Is Moving to Illinois Right for You in 2021?

Is Moving to Illinois Right for You in 2021?

Big cities, attractive towns, historic monuments with glorious and rich past, vast farmlands, wetlands, rivers, lakes – Illinois is nothing but a unique destination to start a new leaf in your life. Situated in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of the United States, Illinois is one of the richest states in the US and is also a microcosm of the country. And ‘is moving to Illinois right for you in 2021’ is the point that we are gonna discuss here.

Illinois is better known for Chicago, the cultural heart of the US, but the state is more than that. It had always been a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics. Three Presidents – Abraham LincolnUlysses S. Grant, and Barack Obama – were from Illinois.

Let’s delve deep into the DNA of Illinois to know the state better. This will help you to decide whether you should pack the belongings to move to Illinois this year.

Interesting facts about Illinois

  • Illinois was the first state in the U.S. to ratify the Constitution’s 13th amendment which abolished slavery.
  • The first McDonald’s was built in Des Plaines, IL.
  • Illinois produces more nuclear energy than any other state in the country.
  • Nicknames for Illinois include the Prairie State and the Land of Lincoln.
  • Chicago, IL is home to the world’s largest public library.
  • Famous Illinois natives include Ronald Reagan, Michelle Obama, Joe Mantegna, Buddy Ebsen, and Bob Newhart.
  • While Illinois is known as the “Land of Lincoln,” Abraham Lincoln was not born in Illinois. Ronald Reagan is the only president to have been born in Illinois.

Illinois facts

  • Capital: Springfield
  • Area: 57,915 square miles
  • Population: 12, 671, 821
  • Density:  232/square miles
  • Major cities: Chicago, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet

What is the climate in Illinois?

Illinois experiences a humid continental climate pattern, which means it has four distinctive seasons. The four-season climate means that residents typically experience hot, humid summers and cold winters.

In summers, the average high touches the low 80s with occasional extreme temperatures during a heatwave.

Winters are cold, with ice storms and invasion of cold waves. During this time, the average reaches just above freezing temperatures and can often drop below 10°F. And the heavy cold wind will make the days more chilling. Snowfall ranges from an annual 14″ (355.6mm) in the south to 38″ (965.2mm) in the north. Snow covers the ground in the winter, while blizzards amass large quantities

Illinois registers an annual average of 32″ (812.8mm) of rainfall in the northern part, which gradually increases to 48″ (1219.2mm) in the southernmost tip of the state. 

Illinois receives an average of 2,500 hours of sunlight over the year.

How is the economy in Illinois?

Illinois has the 5th largest GDP in the US and it is one of the most diversified economies in the world. Fueled by the economy of Chicago, Illinois is a major economic center and home to some of the largest companies in the world. 
 
The state’s major outputs include machinery, food processing, electrical equipment, chemical products, publishing, fabricated metal products, and transportation equipment. The gross state product in Illinois last year was $857 billion, the fifth in the country.
 
About 36 Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Illinois and for six consecutive years, Chicagoland was ranked the nation’s top metropolitan area for corporate relocations. Chicago is also home to the largest futures exchange in the world, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
 

Some of the big companies having offices, manufacturing units, or headquarters in Illinois include: 

  • Abbott Laboratories

How are the job opportunities in Illinois?

Since Illinois is a hub of economic activities, there’s no shortage of jobs here. The unemployment rate in Illinois is comparatively lesser than in the neighboring states. It’s just 4.8%, which is continuously declining in the past decade. And moving to Illinois, what’s going to bring a smile to your face is that the government will soon raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, one of the highest in the US.

Some of the jobs in high demand are: 

  • Operations analyst
  • Software professional
  • Mobile development
  • Clinical research
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Web developer
  • Engineering
  • Food science
  • Project development

What is the cost of living in Illinois?

Despite being highly rich and better job opportunities complemented with a thick paycheque, the cost of living in Illinois is reasonable. It stands 21st among the US states with a cost of living index of 94.5. The cost here is below the national average in housing, groceries, and healthcare.

10 cheapest places to live in Illinois

Litchfield

  • Population: 7,015
  • Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 8)
  • Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (11th most affordable)
  • Income To Rent Ratio: 85.2x (32nd cheapest)

Clinton

  • Population: 7,126
  • Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
  • Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (12th most affordable)
  • Income To Rent Ratio: 87.0x (28th cheapest)

Pana

  • Population: 5,478
  • Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 5)
  • Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.6x (7th most affordable)
  • Income To Rent Ratio: 79.7x (56th cheapest)

Hoopeston

  • Population: 5,229
  • Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 3)
  • Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.6x (9th most affordable)
  • Income To Rent Ratio: 77.9x (68th cheapest)

Hillsboro

  • Population: 6,840
  • Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
  • Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.6x (8th most affordable)
  • Income To Rent Ratio: 77.6x (70th cheapest)

Du Quoin

  • Population: 5,818
  • Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
  • Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (23rd most affordable)
  • Income To Rent Ratio: 73.7x (93rd cheapest)

Mendota

  • Population: 7,035
  • Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
  • Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (53rd most affordable)
  • Income To Rent Ratio: 102.3x (12th cheapest)

Beardstown

  • Population: 5,902
  • Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 11)
  • Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.6x (10th most affordable)
  • Income To Rent Ratio: 68.0x (130th cheapest)

Mount Carmel

  • Population: 7,040
  • Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 7)
  • Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (16th most affordable)
  • Income To Rent Ratio: 72.1x (105th cheapest)

Can I afford a home in Illinois?

You don’t need to win a lottery to buy a home in Illinois. Even taking a home on rent is much cheaper here. The median home value here is under $185,000.

This is not just limited to small towns or cities but applies to Chicago as well. Moving to Illinois, you will be surprised to note that even in Chicago, the property prices are much lower than in New York City, Los Angeles, or Washington DC.

Some of the best cities to buy a home in Illinois in 2021 are:

Robbins

  • Population: 5,003
  • Median Home Price: $72,500
  • Population Change: -3.8%
  • Home Price Change: 5.4%

Staunton

  • Population: 5,036
  • Median Home Price: $98,900
  • Population Change: 1.5%
  • Home Price Change: -1.7%

Olympia Fields

  • Population: 5,055
  • Median Home Price: $226,700
  • Population Change: 1.7%
  • Home Price Change: -0.1%

Centreville

  • Population: 5,059
  • Median Home Price: $52,800
  • Population Change: -0.7%
  • Home Price Change: 10.2%

Lake Barrington

  • Population: 5,069
  • Median Home Price: $381,000
  • Population Change: 0.4%
  • Home Price Change: 4.3%

Fairfield

  • Population: 5,077
  • Median Home Price: $66,800
  • Population Change: 1.7%
  • Home Price Change: 7.6%

Milan

  • Population: 5,084
  • Median Home Price: $101,300
  • Population Change: 0.0%
  • Home Price Change: 4.4%

Marseilles

  • Population: 5,088
  • Median Home Price: $108,600
  • Population Change: 0.6%
  • Home Price Change: 2.5%

Monee

  • Population: 5,124
  • Median Home Price: $154,600
  • Population Change: 0.0%
  • Home Price Change: 0.1%

Berkley

  • Population: 5,171
  • Median Home Price: $178,800
  • Population Change: – 0.7%
  • Home Price Change: 3.9%

Which are the best neighborhoods in Illinois?

Moving to Illinois, your primary aim will be to find a good home, either to own or on rent. And it’s natural to have queries related to the best neighborhoods here. Do not worry, as there are plenty among them. 

With a fabulous food scene, a vibrant arts community, hundreds of parks, and notable landmarks, the neighborhoods in Illinois have something for everyone.

Here is the list of the best neighborhoods in Illinois

Long Grove

  • Population: 7,978
  • Median Home Value: $657,200
  • Median Rent: $2,688

Clarendon Hills

  • Population: 8,711
  • Median Home Value: $561,700
  • Median Rent: $985

Buffalo Grove

  • Population: 41,329
  • Median Home Value: $324,600
  • Median Rent: $1,599

Wilmette

  • Population: 27,419
  • Median Home Value: $680,700
  • Median Rent: $1,639

Hinsdale

  • Population: 17,654
  • Median Home Value: $878,700
  • Median Rent: $1,887

Kenilworth

  • Population: 2,512
  • Median Home Value: $1,113,000
  • Median Rent: $3,250

Western Springs

  • Population: 13,227
  • Median Home Value: $590,800
  • Median Rent: $1,941

Naperville

  • Population: 147,411
  • Median Home Value: $410,800
  • Median Rent: $1,462

Glencoe

  • Population: 8,919
  • Median Home Value: $918,600
  • Median Rent: $1,517

Bannockburn

  • Population: 1,325
  • Median Home Value: $974,300
  • Median Rent: $986

How are taxes in Illinois?

While discussing the pros and cons of living in Illinois, we need to talk about taxes here. Illinois perhaps has the highest property tax in the US, with a statewide average tax rate of about 2.31percent. This is nearly double the national average of 1.21percent. Moving to Illinois, you end up paying an average of approximately $4,157 annually. Only New Jersey has higher property taxes than Illinois in the country.

Illinois collects a tax rate of 6.25% and combined with local taxes, it can range from 6.25% to 11%. The state also has a flat individual income tax rate of 4.95%.

Illinois is not a tax-free state and the tax policies here are generally a mixed bag of positives and negatives. There are several tax-related pros and cons while living in Illinois but for retirees, the system is stunning. 

Senior citizens (residents above 65 years of age) enjoy tax exemptions. It exempts almost all retirement income from taxes. Tax-free retirement income includes Social Security benefits, military benefits, public and private pensions, and retirement savings accounts such as a 401(k) or IRA. There are also several other benefits for senior people here and it is no surprise that Illinois is their perfect home.

Can I get the best health care in Illinois?

As per a study by the United Health Foundation, Illinois stands 30th in health care based on trends in obesity, smoking, diabetes, and physical inactivity. Almost 89% of the residents in Illinois are medically insured and the average cost of personal health spending per capita here is $6,756, which is lesser than the national average. 
 
And if you are worried about the medical expenses, all Illinois residents between 19 and 64 years of age, who are US citizens and have monthly income less than $1,366 for an individual or $1,845 for a couple will receive medical coverage through Illinois Medicaid. This makes Illinois medical system one of the best in the country. 
 
Illinois has 227 primary care Health Professional Shortage Area designations, the fifth most in the country. There are also 21 Medicare-certified rural health clinics in Illinois, the fourth-most in the country.
 
Since the state is home to hundreds of retired persons, the health sector needs to be robust, and moving to Illinois; you will realize that the health sector is impressive here.

Some of the best hospitals in Illinois include:

  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago
  • Rush University Medical Center, Chicago
  • Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood
  • Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn
  • University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago
  • OSF Healthcare St. Francis Medical Center, Peoria
  • NorthShore University HealthSystem-Metro Chicago, Evanston
  • Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield
  • Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove
  • Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge
  • Advocate Sherman Hospital, Elgin

How about the education system in Illinois?

Moving to Illinois with your family, you don’t need to worry about quality education as the state has ample education centers including some of the best colleges in the US.

Some of the best schools in Illinois include:

  • Payton College Preparatory High School, Chicago
  • Northside College Preparatory High School, Chicago
  • Jones College Prep High School, Chicago
  • Adlai E. Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire
  • Libertyville High School, Libertyville
  • University of Illinois High School, Urbana
  • Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Aurora
  • Lake Forest Academy, Lake Forest
  • Hinsdale Central High School, Hinsdale
  • New Trier Township High School, Winnetka

Top 10 colleges in Illinois include:

Illinois also has seven accredited medical schools

  • Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, Chicago
  • The Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago
  • Rush Medical College of Rush University Medical Center, Chicago
  • Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield
  • Stritch School of Medicine Loyola University Chicago, Maywood
  • University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences, The Pritzker School of Medicine, Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, Chicago

Is the crime rate extremely high in Illinois?

The crime rate in Illinois is slightly higher than the national average and 16% of the crimes reported here are violent. 23% of the crimes are related to property and about 47% of the people are concerned about crimes here in 2021, which is 6% less than last year.

Facts about crime in Illinois

  • Robbery is the third most violent crime reported in Illinois
  • Aggravated assault accounted for 52% of the violent crime reported by the safest cities and 59% statewide.
  • 68% of the cities improved their crime rank year over year.
  • Sandwich had the lowest property crime rate at 1.2%

The safest cities in Illinois are:

  • Campton Hills
  • Gilberts
  • Manhattan
  • Justice
  • Sandwich
  • Huntley
  • Hinsdale
  • La Grange Park
  • Bartlett
  • Pingree Grove

10 cities in Illinois you need to avoid for high crime rate

Mount Vernon

  • Population: 14,802
  • Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,445 (Fourth most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,938 (Third most dangerous)

Centralia

  • Population: 12,288
  • Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,472 (Third most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,638 (Sixth most dangerous)

Danville

  • Population: 30,642
  • Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,749 (Second most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,470 (Ninth most dangerous)

Beardstown

  • Population: 5,425
  • Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 13)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 829 (15th most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,718 (Fifth most dangerous)

Alton

  • Population: 26,360
  • Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 7)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,016 (Ninth most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,176 (14th most dangerous)

Peorla

  • Population: 110,955
  • Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,043 (Seventh most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,749 (18th most dangerous)

Springfield

  • Population: 114,393
  • Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 4)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 777 (19th most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,440 (Tenth most dangerous)

Rockford

  • Population: 145,719
  • Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 1,174 (Sixth most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,326 (27th most dangerous)

Cahokia

  • Population: 13,864
  • Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 598 (27th most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 4,536 (Seventh most dangerous)

Carbondale

  • Population: 25,242
  • Rank Last Year: 28 (Up 18)
  • Violent Crimes Per 100k: 824 (16th most dangerous)
  • Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,692 (19th most dangerous)

Are there places that I should skip while moving to Illinois?

Illinois might have some of the best cornfields, wineries, and outdoor locations. But it also has its share of places where you should avoid relocating. Every town or community in Illinois has its pros and cons of living.

We have filtered out a few among them that you should skip living. 

 Riverdale

  • Population: 12,786
  • Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 8)
  • Median Home Value: $80,300 (34th worst)
  • Unemployment Rate: 21.3% (2nd worst)

Cahokia

  • Population: 14,271
  • Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
  • Median Home Value: $50,900 (1st worst)
  • Unemployment Rate: 13.3% (17th worst)

Kankakee

  • Population: 25,884
  • Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 4)
  • Median Home Value: $87,700 (52nd worst)
  • Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (43rd worst)

East St. Louis

  • Population: 26,647
  • Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
  • Median Home Value: $52,200 (2nd worst)
  • Unemployment Rate: 17.4% (3rd worst)

Hoopeston

  • Population: 5,229
  • Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
  • Median Home Value: $68,400 (11th worst)
  • Unemployment Rate: 13.5% (14th worst)

Beardstown

  • Population: 5,902
  • Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 11)
  • Median Home Value: $64,800 (6th worst)
  • Unemployment Rate: 8.9% (52nd worst)

Zion

  • Population: 24,047
  • Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 12)
  • Median Home Value: $117,600 (89th worst)
  • Unemployment Rate: 10.1% (39th worst)

Centralia

  • Population: 12,538
  • Rank Last Year: 34 (Up 24)
  • Median Home Value: $67,700 (10th worst)
  • Unemployment Rate: 16.4% (4th worst)

What are the pros and cons of moving to Illinois?

Illinois is one of the best destinations to start a new life. But we need to agree that like any other state in the US, there are pros and cons of living in Illinois. Let’s have a look at some of the pros and cons.

The Pros

  • Illinois is the 5th richest state in the US
  • There is no shortage of jobs here
  • The housing is affordable in Illinois
  • The cost of living is much lower than in other states

The Cons

  • The tax system is brutal in Illinois
  • The climate is extremely harsh, especially the winter
  • There is a high rate of crime in Illinois
  • The traffic is pathetic, especially in Chicago and the suburbs

What are the attractions in Illinois?

Moving to Illinois, it is a promise that you won’t be bored. There’s no shortage of activities to do and places to visit in the state. From historic monuments and cultural events to breathtaking Chicago architecture and fun activities, Illinois has something for everyone.

We have filtered out the top 10 attractions in Illinois for you

  • Willis Tower Skydeck, Chicago
  • Millennium Park & Cloud Gate, Chicago
  • Magnificent Mile, Chicago
  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield
  • Navy Pier, Chicago
  • Lincoln Park, Chicago
  • Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford
  • Starved Rock State Park, Chicago
  • Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Collinsville
  • Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
  • Dana-Thomas House, Springfield
  • Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, Galena

Why Illinois is the best place to settle after retirement?

Illinois is one of the most sought-after states in the US for retirees. It’s not just the scenic and breathtaking landscapes of Illinois that tempt them to call the state their home, but there are various other reasons. Of course, the infrastructure is impressive and there are several retreats and attractions to keep you engaged in old age. But it is the tax benefits that draw hundreds of retirees to Illinois every year.  

Illinois is not a tax-free state and the tax policies here are generally a mixed bag of positives and negatives. There are several tax-related pros and cons while living in Illinois but for retirees, the system is stunning.

It exempts almost all retirement income from taxes. Tax-free retirement income includes Social Security benefits, military benefits, public and private pensions, and retirement savings accounts such as a 401(k) or IRA. There are also several other benefits for senior people here and it is no surprise that Illinois is their perfect home.

There can be pros of cons of living in Illinois. But we can confidently state that no state like Illinois promises a combo of a good job, high lifestyle, extremely marvelous scenic surroundings, and perfect housing. And if you agree with this, you can start calling Illinois your home.