is 53% female and 47% male
- It’s a young village, and the median age is only 35
- The racial makeup is 53% white, 19% black, 13% Hispanic, 2% Asian, and 14% mixed race.
- The median household income is $44,130, which is about 40% lower than the rest of the state
- About 88.7% of residents have a high school diploma, yet only 16% have a bachelor’s degree or higher
- The foreign-born population is about 5.7%
- Only about 37% of the population is married
Rantoul has a low crime rate, with about 2165 crimes reported per 100,000 people. That’s about 8% lower than the rest of the United States. The violent crime rate is 392 incidents per 100,000 people, which is 1% higher than the country overall. But the property crime rate is 1773 per 100,000 people, which is 9% lower than the national average. So, in general, Rantoul is just as safe as any other average town in the US.
The village is patrolled by the Rantoul Police Department, which employs a total of 17 officers supervised by two patrol sergeants.
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Cost of Living in Rantoul
One of the main attractions of living in Rantoul is its affordable home prices. The cost of living index for the Champaign-Urbana area is 91.7. The COLI is a metric used to compare the cost of living in an area to the national average which is based on 100. So, according to this metric, the Rantoul cost of living is 8.3% more affordable than the rest of the United States.
According to the Family Budget Calculator created by the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four, including two adults and two children, would need a combined income of $85,089 to afford to live comfortably in Champaign County.
Typical Rantoul Living Expenses include:
- Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $18.00
- Cappuccino: $3.93
- Bottle of coke: $1.62
- 1 gallon of milk: $3.71
- Loaf of bread: $2.73
- 12 eggs: $4.17
- 1 pound of chicken: $3.38
- 1 pound of beef: $6.38
- 1 pound of apples: $1.61
- 1 pound of white rice: $1.21
- Average Rantoul Utilities Per Month: $309
*data taken from Champaign but will be similar in Rantoul
The Rantoul, IL real estate market is also very affordable. The median sales price of Rantoul homes for sale is only $80,000, which is 125% lower than the United States overall. Home prices in Rantoul have decreased slightly by 3% since last year.
The rent in Rantoul is also quite affordable. According to RentCafe, a 2-bedroom rents for anywhere from $640 to $1475, and a three-bedroom for $640 to $1848. However, there are very few large apartment buildings; 70% are buildings with less than 50 units, and 26% are single-family rentals.
Rantoul Neighborhoods | Where to Live in Rantoul
Rantoul is a small village and does not have distinct neighborhoods. However, the most desirable areas tend to be in the center of town, whereas the most affordable housing is found in the south. The safest areas in Rantoul also tend to be in the center and the south, while the most dangerous are in the northeast corner of the village. Residents will find a mix of ranch-style single-family homes and preserved rowhouses that offer something for everyone.
Rantoul Weather & Climate
According to the Koppen climate classification, Rantoul has a hot summer continental climate, which indicates long, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. The average temperature in Rantoul ranges from about 19°F and 86°F. Although the Rantoul winter low can get down to 1°F and in the summer, it can get as hot as 94°F.
Rantoul also gets a fair amount of precipitation and averages about 18 inches of snow and 40 inches of rain annually. So if you’re thinking of moving to Rantoul, make sure to pack an umbrella and snow boots. The best time to visit Rantoul for warm-weather activities is generally from mid-June to late September.
Things to Do in Rantoul
Although it’s a small village not known for its nightlife and entertainment, there are still plenty of fun things to do in Rantoul, IL. Residents can shop at Schitts and Giggles boutique or the Maple Grove Plaza Shopping Center. It’s also just a quick drive to the Market Place Shopping Center in Champaign for more regional brand names. Here are a few other top Rantoul attractions.
Rantoul Historical Society
Located on the site of the former Chanute Air Force Base, the Rantoul Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the village’s history and features exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the town’s development.
1040 Klein Ave, Rantoul, IL 61866 (217) 714-1352
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Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch
Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch is a personal favorite among locals and houses an actual herd of Alaskan reindeer you can pet and feed. The farm also sells Christmas trees and has a corn maze in the fall, making it one of the best things to do in Rantoul with kids.
1356 County Rd 2900 N, Rantoul, IL 61866 (217) 893-3407
Heritage Lake Park
A favorite among local fishermen, Heritage Lake Park is a peaceful green space with a manmade lake that is perfect for casting a line. The park also features a playground, pavilion, picnic tables, and other amenities.
Additional Attractions in Rantoul
The Rantoul Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for maintaining the public parks in the village and hosts frequent events that are free to the public.
You’ll find various delicious restaurants in Rantoul, IL, ranging from casual diners to Mexican eateries. Here are a few of the best places to eat in Rantoul.
ET’s Downtown Rantoul
ET’s Downtown is a local favorite serving classic American cuisine, including BBQ, burgers, sandwiches, beer, and cocktails.
107 E Sangamon Ave, Rantoul, IL 61866 (217) 893-0222
Ott’s Drive-in is a classic 50’s style drive-in along Century Blvd serving mouthwatering biscuits and gravy, hot dogs, burgers, and other comfort food.
400 N Century Blvd, Rantoul, IL 61866 (217) 893-1100
Casa Fiesta is one of the best Rantoul, IL restaurants if you’re in the mood for Mexican, serving classic dishes like nachos, fajitas, chimichangas, and more.
215 E Sangamon Ave, Rantoul, IL 61866 (217) 215-6142
Jobs in Rantoul
Rantoul has a diverse and stable economy supported by the manufacturing, hospitality, agriculture, research, and technology industries. The economy of Rantoul employs about 5,500 people, and most jobs in Rantoul are in production, transportation, sales, and office/administrative support occupations.
The top employers in Rantoul include:
- Rantoul Foods
- BRG Sports
According to Payscale, the average hourly rate for an employee in Rantoul is $16.95. Hourly wages for common Rantoul, IL jobs include:
- Press Brake Operator – $18
- Administrative Assistant – $20
- Cashier – $11
- Certified Nurse’s Assistant – $12
- Maintenance Supervisor – $25
Residents will find various Rantoul jobs available, ranging from government positions to administrative support. Plus, Champaign and Urbana are a short commute for additional employment opportunities.
The village is part of the Rantoul City School District 137, which features five PK-8 schools; East Lawn, Pleasant Acres, Broadview, Northview, and Eater. Rantoul Township High School is the only high school in the village. Rantoul High School features an 84% graduation rate and ranks within the top 10-12 high schools in the Champaign-Urbana metro area.
The University of Illinois maintains a 47-acre lab site in Rantoul, the Advanced Transportation and Research Engineering Laboratory (ARTEL), where they research, test, and study transportation systems.
There are also several private schools in Rantoul, including the St. Malachy School, a Catholic grade school, and Lincoln’s Challenge Academy, a military school.
Residents can also head to the Rantoul Public Library to take out books or attend community events.
Rantoul Statistics and Information
- Rantoul County: Champaign County
- Rantoul Area: 8.59 sq mi
- Rantoul Zip Code: 61866
- Rantoul Area Code: 217, 447
- Rantoul Elevation: 745 ft
- Rantoul Time Zone: Central Standard Time (CST)
- Closest Airport to Rantoul: is the University of Illinois Willard Airport (CMI), which is about 28 miles away or about a 30-minute drive
Rantoul IL Map
Explore more things to do, restaurants, and amenities with this map of Rantoul, IL.
Ready to relocate to this peaceful Midwestern village? Hire Federal Companies Rantoul Movers to make your journey organized and efficient. Call us today at 800-747-4100 or fill out the form on our website to request a free quote.