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Waukegan, Illinois is a perfect blend of big-city amenities and small-town charm. The most populous city in Lake County is an industrial suburb of Chicago lying 26 miles north of its city limits. Waukegan is now in a transition mode and it is rapidly becoming a hot residential spot.

Situated between the thriving metropolises of Chicago and Milwaukee, Waukegan is a prominent choice to start a business, to permanently relocate, or to stay for a couple of years to taste the rich culture and ethnic heritages. So is Waukegan on your list of cities shortlisted to move in?

Before you make the final call, you need to know why moving to Waukegan is so special. And here we’ve got the genuine reasons.

Nestled along the western shores of Lake Michigan, Waukegan tops the list of best cities to relocate with its low cost of living, growing jobs, unlimited entertainment options, year around festivals, and much more

Our ultimate Waukegan moving guide covers everything you need to know about the tenth most populous city in Illinois.


Quick facts to know before you move to Waukegan Illinois

  • Little Fort was rechristened as Waukegan in 1849
  • Waukegan is one of the earliest communities in Illinois
  • Waukegan is the Potawatomi word known as fort or trading post
  • The city is transforming from an industrial suburb of Chicago to a residential area
  • It is a sailor-loving city where thousands arrive every year to just sail
  • The city is known for its yacht clubs and golf courses
  • The city is highly diverse
  • Waukegan is more of a Wisconsin town than a Chicago Suburb
  • The city ranks high in education

Top 10 things to know before moving to Waukegan

  • The city has a low population.
  • The demographics are highly diverse.
  • The cost of living is low here.
  • There is a favorable business environment.
  • The city’s internet speed is high.
  • The air is clean here without pollution.
  • The winters are extremely cold.
  • Waukegan ranks low in healthcare.
  • The residents here have a negative attitude toward cigarettes.
  • The poverty rate is higher than the national average here.

What's the population of Waukegan, IL?

As of 2020, Waukegan has a population of 89,751. The density of the population is 3.762.8lsq miles. Waukegan is highly diverse when it comes to race. The city’s median age is 31.5 and the population and about 24.7% of the residents here are below the poverty line.

To know the population better, here are a few stats.

  • Waukegan’s total population is 89,751
  • The population is made up of 50.2% males and 49.8% females
  • The median age in Waukegan is 31.5
  • The city population is made up of 19.8% White, 17.0% Black or African American, 5.0% Asian, 0.2 Native American, and 2.1% from two or more races
  • About 55.4% of the population is of Hispanic ethnicity
  • The median household size in Waukegan is 3.0 persons
  • About 37.4% of the residents are married couples living together
  • On average, 26.7% of the residents are single and have children

How fast can you commute to Waukegan, IL?

As you plan to relocate to Waukegan, you may also be curious to know how much time it will take to drive from home to the office and to home from the office. Interestingly, the commute time in Waukegan is almost the same as the national average. On average, a resident here spends 26.2 minutes on the road which is shorter than the US average of 26.4 minutes. However, this can also be longer than in many US cities.

If you are keen to know how the city residents reach the office regularly in Waukegan, here are the latest stats.

  • About 74.5% drive their car alone
  • About 16.3% carpool with others
  • About 2.9% work from home
  • Approximately 3.6% take mass transit

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What is the weather like in Waukegan, IL?

The city has a humid continental climate with warm to hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The city receives moderate rainfall throughout the year, with occasional thunderstorms during the summer months.

Here are a few Waukegan weather facts

  • The city receives about 36 inches of rain, on average, per year. The US average is 38 inches of rain per year
  • Waukegan averages 41 inches of snow per year. The US average is 28 inches of snow per year
  • On average, Waukegan gets 33 inches of snow per year. U.S. average is 28 inches
  • On average, the city gets about 188 sunny days per year against the US average of 205 sunny days
  • The city receives some kind of precipitation, on average, 117 days per year in the form of rain, snow, sleet, or hail
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Top reasons to move to Waukegan, IL

Waukegan is one of the hot spots in Illinois when it comes to moving. And the city has got its own reasons. To help you, we have filtered out 7 positives of Waukegan.

  • More affordability
  • Low cost of living
  • Low crime rate
  • High standard of education
  • More open areas
  • Active water sports options
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Pros & Cons of Moving to Waukegan

Before you make up your mind to pack the bags to Waukegan, it is vital to analyze both the pros and cons of moving here.

To help you, we’ve got the best and worst of Waukegan. Cross-check both before you take the final call.

Pros of living in Waukegan, IL
  • Amazing water sports options
  • Diverse population
  • Occupation diversity
  • Low risk of natural disasters
  • The low number of windy days
  • Low substance abuse rate
Cons of living in Waukegan, IL
  • High poverty rate
  • High sales tax
  • High property tax
  • Low house ownership rate
  • High commuting time

Best neighborhoods near Waukegan

You would have decided to relocate to Waukegan. However, you would need a place to reside. And living in a decent neighborhood is important especially when you have a family.

And you are lucky that there are many fabulous neighborhoods around Waukegan to raise a family. We’ve filtered out the best neighborhoods near Waukegan.

Here are the 10 best neighborhoods in Waukegan and around to rent or buy a house.

Rank City Population Home Value
1 Grayslake 21,053 $285,436
2 Park City 7,867 $123,458
3 North Chicago 30,039 $127,547
4 Beach Park 14,183 $162,636
5 Great Lakes 13,251 $265,366
6 Gurnee 30,254 $266,976
7 Wardsworth 3,495 $299,857
8 Green Oaks 4,080 $571,378
9 Zion 24,239 $149,445
10 Lake Bluff 5,589 $374,113

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Cost of living in Waukegan, IL

Moving to Waukegan means you are closer to Chicago, many big Illinois cities. While you stay at Waukegan, you spend much less than you would have at Chicago but with the same amenities.

The cost of living is much lesser here as you could own or rent a home, buy groceries, commute on public transport, or avail healthcare facilities on a pocket-friendly budget.

Living Expense Waukegan Illinois National Average
Overall 84.6 93.7 100
Grocery 94.2 94 100
Health 96.3 96.9 100
Housing 58 80.2 100
Median Home Cost $181,800 $234,000 $291,700
Utilities 93.4 97.7 100
Transportation 86.9 106.2 100
Miscellaneous 141 107.8 100

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How is the job market in Waukegan, Illinois?

The attractive location makes Waukegan a hot job destination. It is the industrial suburb of Chicago and moving here almost promises a job with a decent salary.

Waukegan is home to several large manufacturers such as American Axle & Manufacturing Inc., USG Corporation and General Motors Corp., along with pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Inc., Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie Inc.

And we’ve got a few job-related facts in Waukegan, which may benefit you.

  • The job growth in Waukegan has been positive
  • The future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 30.5%
  • The unemployment rate here is 10.2%
  • Jobs have increased by 2.4% over the past year
  • The average salary in Waukegan is $45,983
  • The median household income of a Waukegan resident is $45,983 a year
  • The median home cost in Waukegan is $181,800

Here is a breakdown table to better understand the Waukegan job market.

Employment Information Waukegan, Illinois United States
The income per Cap $21,571 $31,177
Household Income $48,551 $57,652
Unemployment Rate 10.2 6.0%
Recent Job Growth -7.65% -6.18%
Future Job Growth 30.52% 33.51%

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Fastest growing jobs in Waukegan, IL

Waukegan’s economy is booming and it results in job growth. There are many opportunities to try in Waukegan and surrounding areas. When you have a list of jobs that are high in demand, it becomes easier to make moving decisions. You’d know whether you will find a decent one in just days after reaching here. And fortunately, we’ve got a list of 10 fastest-growing jobs in Waukegan and neighboring areas.

Here are the top 10 fastest-growing jobs in Waukegan and surrounding areas.

Rank Job Title % Growth Average salary
1 Nurse practitioner 147.8% $120,680
2 Wind turbine service technicians 141.6% $56,260
3 Motion picture projectionists 139.1% $29,350
4 Chefs 133.4% $30,010
5 Data scientists 129.3% $100,910
6 Information security analysts 123.2% $102,600
7 Statisticians 119.0% $95,570
8 Web developers 118.8% $77,030
9 Animal caretakers 117.4% $28,060
10 Cab drivers 115.5% $29,310
11 Medical and health service managers 114.1% $101,340

Top career options in Waukegan, IL

What are the jobs in Waukegan that pay you the best? You would be curious to know the highest paying jobs to ensure you are fit to get one. And realizing this, we’ve made a list of the highest-paying jobs.

Here are the highest-paying jobs in Waukegan

Rank Job Title Average Salary Entry Level Salary
1 Surgeons $255,580 $142,420
2 Obstetricians and gynecologists $211,500 $74,560
3 Chief executives $188,500 $71,670
4 Family and general practitioners $182,930 $54,560
5 Podiatrists $177,480 $68,620
6 Internists, general $172,640 $54,230
7 Psychiatrists $152,080 $42,980
8 Law teachers, postsecondary $149,420 $62,250
9 Anesthesiologists $148,460 $52,480
10 Pediatricians, general $141,320 $55,130

What's the average salary & income in Waukegan, IL?

The paycheck is a major factor in determining your lifestyle and it is normal to be curious to know the average pay scale here. While the salary slip would be based on many factors including your proficiency, industry type, and designation, there are some common factors you need to know.

The average income of a Waukegan resident is $20,333 a year. Anything above $34,000 is a good salary here as you’ll be earning more than 50% of the city's population.

Here are a few informative points related to the average salary and income in Waukegan.

  • Waukegan’s average annual pay for average jobs is $20,333 a year
  • Waukegan’s average hourly pay for average jobs is $16.35 an hour
  • Waukegan’s average weekly pay for average jobs is $653 per week
  • Waukegan’s average monthly pay for average jobs is $2,833 per month
  • Waukegan’s top earners (90th percentile) make $69,000 annually

Major industries in Waukegan

As you are on the last leg of packing the bags to Waukegan, it would be good to know the major businesses here. To help you, we’ve listed them out for you.

  • Agriculture
  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Hospitality
  • Finance
  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing

Best companies to work for if you’re moving to Waukegan, IL

Once you’re here, you would need to go on job hunting and when you have a list of the best employers in the city, it becomes easier to apply for a job. Check our list of best companies to work in Waukegan.

Here’s our best company list

  • Yaskawa America
  • Lake County
  • Woodland Foods
  • Arlington
  • Peer Bearing
  • Visual Pak
  • LCP
  • Aldon
  • JST Corporation
  • Deublin Company

How is the housing market in Waukegan, Illinois?

Perhaps the affordable realty prices draw more people to Waukegan. Despite being more like a Chicago suburb, it is easier to either buy or rent a home here. A normal house costs about 78% cheaper than Chicago. Now you can realize how the other expenses here will be. A house in Waukegan costs about $181,800 and about 55% of the population own a house here, which offers a ray of hope for everyone packing their bags for here.

We’ve got the latest city housing facts for you.

  • Waukegan’s median home cost is $181,800
  • The median age of Waukegan’s real estate is 53 years old
  • The city’s home appreciation in the last 10 years has been 50.1%
  • Renters make up 44.1% of the Waukegan population
  • About 2.9% of houses and apartments in Waukegan are available to rent

Average rental prices in Waukegan, Illinois

At Waukegan, it is not just home prices but even home rentals are cheaper. This means, renting a normal home won’t need you to rob a bank. We’ve researched the average home rental in the city and the details may help you.

  • Waukegan’s average rent for a studio apartment is $1,040
  • Waukegan’s average rent for a 1-bedroom home or apartment is $1,140
  • Waukegan’s average rent for a 2-bedroom home or apartment is $1,300
  • Waukegan’s average rent for a 3-bedroom home or apartment is $1,650
  • Waukegan’s average rent for a 4-bedroom home or apartment is $1,960

What are taxes like in Waukegan, IL?

Your take-home salary is greatly based on the tax you pay. When you are required to pay heavy taxes, you need to earn more to have a good living. And knowing the tax structure in Waukegan, IL is a good idea.

Here are a few tax-related facts in Waukegan

  • The sales tax rate for Waukegan is 8.3%. The US average is 7.3%
  • The income tax rate for Waukegan is 5.0%. The US average is 4.6%
  • The average property tax rate in Waukegan is 2.08%

What are the best things to do in Waukegan, IL?

A lakefront city, Waukegan is not just a hub of jobs but is also home to many amazing things that may keep you engaged.

Once you move here, be ready to explore the unlimited fun that would keep your holidays and weekends occupied. We’ve got a list of the 10 best things to do in Waukegan, IL

  • Admire Waukegan Harbor Light
  • Watch a show at Jack Benny Center for the Arts
  • Wander out on Waukegan Municipal Beach
  • Catch a concert at Genesee Theatre
  • Check out Waukegan’s Art Scene at ArtWauk
  • Spend a day at Bowen Park
  • Go fishing with Windycitysalmon Fishing Charters
  • Take your family to People’s Choice Family Fun Center
  • Take history classes at the Waukegan History Museum
  • Enjoy nature at Lyons Woods Forest Preserve

How safe is Waukegan, IL?

Despite many positives that prompt you to settle in Waukegan, there is a factor that pulls you back – crime. Waukegan records a high crime rate in comparison to many Illinois cities. However, there is a 10% drop in crimes in the last few years, especially in burglary, auto theft, and aggravated assault. About 40% of the population feels safer in Waukegan while 11% lament over the high crime rate.

To help you know the crime stats in Waukegan, we’ve got a few facts.

  • The violent crime rate in Waukegan is 27.8 while the US average is 22.7
  • The city’s property crime is 39.2 while the US average is 35.4
  • Your chance of being a violent crime victim here is 1 in 318
  • Your chance of being a property crime victim is 1 in 64 in Waukegan
  • About 40% of the city population feels safe in the city

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What are the top schools in Waukegan, IL?

A big positive side of moving to Waukegan is the high stand of education. When you move here with a family, you would easily find a school as there are many high-ranking schools and colleges.

To help you, we’ve prepared a list of top educational institutions with their rankings.

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