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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.


Illinois Demographics

A quick look at the population and other demographics of Illinois.

Male vs Female Population of Illinois 2021

Male vs Female Population by Age Groups in Illinois 2021

Population distribution by Ethnicity in Illinois 2021

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  • Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th amendment and abolish slavery
  • Illinois generates more nuclear power than any other state and there are 11 nuclear power reactors in the state.
  • Illinois is home to the world's only river that flows backward
  • Nearly 80% of Illinois’ land area is farmland
  • Nicknames for Illinois include the Prairie State and the Land of Lincoln
  • The world’s largest library is in Chicago, IL
  • The state bird of Illinois is the Cardinal and its state flower is the purple violet
  • The Willis Tower in Chicago is the third tallest building in North America at 1,451 feet
  • Chicago is the largest city in Illinois and the third-largest in the US
  • Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport is the 6th busiest airport in the world
  • Illinois is one of the largest agricultural-producing states and is the largest cultivator of pumpkins in the country

What’s the population 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.

How is the weather like in Illinois?

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.

How fast can you commute in Illinois?

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.

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Top 10 reasons to move to Illinois

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.

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.

  • Study at the biggest public library in the world

    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.

  • It's a windy state and you'll enjoy bonfire parties

    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:

    • Bimini Twit Charters
    • North Park Village Nature Center
    • Heller Nature Center
    • Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary
  • The soil is amazing for planting

    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.

  • Get the chance to see a river run backward

    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.

  • You'll enjoy the best Pumpkin pie in the world

    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 are so many fun activities in Chicago

    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:

    • Catch free concerts at Millennium Park
    • Make the most use of Chicago’s summer festival season
    • Spend the evenings in stunning city parks
    • Appreciate the masterpieces at the Art Institute of Chicago
    • Explore Garfield Park Conservatory
    • Watch the city from 360 Chicago Observation Deck
    • Catch a show at the Chicago Theatre
    • See the real Chicago on a street art tour
    • Take an architecture cruise on the Chicago River
    • Explore the Lakefront on a boat tour
  • You'll enjoy watching baseball, NBA, and hockey etc

    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.

  • Top-rated schools from elementary to colleges

    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.

  • Eat as many deep-dish pizzas as you can

    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.

How is the climate in Illinois?

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.

How is transportation in Illinois?

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.

How is healthcare in Illinois?

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
  • Naperville
  • Chicago
  • Springfield
  • Elgin
  • Peoria
  • Rockford
  • Streeterville
  • Gold Coast
We’ve compiled a list of the best hospitals in Illinois
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago
  • Rush University Medical center, Chicago
  • University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago
  • Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn
  • Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood
  • Northshore University Healthsystem – Metro Chicago, Evanston
  • Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge
  • Edward Hospital, Naperville
  • Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Groove
  • Carl Foundation Hospital, Urbana

What should you know about farming 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.


Pros & Cons of Living in Illinois

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.

Pros of living in Illinois
  • Trade and Commerce Center
  • Fun Traditions
  • Good transportation system
  • World-famous sport culture
  • Rich in History and Architecture
  • Diverse Food
  • Beautiful parks and outdoors
  • Reliable air transport system
Cons of living in Illinois
  • Very cold winter
  • Heavy traffic and lots of bad drivers
  • High cost of livingt
  • High crime rates
  • You'll have to put up with toll roads

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.

Best Places to Live 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.

Place Population Median Home Value Unemployment Rate
Deerfield 18,930 $510,600 2.9%
Western Springs 13,227 $540,800 2.4%
Hinsdale 17,654 $878,700 3.2%
Lake Bluff 5,612 $626,300 2.8%
Winnetkaw 12,481 $1,076,000 2.4%
Buffalo Grove 41,329 $324,600 4.2%
Elburn 5,823 $266,500 2.5%
Wilmette 27,419 $680,700 4.4%
Clarendon Hills 8,711 $561,700 1.9%
La Grange Park 13,491 $344,700 4.1%

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Cost of Living in Illinois

The cost of living in Illinois is fairly competitive compared to other states across the country.

Otherwise known for its low cost of living which is now rising gradually as many more people flock to the state.

According to Best Places, the cost of living in Illinois is 93.4.

Illinois Rental Market Info

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.

  • The average rent price in Illinois is $1,509. The U.S. average is $1,470
  • The average cost of a studio apartment is $793. The U.S. average is $821
  • The average cost of a 1-bedroom home/apartment is $901. The U.S. average is $930
  • The average cost of a 2-bedroom home/apartment is $1,074. The U.S. average is $1,148
  • The average cost of a 3-bedroom home/apartment is $1,381. The US average is $1,537
  • The average cost of a 4-bedroom home/apartment is $1,629. The US average is $1,791

Illinois' Housing Market

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:

  • The state of Illinois median list price per square foot is $148
  • The median price of properties currently listed in Illinois is $229,900
  • The median price of homes that sold in Illinois is $210,300
  • The state of Illinois median home value is $204,839
  • The values of homes in Illinois has increased by 1.2% over the past year
  • Home values in Illinois are predicted to decrease by -2.4% within the next year
  • The median price of renting a home in Illinois is $1,570

Median House Price in Illinois vs USA 2021

Median Rent Price in Illinois vs USA 2021

Cost of Living by Categories in Illinois vs USA 2021

How Is The Job Market In Illinois?

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.

Top Industries

These are the leading industries in Illinois according to Niche and Data USA. These industries are listed in no particular order.

  • Restaurants & Food Services
  • Elementary & secondary schools
  • Construction
  • Business Services
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Education
  • Agriculture
  • Energy
  • Biotechnology
  • Sports

Top Career Options In Illinois

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:

  • Computer & peripheral equipment manufacturing
  • Petroleum refining
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Surgeons, Except Ophthalmologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Family Medicine Physicians
  • General Internal Medicine Physicians
  • Nurse Anesthetists
  • Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

Unemployment Rate In Illinois

How many Illinois residents has a job? This should give you an idea of what to expect when you move to the state:

  • The unemployment rate in the state of Illinois is 4.4%. The U.S. average is 3.9%
  • The state has witnessed a job market rise by 0.6% since last year
  • Over the next 10 years, job growth in the state is expected to hit 26.5%. The U.S. average is expected to hit 33.5% during the same period

Median Salary Info

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.

  • The average male salary in Illinois is: $74,413
  • The average female salary in Illinois is: $55,889

Number of Households by Income Level in Illinois

Median Income in Illinois vs USA

Unemployment Rate in Illinois vs USA

Illinois Tax Info

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.

  • Illinois Income tax is 4.95% flat rate (same for everyone regardless of your earning)
  • Sales tax in Illinois is 6.25% - 11%
  • Illinois Property tax is 2.31% average effective rate (second highest in the U.S.)
  • Illinois gas tax is 53.87 cents per gallon (regular gasoline), and 61.92 cents per gallon (diesel)
  • Illinois estate tax for estates worth over $4 million is up to 16% (eligible for estate tax return
  • Illinois telecommunication tax is typically up t 7% of the price of service

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.

What Is Illinois Most Known For?

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:

  • Corn

    Illinois is the second-largest corn producer in the US and it constitutes 54% of the total farm produce in the state.

  • Pumpkin

    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

    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.

  • Trains

    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".

  • Colleges

    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.

  • Famous celebrities and presidents

    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:

    • Walt Disney
    • Harrison Ford
    • Robin Williams
    • Bill Murray
    • Juice WRLD
    • Jim Belushi
    • Adam Baldwin
    • Jami Gertz
    • Gillian Anderson
    • William Peterson
  • Sports

    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.

  • Farmlands

    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.

  • Route 66

    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.

  • First to ratify the 13th Amendment ending slave trade

    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.

  • Nuclear power

    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.

  • Personalized license plates

    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.

  • Largest catsup bottle

    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.

Best Schools & Universities in Illinois

Whether you're still schooling or have school age kids or not, if you're moving to Illinois, you'd most likely be interested in the best schools in the state. Here we've made a list of the best elementary, middle, high, and colleges in Illinois. Check out the list below:

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