What we have observed in 2021 is the huge influx of people from different parts of the country to Chicago. But is moving to Chicago IL right for you in 2021? Chicago is a prominent economic center of the country. There’s no dispute on it. It’s also a hub of entrainment, arts, culture, and dining. But is that all that you need?
As moving experts, we have delved deep into the DNA of Chicago or the ‘Windy City’ to understand what makes it so special. Our research comprehends that there are several pros and cons to living in Chicago. Let’s jot them down here and have a discussion around it.
Sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is the third-largest city in the US. It is also one of the busiest cities in the country and takes pride in its amazing infrastructure and marvelous architecture.
Quick snapshots on Chicago
- Chicago is the 3rd most populated city in the US with a population of 2,720,546.
- It is the country’s 11th most expensive city, competing with places like Seattle, Boston, and San Diego.
- Chicago’s economy is extremely diversified and the leading business includes manufacturing, food processing, as well as the recently booming technology and e-commerce scenes.
Finding a job is easy in Chicago
Living in the third-largest city of the country will give you more opportunities to work with big brands. One of the business centers of the country, Chicago is the ninth richest city in the world and is also home to several Fortune 500 companies.
Some of the biggest names with headquarters of offices in Chicago include:
- Collins Engineers
- Bulley & Andrews
- Holabird &Root
- Avlon Industries
- Alliant Credit Union
- Eagle Insurance
The Chicago economy is extremely diverse
Chicago is one of the most diverse economies in the world. The Loop, Chicago’s central business district, is home to some big players in the industrial sector. Boeing, the famous aircraft manufacturing company is headquartered in Chicago. A major economic center of the country, Chicago’s labor force is almost 4.6 million.
Chicago’s jobs promise heavy paychecks
Chicago is highly expensive. But the pleasant fact is that employers are usually willing to pay more. This is why many suburbanites commute to the city. Moving to Chicago IL and working here gets you a fat paycheck and an economical home. Some big giants like Google, Amazon, and McDonald’s have moved many of their corporate offices downtown and offer higher salaries with remote positions. This saves employees from commuting long-distance job.
Renting and home buying when you’re moving to Chicago IL is easier than you think
One of the first things to do in Chicago after moving there is to own a house. This is a good time to buy or rent a home in Chicago. Compared to the East Coast and the West Coast, the housing market in Chicago is probably the best bargain in North America. For first time buyers, Chicago offers the best combination of affordability, availability, and rising median incomes.
The median home value in Chicago is approximately $228,500 and the median price of homes is currently $319,500. And if you want to rent a home, the median price is $1,750 which is slightly over the national average, but much less than cities like Los Angeles ($3,650) and New York ($2,875).
Monthly Rental Prices in Chicago
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Centre: $1,200+
- 1 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $900+
- 3 bedroom apartment in City Centre: $2,500+
- 3 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: $1,300+
Chicago Home Purchase Prices
- Price per square meter (10.7 square feet) to buy in City Centre: $3,300+
- Price per square meter (10.7 square feet) to buy outside City: $1,850+
As of March 2020, the median sale price for a home in Chicago is $288,200, which is far less than other major cities.
Prices vary depending on the neighborhood you’re in. There’s a good amount of variance even between the neighborhoods directly surrounding downtown:
- Near West Side – $325,700
- Bridgeport – $294,300
- Pilsen – $276,600
- University Village – Little Italy $269,900
- Chinatown – $240,700
- Heart of Chicago – $222,200
- McKinley Park – $197,500
- Back of the Yards – $107,900
There are some really good neighborhoods in Chicago to live in 2021
If you are thinking about where to live in Chicago after moving there, do not worry about it. We have suggestions for you on neighborhoods. The city boasts of around 200 neighborhoods and we have filtered out a few among them where you will find peace, less crime, and are more affordable using data from HomeSnacks
- North Center
- South Shore
- Humboldt Park
- Oak Park
- West Loop
- River North
- Gold Coast
Do I need a car to commute to Chicago?
Reading about Chicago, you might have assumed it to highly expensive to drive a car. Shed those old images of Chicago. The city is highly connected with public transport and you won’t need to drive to reach the office or back home. About 28% of Chicago houses don’t have a car.
The Chicago Transit Authority or CTA reaches you to every corner of the city. The system consists of both buses and elevated trains and the tickets are also economical to meet the demands of the working class.
Is Chicago bike-friendly?
If you are a bike-person, Chicago is your town. It has a bike score of 70 and there are over 200 miles of conveniently placed biking paths within and beyond downtown. But do remember that bike theft is a common social problem here.
I have heard Chicago is multicultural. Is that true?
If you are planning to move to Chicago IL with your family, here’s great news. Chicago is a real multicultural city. It is a perfect place for your child to grow up. The ethnically diverse roots make the city highly tolerable and accommodating. And that’s the America that we want tomorrow.
How is the wining, dining, and other eating out options here?
Moving to Chicago IL, one of the best things to do is to explore its restaurants and empty the culinary there. Believe me; the city has about 7,500 restaurants each serving dishes for you to dig in. Chicago takes pride in its gastronomic diversity and excellence.
This is how restaurants and food prices compare with other major cities in the world.
- London restaurants are 11.02% more expensive and groceries are 24.60% cheaper than Chicago.
- New York restaurants are 22.94% more expensive and groceries are 25.47% more expensive than Chicago.
- Los Angeles restaurants are 0.57% more expensive and groceries are 4.80% cheaper than Chicago.
- Toronto restaurants are 18.79% cheaper and groceries are 20.72% cheaper than Chicago.
- Sydney restaurants are 8.98% cheaper and groceries are 0.02% cheaper than Chicago.
- Paris restaurants are 0.95% more expensive and groceries are 3.58% cheaper than Chicago.
- Dubai restaurants are 25.97% cheaper and groceries are 27.25% cheaper than Chicago.
Let’s not deny that Chicago is highly expensive
There are pros of cons of living in Chicago. Once you start living here, Chicago might burn your wallet. To maintain the start of living, you need to shell out high. It is true that your paycheck is heavy but carrying out a decent lifestyle too is a tricky task. Speaking about the fuel, groceries, dining, and wing options, along with other entertainment options, everything cuts a hole in your pocket. Believe me, my intention is not to scare you.
Tax rates are extremely high in Chicago
Chicago is among the major cities in the U.S that impose high sales tax rates. It adds 10.25% to the cost of every item sold and hence, almost every item is expensive here. However, the income is not taxed for workers and laborers. Instead, a flat tax rate is levied upon an individual as income tax and corporate tax rate.
Noise pollution is a serious concern here
Moving to Chicago IL, one of the big concerns is going to be noise pollution. Chicago’s sound pollution is notorious and it is at par or more extreme than New York City. Though cities tend to be noisy, the suburbs are usually quiet but that’s not the same in Chicago. Here, even the suburbs are noisy.
Parking is gonna be a serious problem
In Chicago, the parking situation is not bright. It’s a major drawback of the city. Compared to the main city, in the suburbs, residents park cars in their driveways or on their residential streets and most businesses have parking lots for their customers to use. But that’s not the case inside the city.
Parking is not a guarantee inside the city. It is rare for an apartment to have a designated parking space, but some apartments do. It is also rare for businesses to have their parking which means that you will have to pay to park somewhere on the street, maybe away from the office.
You need to cough up high auto insurance premiums in Chicago
Owning a car is a serious pain here. It’s not just the lack of parking space that kills you but even the insurance premium that you need to cough up is extremely high. Statistics prove that drivers in Chicago end up paying about $1,000 more as auto insurance premium than those living in other cities.
Is the crime scene in Chicago as scary as it is portrayed?
Like every big city, living in Chicago also has its pros and cons. Considering the size of Chicago, its population, and standard of living, we can assume how much crimes are reported here every day. And what you heard is true; Chicago has a pretty bad crime rate, which is 10.12 per 1,000 residents. And it stands 7 in the crime index, where 100 is the safest.
Chicago is one of the best destinations to begin a new life. Living here, you are promised a better lifestyle, health and education options, and more job opportunities. While speaking about the things to do in Chicago, there are numerous museums, performing houses, and art galleries for you to spend time. Apart from that, the largest city in the Illinois State also takes pride in its culinary delicacies served at its 7,000+ restaurants.
Move to Chicago to explore a new life, completely different from your present one. Check the significant things before moving to Chicago IL.