Chicago 78 Exceptional
Chicago Livability #116 ranked city in Illinois#2,197 ranked city in the USARanks better than 92% of areas

Chicago, IL - The Windy City

Living in Chicago, IL, known as 'The Windy City,' combines a rich cultural heritage with modern amenities, making it an attractive place to call home. Located in northeastern Illinois on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is a large city known for its impressive skyline and vibrant neighborhoods. Major nearby cities like Milwaukee and Indianapolis enhance its status as a central hub in the Midwest. Chicago's blend of historic charm and contemporary innovation creates a unique urban experience.

Chicago's landmarks are world-renowned, with the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) offering breathtaking views from its Skydeck, Millennium Park providing a serene escape with its famous Cloud Gate sculpture, and Navy Pier serving as a hub of entertainment and recreation. The city offers a variety of attractions, from the Art Institute of Chicago, which houses an extensive collection of artworks, to the Field Museum, known for its impressive dinosaur exhibits. Chicago's diverse dining scene is another highlight, featuring everything from iconic deep-dish pizza to gourmet restaurants that cater to all tastes.

Events such as the Chicago Air and Water Show and the Lollapalooza music festival are key highlights of the city's vibrant event calendar. These events draw large crowds and provide residents with exciting entertainment options throughout the year. Prestigious institutions like the University of Chicago and Northwestern University contribute to the city's intellectual atmosphere, attracting scholars and students from around the world and fostering a culture of learning and innovation.

The arts and culture scene in Chicago is robust and dynamic, with renowned theaters like the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra offering world-class performances. The city's numerous galleries, music venues, and cultural festivals provide endless opportunities for artistic and cultural engagement. Living in Chicago means being part of a vibrant cultural community that values creativity and expression.

Chicago’s community is known for its Midwestern friendliness and diversity, creating a welcoming environment for newcomers. The city is home to professional sports teams like the Bears (NFL), Bulls (NBA), Cubs (MLB), and White Sox (MLB), offering plenty of excitement for sports enthusiasts. Major industries in Chicago include finance, manufacturing, and healthcare, with significant employers such as Boeing and United Airlines driving the local economy. Public transit is well-developed, with extensive bus and train services provided by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Chicago experiences a continental climate with cold, snowy winters and warm, humid summers, offering a full range of seasonal activities.

Pros and Cons of Living in Chicago

  • Amenities

    An abundance of amenities, including restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores and fitness facilities, are conveniently situated within walking distance of the area.

  • Commute

    High commute scores indicates that public transit should be easily accessible in this area and the average commute time to work is less than average.

  • Housing

    This area has received high scores in the housing category. This could be due to a positive home affordability ratio, high appreciation rates or elevated home values.

  • Crime

    This area is reporting high crime rates per 100,000 people and could signify that it is a dangerous place to live. Crime rates include both violent and property crimes.

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What's it like Living in Chicago?

Chicago is a large city located in the state of Illinois. The city has a population of 2,699,347 inhabitants. With a population density of 11,853 people per square mile, Chicago is well above the nation's average density level. Chicago is mostly populated by White (48%) and Black or African American (29%) ethnic groups. Additionally, more than a quarter of the population of Chicago are of Hispanic or Latino origin, and 24% of the population also speak Spanish. Single men and women might be happy to hear that in Chicago, only 42% of the population is married. Long, unnecessary commutes can be both frustrating and inconvenient when heading to work. Nationwide, the average one-way commute time takes 26 minutes, but regrettably, residing in Chicago entails a longer-than-average one-way commute time, averaging 35 minutes.

Are you trying to ascertain if living in Chicago is the right fit for your lifestyle? To ensure a good experience before moving to any new city in Illinois, you will probably want to make sure that you check all of the most important boxes. Several key factors deserve attention. For one, safety is paramount, ensuring that your new area is low in crime is key. Proximity to workplaces or schools minimizes commute times and fosters convenience. Access to essential amenities like parks, grocery stores, food, fitness, shops and healthcare facilities enhances daily life. Efficient public transportation options provide mobility and connectivity. The sense of community creates a welcoming and supportive environment. Lastly, the overall atmosphere, encompassing the vibe, aesthetics, and lifestyle offerings, contributes to a fulfilling living experience. Considering these elements helps identify the ideal neighborhood for your needs and preferences. The best areas in Chicago and in surrounding cities are easier to find when you are able to make informed decisions. Using data from cost of living, health & safety, employment, housing, you will see a detailed breakdown of the most important information as well as comparisons to the Illinois and national averages.

Chicago has a livability score of 76/100 and is ranked #139 in Illinois and #2,934 in the USA. Based on this score, Chicago would be considered a very livable city! If we probe a little deeper into each category within the livability score, we see that Chicago has higher than average scores for the following: employment (B) and housing (B+). There are some categories that Chicago does not rank well for, including: crime (F), cost of living (D) and education (D). It might be worth taking a closer look to figure out why.

Chicago has many conveniently situated amenities and captivating attractions that adds to the continuous enjoyment of your everyday life. Having the assurance of abundant conveniences and a wide array of activities ensures your easy access to nearby grocery stores, restaurants, bars, fitness facilities, coffee shops and exciting entertainment options. This not only simplifies daily routines but also fosters a vibrant and dynamic lifestyle within the community. With a wealth of resources at your fingertips, you can savor the convenience and variety that Chicago has to offer, making it a desirable destination for those seeking both accessibility and enjoyment in their daily lives. A few of the enjoyable things to experience and sights to see are: Millennium Park, Art Institute of Chicago, and John Hancock Center / Observatory.

Real estate represents the most substantial investment for homebuyers, constituting their most valuable asset. Renters, on the other hand, typically see their monthly rent as their most significant expense. The Chicago market earns a high score in the housing category, surpassing the national average in factors like home and rental affordability and appreciation rates. This robust real estate market not only benefits individual homeowners and renters but also spurs vigorous local economic activity and job growth, solidifying its significance in driving the region's prosperity and financial well-being.

There are many factors that go into deciding if an area is the right fit for your lifestyle. Certain “must haves” like low crime, great schools and nearby amenities are all at the top of most people's lists. But before even considering if those options are attainable, we'll need to know if the real estate in Chicago is actually affordable. The median home price for Chicago homes is $267,600, which is 53.1% higher than the Illinois average. If we take a closer look at the affordability of homes in Chicago, we’ll see that the home price to income ratio is 4.3, which is 43.3% higher than the Illinois average.

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      Chicago transportation information

      Statistic Chicago Illinois National
      Average one way commute35min29min26min
      Workers who drive to work48.1%73.4%76.4%
      Workers who carpool7.6%8.3%9.3%
      Workers who take public transit26.2%9.2%5.1%
      Workers who bicycle1.5%0.6%0.6%
      Workers who walk6.1%3.1%2.8%
      Working from home8.5%4.4%4.6%
      Source: The Chicago, IL data and statistics displayed above are derived from the United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).