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A+ Chicago Amenities Lots of amenities close to this location
F Chicago Cost of Living Cost of living is 14% higher than Illinois
11313% more expensive than the US average
991% less expensive than the US average
United States
100National cost of living index
Chicago cost of living
F Chicago Crime Total crime is 78% higher than Illinois
Total crime
4,36358% higher than the US average
Chance of being a victim
1 in 2358% higher than the US average
Year-over-year crime
13%Year over year crime is up
Chicago crime
D- Chicago Employment Household income is 15% lower than Illinois
Median household income
$50,4349% lower than the US average
Income per capita
$30,8473% higher than the US average
Unemployment rate
7%56% higher than the US average
Chicago employment
C Chicago Housing Home value is 29% higher than Illinois
Median home value
$225,20022% higher than the US average
Median rent price
$9874% higher than the US average
Home ownership
44%31% lower than the US average
Chicago real estate or Chicago rentals
F Chicago Schools HS graduation rate is 5% lower than Illinois
High school grad. rates
80%3% lower than the US average
School test scores
23%52% lower than the US average
Student teacher ratio
21:134% higher than the US average
Chicago K-12 schools or Chicago colleges

Living in Chicago, IL

Chicago is a big city located in the state of Illinois. The city has a population of 2,714,017 residents. In Chicago, there are 11,938 people per square mile, which is well above the national population density average. Chicago is known to be an ethnically diverse city. The two most common races are White (49%) and Black or African American (31%). Additionally, more than a quarter of the population of Chicago are of Hispanic or Latino origin, and 25% of the population also speak Spanish.

Without the right tools, moving to any new city can be very stressful and challenging. Living in Chicago, Illinois could be a positive experience for anyone who puts in the time to do the research required. Finding the best places to live in Chicago and nearby areas is a much easier task when you can rely on information and data from the livability score, which includes amenities, weather, employment and other important metrics.

Chicago, IL receives 57 out of 100 for its livability score; this results in a ranking of #1,197 in Illinois and #26,268 in the USA. This is a poor rating when compared to the average of other places in the country. This city ranks so poorly that more than 90% of the cities in all of the USA have a higher score. If we explore each of the categories on their own, we see that Chicago ranks well for amenities (A+). There is at least one category that you should be aware of in Chicago. The following was graded with a discouraging score: crime (F), cost of living (F), weather (D), education (F) and employment (D-).

Based on the proximity of local amenities like grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, parks, librairies, etc., Chicago has received a higher than average score for its local amenities. If you’re planning on relocating and making this area your permanent home, it’s nice to know that there is an ample amount of amenities and things to do within walking distance or a short drive. Some of the notable things to do include: Millennium Park, Art Institute of Chicago, and John Hancock Center / Observatory.

Chicago real estate prices and overall affordability will play a huge role in determining if the area is the right fit for you. Of course there are probably some other items on your “wish list”, but even before they are considered, let’s take a look at the home prices and affordability in Chicago. Median real estate prices in Chicago come in at $225,200, which is 28.8% higher than the Illinois average. The home price to income ratio compares the median home prices to the median household income. In Chicago, the home price to income ratio is 4.5, which is 50% higher than the Illinois average. For most people, purchasing a new home is the biggest investment they will make in their lifetime. Taking a look at overall real estate appreciation rates in Chicago will offer some insight into determining if your home purchase will be a solid investment for years to come. In Chicago, the year-over-year appreciation rates were 3.2%, and the 5 year appreciation rates came in at 6.5%.

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Monthly costs include: fuel, maintenance, tires, insurance, license fees, taxes, depreciation, and financing.
See more Chicago, IL transportation information

Compare Chicago, IL Livability To Other Cities

Best Neighborhoods In & Around Chicago, IL

PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Mount Greenwood, Chicago7713.318,990
Edison Park, Chicago771311,128
O'hare, Chicago7412.712,706
Forest Glen, Chicago7410.318,298
PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Clearing, Chicago719.924,934
Norwood Park, Chicago7111.837,477
Jefferson Park, Chicago7110.226,594
North Center, Chicago695.534,931

Best Cities Near Chicago, IL

PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Indian Head Park, IL8615.73,823
St. John, IN8331.315,777
Crown Point, IN823528,743
Clarendon Hills, IL8117.78,641
PlaceLivability scoreScoreMilesPopulationPop.
Pistakee Highlands, IL8146.93,263
Algonquin, IL8140.330,413
Chesterton, IN8135.313,912
Lake in the Hills, IL8140.928,908
See all Illinois cities

How Do You Rate The Livability In Chicago?

1. Select a livability score between 1-100
2. Select any tags that apply to this area View results

Chicago Reviews

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Never Going Back

I've lived in Chicago most of my life, and I'm glad to say I don't live there anymore. It is a city full of corruption, and I want no part of it. I'm happier now that I've moved. There are nice attractions there, and over the summer, there are fun things to do downtown. Downtown is really the only tourist attraction. There are good neighborhoods, but they're all up north, and very expensive. Anywhere south of 35th street, you'd better make sure your children are inside before the streetlights come on. Crime is high. Police are allegedly corrupt. Politicians are dishonest. Entire city is racially segregated.

Again, I'm glad I moved, and will never go back.
  • 6 -4
Chicago has the best and the worst of everything

I have lived in Seoul, Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles in addition to Chicago. It has everything you could want from a city - it has great food (New York has better high society, but Chicago has better casual dining in my opinion), tons of attractions, nightlife and events. The neighborhoods are actually neighborhoods and people do know each other, but the city is broken into two populations - and in my opinion, there is no better summer than the one in Chicago. With more than 400 street festivals and thousands of block parties, there is no better time to be in Chicago from mid May through mid September.Why would I give it two stars then?Crime is everywhere although violent crimes are typically contained to 6 wards. The schools are so bad that public school teachers put their children into private schools. A bankrupt (money and morals) government caused by decades of corruption, a deteriorating infrastructure with no money to repair, unfunded pension liabilities and then the normal city stuff -- congestion, homelessness, etc. and the winters are disgusting.Long story short- Chicago is a pretty Faberge Egg. All of the pretty and amazing things which make you say "oooh, amazing" but hollowed out from mismanagement. The city and state will need to undergo a financial restructuring much like Detroit. They are in better standing and won't crash
  • 6 -2
Good city for business

As an immigrant from the Soviet Union, I can say this city is very nice. Everyone say move to Brighton Beach in New York City, but why when you have Ukrainian Village not too far from the Chicago Downtown. Food is also amazing, and there is great opportunity for business
  • 4 -3
Armpit of the Nation

Stay away. Shitcago is run by a lawless carpetbagger, who used to be obamas lap dog. The mayor often has threatened other cities with violence. As Amazon is looking for a second headquarters, the mayor of Shitcago threatened other cities if Shitcago didnt get the second headquarters. If any one else said that they would be in jail. Moreover, he also has wrapped fish in a newspaper and left it for people. This was once a sign of the Mafia, given to rival factions that one of their crew was sleeping with the fishes and was dead. As an Italian American I find this an offensive and hateful act. This stooge of a mayor has also proclaimed that the city is a sanctuary city in defiance of the federal govt. The mayor and his hacks have taken away the health care benefits of police widows and is working on destroying the pensions of the cops and other employees. If you come to Shitcago , all you are doing is contributing to the corruption. Your time would be better spent in a filthy washroom than to come to a city where the mayor believes that old men belong in the women's washroom with 8 year old girls, because men have a "right", according to the mayor to be in the women's washroom.. Shitcago is a city of lawlessness that is run by a jackal.
  • 4 -20
The most overrated city in the world

Don't go to Chicago. Don't move there. People trick you and say that they all love this city. It's all fake. There is nothing here whatsoever. People think that they live in a vibrant international city. Pathetic and tragic.
  • 8 -6
Waaayyyyy over hyped

This place is anarchy run amoke. No police presence on the highways make it an autobond and the tollways make no sense whatsoverliterally nothing explaining the tollway system. Most are automated and only take coins. WTF we are in the 21st century Chicago catch up. so instead they have a guess what time you exactly went thru the toll booths and pay later system which i dont understand since there are cameras taking a picture of your license plate so why can't i just look up my balance i owe by my license plate. The city is deeply racially divided and it's obvious the city is poorly ran. Don't go save your money and sanity and visit St Louis or Kansas city. People are more polite and you don't have to deal with the bumper to bumper traffic and lawlessness that runs the city.
  • 0 -7
So much fun

Background: Lived in Chicago for a year while attending grad school

1. This city is a lot of fun; in the summer there's beaches to hang out on along Lake Michigan, concerts to attend, a vibrant nightlife, so much food to be sampled. I took up a few extra hobbies, asked a friend if she did so much stuff when she lived in CA, and we came to the conclusion, that because of the harsh winter, people really want to LIVE LIFE when the weather is good. So they do. To the fullest!!!
2. I like that this is a big city, with some of the Midwestern friendliness. In the one year that I lived here, I made as many friends as I did in the 11 that I lived in Phoenix AZ. People are just more open to new people
3. If you are a sports person, this city is SO PROUD of their teams and has a pretty cool long rich history of sports
4. Public trans is pretty damn good. Taxis and ubers aren't outrageous. Everyone walks a lot. Many people commute by bike. You could live here without a vehicle.
5. I love the community feel. In the summer, it seemed that every weekend there was a different neighborhood festival, taste of Little Italy, Greek Festival in Greek town, Taste of Chicago, Pilson and the list goes on.
6. I'm not really the shopping type, but I've tagged along with a friend who is and she seems to love the magnificent mile.

1. Activity rich city, but everything costs $$$$$
2. the winters are COLD - Wind just cuts through everything but those huge down parkas
3. Crime - there's apparently a lot of it, although I myself didn't have any bad experiences.
4. Pay for parking out your nose
  • 6 -1
Great Food City

Just back from a trip to Chicago and loved the food! Took the Chicago Food Planet Food Tour and really enjoyed it. A great way to see Bucktown and Wicker Park. Don't miss - George's Hot Dogs (try the Chicago dog!!), Hot Chocolate, Piece - best pizza and ask for a Growler if you are thirsty, The Purple Pig, The Violet Hour (best cocktails on the planet), Avec, Firecakes (great doughnuts) and all the restaurants with the word Goat in them. For more expensive options - Alinea (3 Michelin Stars but very $$$) and Chicago Cut Steakhouse. Don't miss the Architectural River Cruise. Throw in a ball game, a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago and The Field Museum and you will have had an incredible holiday!!
  • 3 -3
Jersey Shore to Chicago

I moved out to Chicago in 2008 and I started at Columbia College Chicago. I fell in love with the city immediately. A lot of beautiful buildings to look at and great parks to take long walks with friends. I lived in the dorms in the South Loop and I hated living there. My boyfriend and I found a one bedroom apartment on the Northside of Chicago in Uptown and we started to fall in love with the city even more. The neighborhoods of Chicago have a lot more to offer than downtown. Downtown is catered to tourists and while you might some good local stomps on the side streets they are few and far between. I live close to the neighborhood Andersonville and Clark Ave is a strip of one store and one restaurant right after the other. Its perfect! There are many other neighborhood just like it and Lincoln Park is gorgeous. You can find great places to eat all over the place and wonderful bars. Also Chicago has great craft beer and even a local distillery called Koval. One downside to Chicago is the winter but for me I think if you can handle the winter then you have come to know the true character of Chicago. People in Chicago have a tendency to be a little nosy they are always watching what you are doing or inquiring about very personal matters. But I am also a private, introverted person so this may not bother others as much as me. I have been hear almost 5 years now and I am tired of it. The winter was rough and I'm getting a little annoyed with public transportation being so slow. Also I am moving to LA and keep dreaming of sun and palm trees. I would recommend Chicago to people but it does take a certain person. Its a blue collar city compared to some other cities in the US so keep that in mind.
  • 3 -2
A native Chicagoan returns and can't wait to leave!!

I was born and raised in Chicago and left when I was 21. I'd returned in 25 years to be with my family. It was the worst move I've ever made. So much have changed, which I'd expected. But, I found the majoirty of the people to be rude and self-centered. Don't get me wrong, I've met some really nice and personable people there, but the majority of the people I've met/worked with, left much to be desired. I've lived in various metro-cities and overseas. Chicago may be great for some people, but it is not for me.
Living here is not living!!
  • 2 -4
Chicago, IL - Have a Taste!

I lived in Chicago for four years during college as a young adult. I moved there from a small town in Illinois and it was a huge change in the access to culture! When you live in Chicago, there is never a moment that needs to be dull. Fabulous food, easy city public transportation, exciting music, and more activities are all available in the Windy City.

Food can quite possibly be one of the main reasons to visit this city if none other. The Taste of Chicago is a world-renowned festival for it's hundreds of vendors from throughout the city that come together in Grant Park for visitors to sample "tastes" of different specialties ranging from Chicago-style deep dish pizza to fried alligator or home-made Italian ice with fresh fruit. Restaurants hidden throughout the city such as Pancho Pistola's Mexican, Connie's Pizza, Portillo's, and Zephyr's Grill all possess excellent flavor and home-made food unique to the neighborhood's they hail from. Getting a hot and fresh free donut at Krispy Kreme was a frequent trip with my friends in college, or grabbing some Greek style fries at Submarine Tender's in the suburbs.

Music is one of the main aspects I loved so much about Chicago, too. You can hear any style of music in Chicago, live, and often free! Grant Park holds summer music festivals hosted by the city's tourism department. Summer music festivals include award winning music in jazz, blues, country, pop, and classical music. Concerts are hosted by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera reguarly all year long. Private clubs and bars host local bands sometimes weekly or even daily. Even getting on and off the EL throughout the city will allow you to hear musicians playing for donations on goodwill. No place will offer such wide opportunities of food and music like Chicago!
  • 2 -2
Fun city with lots to do and a great transportation system

I have lived in Chicago since 2006, and I love it. The train and bus system is great to have, and I walk so much more than I did when I lived in my previous city. The ability to take the train to work (I've used both Metra and CTA) is much better than the 45 mins I used to spend in the car to start and end my work day. I spend my commute time reading now or surfing the internet.

Chicago has a wonderful lake front park and beach system. I live north of the city and can get to a bike trail and ride it all the way downtown. One of the beaches has been designated as a dog park as well, so my wife and I take our Dog to the Dog beach on the weekends. The area has been enclosed and on a weekend in the summer there might be a hundred dogs all running the beach and playing the swimming in the lake.

Did I mention walk able. I've lived in 3 different neighborhoods and have always had a grocery store, coffee shop, major drug store chain within 5 blocks of my place. It's also great to go out with friends or downtown and not have to worry about who is driving, etc, you just hop on the train or catch a cab and everyone stays safe.
In the summer there are festivals celebrating a variety of different things. Every neighborhood has its own festival in the summer it seems. There are plenty of art based exhibits and performances to check out. I do not think someone can say there is nothing to, there is always something to do here.

The only drawback for me is the winter and to be fair winter is not specific to Chicago only. You would think growing up in Michigan that I would be used to them, and I am, but I do not find them fun. Granted I don't have winter hobbies like skiing or snowboarding, maybe if I did I would look forward to winter. Another bonus of having a great public transit system, the train runs no matter what, you don't get stuck in traffic moving at 15 miles per hour during a snow storm. If it snows bad leave your car at home or at work and relax on your train ride enjoying the view of the snow covered city.

I've traveled to several of the other big cities in the US, and I have to say Chicago is one of the cleanest cities I've been in. the people are great as well. When we were moving here my wife and I could not get over how friendly everyone was. The people of Chicago are very welcoming and quick to offer help if you need directions or to offer suggestions of a good place to eat, and yes the food here is as great as they say it is, and there are a ton of options.
  • 2 -2
World-class city, exceptional for every life-stage!

The past 15 years have taken me through many phases in this city, from tourist to student to newlywed professional to thirty-something mom, and I have found it exceptional in every stage. There are drawbacks, yes - big city living is not for everyone, especially if you don't like noise, traffic or crowds and Chicago is no different when it comes to those - but for me, the advantages have always won out.

Living here is like experiencing the entire globe, within steps of your door. On foot, I can reach restaurants serving burgers, falafel, burritos or samosas, and yes, even Chicago-style pizza (Gino's is the best, by the way, but that's a never-ending discussion with fans of deep-dish). My child's classmates in Chicago Public Schools are also a beautiful mix of cultures- Chile, Philippines, Taiwan and more. We can affordably and easily jump on a bus or the famed el train to world-renowned institutions such as Shedd Aquarium, Wrigley Field, the Art Institute or the (always free) Lincoln Park Zoo. Being a resident and a library card holder means additional discounts and freebies (note to tourists... figure out who you know that lives here... most museums have resident discounts and a library card can get you free passes). Neighborhood festivals and the amazing Park District round out the array of affordable world-class experiences available.

Sure, we deal with crazy weather extremes and traffic patterns and it can take you an hour to travel six miles and some people get a little nuts when it comes to sports teams, but this city has won my heart and I won't be leaving anytime soon.
  • 2 -2
So Much to do with too Little Time

Chicago, the windy city as it is named, has transformed into one of the most beautiful cities of our time! Having traveled their many times, my most recent trip left me in love! Chicago has worked very hard to make it a breathtaking trip with all the beautifully arranged trees and plants lining the streets, the park in the center of a busy city with its relaxing undertones, the museums were wonderful as well. I was reminded of a mini NYC.

No trip to Chicago is complete without a tour of the architectural history from one of its many tour boats! Our tour guide was just great and the history Chicago has left me wanting to more! The waterfronts are so inviting, I was reminded me of San Antonio's Riverwalk. Chicago's shopping, just another great attribute of the windy city! With so many choices for dining it was extremely difficult to choose from. I loved my trip to Chicago! I truly enjoyed the ability to walk from my hotel to just about anywhere. When I wanted to see the museums we utilized public transportation which was easy to navigate. I look forward to my next trip to Chicago and would recommend going sometime in the spring, maybe even early May.
  • 2 -2
Chicago; A great place to leave!

The museums are pretty good and so is most of the lakefront, but other than that, Chicago is a place to avoid. There are no more Discos or DJ clubs, no dance floors anywhere, and therefore, there is absolutely no more social dancing after high school graduation. The people in general here are very snobby, standoffish, and stuck up, they always keep to themselves, nobody ever says "hi" to anyone anywhere. The suburbs are way far worse, with even more snobs and in fact the outer suburbs, especially located in the collar county area (DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Will counties, etc) are even downright aggressive towards every single new person that passes through their community. Which I am sure is a tremendous shock to out-of-state visitors as normally the suburbs of any other city in the nation are usually warmer and more sociable places than the main city.
  • 2 -5
Chicago, Illinois - A Fantastic City To Visit In the Christmas Season

I was lucky enough to attend a conference in the city of Chicago in December / 2009. Normally, the conferences I attend are held in smaller cities where I'm lucky to find a local McDonalds. I enjoy the odd Big Mac as much as the next guy, but when I travel to a new city I'm looking for some culture. So, I was please to know that I'd be heading to Chicago. I extended my stay 3 days past the conference to soak up Chicago as best I could and off I went...

The fist thing you notice about Chicago is that it really is a huge city. I stayed in The Palmer House Hilton (17 East Monroe Street) which is centrally located in Downtown Chicago. Rates are affordable at around $70/night from Priceline and they have a great open bar with a huge fireplace in the lobby. After a few cocktails I decided to head out in the city. The minute you step out the doors you know why they call it "The Windy City". Walking the streets can sometimes be an uphill battle, but it's worth it, especially in the winter where the streets are lit up like the Griswolds house on Christmas eve. It truly does give you that festive feeling.

For my first dinner (post conference) I headed to Table 52, which is Art Smith's restaurant, who also happens to be Oprah's chef, for those of you who care. My first impression is a good one. The restaurant is small, but has a nice little bar with an open kitchen and a stone pizza oven where the chef is pushing out flatbread pizza's that tempt me to reach over the bar and grab a taste. I sit down and the waiter mentions that Art Smith's famous fried chicken is available. I was a little surprised to see fried chicken on the menu, but I went for it and I'm glad I did - best I've ever had! Another nice touch was the free biscuits, I had about 5 of them. After dinner, I visited Macy's and did some Christmas shopping. I'm not a big shopper, but the shopping in Chicago is impressive.

Writing this review of Chicago, its hard to think of any negative aspects. My entire experience was a positive one and I can't wait to return to Chicago.
  • 3 -2
Chicago, IL - Fall In Love With The Windy City

I lived in Chicago for three years, and though I have moved on, my heart still resides there. From Wrigley Field hot dogs to afternoons at the Navy Pier, Chicago has something for everyone. Such a diverse city will never leave you bored, because there are always great adventures to be had and world class attractions to see.

Many different cultures have blended in Chicago, which means living in this city can make you feel like you've lived overseas. And the excellent Chicago public transportation system allows you to get by without a car, which is good for the environment. The amazing architecture makes for great skyline views, so living in a high-rise Chicago apartment is exceptionally beautiful.

There are only a few drawbacks to living in Chicago. For one, the weather can be uncooperative; wind, rain, and snow are frequent visitors. Also, some areas in the inner-city can be dangerous, but this is common for cities the size of Chicago.

Overall, Chicago is a fun, vibrant place to live. The benefits and positive aspects of this city far outweigh the negative features.
  • 3 -2
Reason for reporting
Source: The Chicago, IL data and statistics displayed above are derived from the 2016 United States Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS).
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