If you love big cities, enjoy spending time outdoors, enthusiastic about sports, concerts, attractive towns, moving to Illinois could be a great idea.
Illinois is third largest city in the U.S., Chicago - famous for its breathtaking skyline, midwestern charm, commerce, and iconic architecture.
If you're wondering if moving to Illinois is right for you, we created this guide to help you review all the right information you need about the state before making up your mind about moving or not.
Make the Most of All the Information You Need to Know About Moving to Illinois
Here's a quick summary of what we're going to cover in this Illinois state guide:
A quick look at the population and other demographics of Illinois.
Illinois has a population of 12,812,508 and it is the 6th most populated state in the US. The density of the state is 232/sq mi. Illinois stands 12th in density. Chicago, the largest city in Illinois is also the third most populated city in the country.
Illinois has a continental climate with cold winter and warm summer and frequent fluctuations in temperature. The annual temperature ranges between 48°F and 58°F in summer while the winter temperature goes down to mid -the 40s. Illinois averages 10 days at or above 90°F in the north while it happens for 40 days in the south. It snows heavily in winter and the heaviest is in the Chicago area. Tornadoes and thunderstorms are also frequent in the state.
On average an Illinois resident spends 29 minutes to commute to the office, which is the 7th longest in the US. And if you are moving to Chicago, you may take 34.4 minutes to reach the office, which is 31% higher than the national average.
You deserve the best of everything good if you're moving to Illinois. Here are key reasons why moving to Illinois could be the right choice.
With more than 5 million volumes, Chicago Public Library is spread over 80 locations. The library has been open to the public since 1873 and plays a prominent role in spreading knowledge among the masses.
Illinois is famous for its breeze that blows off Lake Michigan and sweeps through the streets and this makes holding bonfire parties easier. Some of the best places to do bonfire in Illinois are:
Illinois’ soil is sandy with a mix of clay and this makes it perfect for planting. Most gardeners prefer this soil with big particles, mostly porous making plants intake only required water, draining out the rest.
The 156-mile Chicago River is famous for its backward flow, an engineering marvel. The officials reversed the flow of the Chicago River in 1887 to overcome extreme weather conditions and it continues even today.
Illinois is famous for its pumpkin pies and it has gone to the level that the state has declared pumpkin pie as Illinois’ official pie. The state is one of the largest cultivators of pumpkins in the US.
There’s an endless list of activities to indulge in Chicago. For art lovers, foodies, adventure seekers, and history enthusiasts – Chicago has in store something for everyone.
Here is a list of fun activities to engage in Chicago:
Chicago is the country’s sports hub and it greatly contributes to the sports culture of Illinois. Every sport, including baseball, basketball, hockey, football, and soccer have takers here. The state is home to many professional teams’ such as Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, and Chicago White Sox. Even professional wrestling and motorsports are popular in Illinois.
Tip: When you’ve got a home to move in Illinois, getting the best moving quote will be your goal. Request moving company quotes to save on moving cost.
Illinois is an education hub and is home to some of the top-ranked schools and colleges in the US. Check the list of top-rated schools and universities in Illinois.
In Chicago, pizzas are baked in a round pan similar to a pie pan, giving it the name deep-dish pizzas. They are crispy, flaky, and rich in butter, cheese, and toppings.
The weather in Illinois is extreme in both ways. The state typically experiences a continental climate with cold winters, warm summers, and frequent short fluctuations in temperature, humidity, cloudiness, and wind direction. The moderate temperatures of spring and fall are treated to be the most pleasant.
Illinois witnesses 50 days of thunderstorm activity a year, which is more than the US national average thunderstorm days. In addition, the state is also vulnerable to tornadoes with an average of 54 occurring annually.
The ‘Prairie State’ sits at the crossroads of many major interstate freeways and driving through Illinois is a breeze. If you’re in Chicago, the safest way to reach anywhere in the city is to ditch your car at home and catch a rapid transit train that connects even the remote parts of the city. Chicago is notorious for its chaotic traffic and parking charges are extremely pricey.
Cabs ply across Chicago but fares are not wallet-friendly and roads get choked in peak hours, leaving the rapid transit the only option. Yellow Cab (+1-312-829-4222) and Flash Cab (+1-773-561-4444) are two of the biggest cab companies in Chicago.
However, moving out of Chicago, driving a car is the best option.
Illinois has some of the most extensive railway lines in the country. Amtrak connects Chicago, Springfield, and a dozen smaller towns across Illinois. The California Zephyr line begins in Chicago, stopping in Naperville, Princeton, and Galesburg as it heads to California. The Texas Eagle line also starts in Chicago, stopping in Joliet, Pontiac, Lincoln, Normal, Alton, and Springfield on its way to San Antonio.
The Greyhound bus company has stops in nearly every town and city and the tickets are also cheap.
Illinois stands 28th in healthcare quality while it ranks 16th in public health. To help the residents, the state government joining hands with the Federal government has rolled out Medicaid that takes care of medical care assistance.
Medicaid pays for medical assistance for eligible children, parents and caretakers of children, pregnant women, persons who are disabled, blind or 65 years of age or older, those who were formerly in foster care services, and adults aged 19-64 who are not receiving Medicare coverage and who are not the parent or caretaker relative of a minor child.
As per health authorities in Illinois, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and pulmonary conditions are major health diseases among adults in Illinois while drug abuse, childhood obesity, stress, depression, and smoking are major health concerns among teenagers.
Here is a list of the 10 healthiest places to live in Illinois
We’ve compiled a list of the best hospitals in Illinois
Majorly an agrarian state, 27 million acres of land in Illinois is farmland, which is about 75 percent of the state's total land area. Corn, soybeans, and swine are largely farmed here along with cattle, wheat, oats, sorghum, hay, sheep, poultry, fruits, and vegetables.
Agriculture contributes greatly to the state economy and the state is home to about 2,640 food manufacturing companies. Illinois ranks first in the nation with $180 billion in processed food sales.
In addition to food processing and sales, agricultural commodities in Illinois also provide the base for animal feed, ink, paint, adhesives, clothing, soap, wax, cosmetics, medicines, furniture, paper, and lumber.
The primary reason for people flocking to Illinois is unlimited job opportunities complemented with better living standards.
And vast landscapes, a 365-day festival season, and freshwater beaches pep up this desire. But what most people forget is that there is more to Illinois than Chicago, which is not always brighter.
You need to weigh both the pluses and downsides of living in the ‘Prairie State’ before making the final call. We have compiled the honest pros and cons of living in Illinois.
Here's a simple summary of the pros and cons of living in Illinois.
|The pros||The cons|
|Trade and Commerce Center||Very cold winter|
|Fun Traditions||Heavy traffic and lots of bad drivers|
|Good transportation system||High cost of living|
|World-famous sport culture||High crime rates|
|Rich in History and Architecture||You'll have to put up with toll roads|
|Beautiful parks and outdoors|
|Reliable air transport system|
Tip: While moving the home, safety of your belongings is the priority and you need a trustworthy mover at your side. Know the top-rated moving companies in Illinois.
If you decide to move to Illinois, what city or neighborhood should you choose to live?
There are tons of neighborhoods for everyone moving to Illinois regardless of your lifestyle. To help you make the right choice, we've compiled data from Home Snacks and Area Vibes about the best places to live in Illinois.
Median Home Value: $510,600
Unemployment Rate: 2.9%
Deerfield is rated as one of the best places to live in Illinois because of its low crime rate, low unemployment rate, and livability score. The city's crime rate is about 70 percent less than the state of Illinois and U.S. average.
If you're considering moving to Illinois, Deerfield could be the right place for you to live in. Here's how Deerfield compare to the rest of Illinois:
Median Home Value: $590,800
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%
Western Springs is nestled just between Chicago and Naperville. The city's high median household income (rated 9th highest across the state), unemployment level and low crime rates makes it one of the best places to live in Illinois.
If you're interested in moving to Illinois, here's a summary of the key metrics of living in Western Springs:
Median Home Value: $878,700
Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
Hinsdale is well-known for top quality education. GreatSchools ranked all the elementary schools in the city as 9/10 while the local middle and high schools were rated 10/10. More than 40 percent of the city's population has a master's degree or higher.
Hinsdale's low-crime rate and livability score makes it one of the best places to live in Illinois. If you're considering moving to Illinois with school-age kids, Hinsdale could be the right place for you. Here's how the city compares to the rest of the state:
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Median Home Value: $626,300
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
Lake Bluff has one of the lowest poverty rates in Illinois and it's one of the most educated communities in the state. About 40 percent of adults in Lake Bluff have a master's degree or higher while about 80 percent of adults in the city have a college degree.
If you're interested in moving to Illinois, Lake Bluff could be the right city for you. Here are key metrics about the city that makes it outstanding:
Median Home Value: $1,076,000
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%
Winnetka is rated as one of the richest places in Illinois. The city has the highest median household income in the state and its real estate market is one of the most expensive statewide.
Moving to Winnetka means living in one of the best and safest cities in Illinois. Here are key metrics of how Winnetka compare to the rest of the state of Illinois:
Median Home Value: $324,600
Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
Buffalo Grove is a suburb of Chicago and has one of the lowest crime rates in the entire state. The city also has a low cost of living compared to other similar cities in the state.
Moving to Illinois could mean getting the chance to live in Buffalo Grove which is one of the best places to live in the state. Here's significant summary of how Buffalo Grove compare to other cities in Illinois:
Median Home Value: $266,500
Unemployment Rate: 2.5%
Elburn is currently rated as the safest city in Illinois because of its extremely low crime rates. Compared to other similar cities in Illinois, Elburn has a lower cost of living.
Moving to Elburn, IL could be the right choice for you if you'd like to live in a city with a high population of millennials. See how Elburn compare to the rest of the state below:
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Median Home Value: $680,700
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Wilmette is consistently rated as the city with the highest education expenditure per student in Illinois. Almost 50 percent of the city's adults have at least a master's degree. The city also has a low crime rate and one of the highest median household incomes in the state.
If you're interested in moving to Illinois, Wilmette could be the best place for you to live in.
Median Home Value: $561,700
Unemployment Rate: 1.9%
Clarendon Hills has one of the lowest employment rates in Illinois. The city is also well-known for its extremely low crime rates making it one of the best places to live in Illinois.
If you're moving to Illinois, living in Clarendon Hills could be the best place for you. Below is how Clarendon hills compare to other cities in the state.
Median Home Value: $344,700
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
La Grange Park is on this list partly because of its low crime rates which is more than 50 percent lower than the state's average. The cost of living in La Grange Park is relatively fair compared to similar cities on this list.
If you're moving to Illinois, living in La Grange Park could be the best place for you. Below are the key metrics of living in La Grange Park:
|Moving To Aurora Guide||Moving To Chicago Guide|
|Moving To Naperville Guide||Moving To Joliet Guide|
|Moving To Springfield Guide||Moving To Rockford Guide|
|Moving To Peoria Guide||Moving To Elgin Guide|
The cost of living index is typically based on a national average of 100. Any amount below that means Illinois is less expensive than the national average. An amount higher than 100 means the state has a higher cost of living than the national average.
According to Best Places, the cost of living in Illinois is 93.4.
According to Best Places, up to 30 percent of Illinois residents are renters and about 2.1 percent of homes and apartments in the state are available for rent.
Chances are you may decide to buy a house after moving to Illinois. We've compiled the most important housing data in the state to help you make the right decision.
Using housing data from Zillow, here's a summary of the state of Illinois housing market metric:
Your chances of getting a job if you move to Illinois is fairly high. The unemployment rate in the state is below 5 percent. Let's see how the job market in Illinois compares to the rest of the country.
These are the leading industries in Illinois according to Niche and Data USA. These industries are listed in no particular order.
Moving to Illinois means you'll most likely need a new career or continue with your current one. Using data from Zippia and Data USA, we've compiled a list of the top ten highest paying jobs in Illinois. Here they are:
How many Illinois residents has a job? This should give you an idea of what to expect when you move to the state:
How much money will you likely earn if you move to Illinois? Let's find out!
The median household income of residents in Illinois is $65,030 which is higher than the national average of $61,937, according to Data USA.
If you move to Illinois, are you going to be paying more taxes or less? SmartAsset did the math already. Let's see how much you're likely to pay for taxes in Illinois.
Regardless of how much money you're making, everyone pays a flat rate income tax in Illinois. This means everyone pays exactly the same rate. Also, Illinois sales and property taxes are rated among the highest across the U.S.
The state of Illinois is known for many things. We've compiled a simple list of most of the common things the state is well-known for. Here they are:
Illinois is the second-largest corn producer in the US and it constitutes 54% of the total farm produce in the state.
Illinois annually produces about 500 million pounds of pumpkin, and interestingly about 90% of pumpkins in the US are grown in Illinois. There are 10 counties in Illinois highly concentrated on pumpkin farming and pumpkin pie is declared the state’s official pie.
Chicago, the third-largest city in the US, is also America’s economic center. With a rich history, Chicago has highly contributed to the politics and science of the country and is also one of the most visited places on the earth.
Known as Chicago ‘L’, the rapid transit rail system connects the city with its suburbs, round-the-clock. The 102-mile network ferries about a million riders per day. The second-oldest rapid transit system in the US, it is also considered as one of the "seven wonders of Chicago".
Illinois has more than 300 colleges, community colleges, and trade schools and the state ranks high in higher education. The colleges in Illinois, such as the University of Chicago and Northwestern University excel both in academics and non-academics.
The state has also proven to be a successful turf for politicians who later became US presidents. Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama grew up in Illinois and served different positions in the state before resuming office at the White House.
Many celebrities call Illinois their home. Here’s a short list of celebrities from the state:
The robust sports culture of Illinois is visible in its passion for basketball, volleyball, football, and soccer. Home to some of the best professional teams in the country, such as the Chicago Bears, Chicago Cubs, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, and Chicago White Sox, Illinois is a great place to catch up on a sports event at a stadium.
About 75% of Illinois are farmlands and the state is a leading producer of soybeans, corn, and swine. Illinois has 72,000 farms, spreading over 27 million acres of land. The climate and varied soil types play a crucial role in growing many agricultural commodities, such as cattle, wheat, oats, sorghum, hay, sheep, poultry, fruits, and vegetables.
US Route 66 or Highway 666 is one of the first original highways in the US, established in 1926. Starting from Chicago, Illinois, it passes through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before terminating in Los Angeles County in California.
Illinois was the first state in the US to ratify the 13th Amendment ending the slave trade on February 1, 1865, two days after the country banned slavery. It is said that the state decided to act on it even before President Abraham Lincoln signed it.
Illinois leads the states using nuclear energy and about 53% of electricity in the state is generated from nuclear energy. The state has 6 nuclear power stations, more than any US state.
Illinois permits its residents to have personalized license plates for vehicles, both four-wheelers, and two-wheelers for a fee. The fee changes based on the size and design of the plate.
The Brooks Catsup Bottle is a water tower in the south of Collinsville, often trademarked as "the World's Largest Catsup Bottle". Constructed in 1949, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The following are the best public elementary, middle, and high schools in Illinois. The list also contains the best universities and colleges in the state.
The list was collated by Great Schools using a variety of measures which include equity and academic performance.
1. Ebinger Elementary School
City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-8 | 831 students
2. Hawthorne Elementary Scholastic Academy, City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-8 | 567 students
3. Keller Elementary Gifted Magnet School, City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, 1-8 | 242 students
4. Poe Elementary Classical School
City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-6 | 208 students
5. Lincoln Elementary School
City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-8 | 897 students
1. Nippersink Middle School
Nippersink School District 2, Public, 6-8 | 433 students
2. Central Middle School
Central Community Unit School District 301, Public, 8 | 340 students
3. Young Magnet High School
City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, 7-12 | 2157 students
4. Ebinger Elementary School
City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-8 | 831 students
5. Hawthorne Elementary Scholastic Academy
City Of Chicago School District 299, Public, K-8 | 567 students
River Ridge High School
River Ridge Community Unit School District 210, Public, 9-12 | 142 students
Buffalo Grove High School
Township Hsd 214 School District, Public, 9-12 | 2004 students
John Hersey High School
Township Hsd 214 School District, Public, 9-12 | 1864 students
Prospect High School
Township Hsd 214 School District, Public, 9-12 | 2150 students
Rolling Meadows High School
Township Hsd 214 School District, Public, 9-12 | 1899 students
University of Chicago
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
Loyola University Chicago
Illinois institute of technology
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