Illinois, the most populated Midwestern state, is the 25th largest state based on area, but thanks to its largest city, Chicago, it is 5th largest based on population. A map of Illinois cities will show you that Chicago is the nation's third largest city (by land mass) and its metropolitan area consists of over 9.5 million people. Chicago is the professional and cultural center of Illinois and the headquarters of many Fortune 500 companies as well as the home to world renowned restaurants, theatres, and other entertainment options. Outside of Chicago there are many other places worth visiting and a lot of great cities to call home. Springfield, Illinois is the state's capital and anchors the center of the state. There are various large universities in the state including two Big Ten schools, the University of Illinois and Northwestern University.
Housing within the state of Illinois varies significantly. For a few hundred thousand dollars a 3,000 square foot home can be purchased in the vast rural land of Illinois. But closer to the city, the same purchase price may not get more than a small studio apartment. Illinois weather varies significantly by the month. The summers are quite warm and can be very humid, while the winters can be long with period of time when the temperature does not get above zero. Most smaller cities in Illinois are quite safe, although like all major metropolitan areas like Chicago, does have some problems with crime.
The overall crime rate in Illinois is less than the national average by about 10%. The cost of living in Illinois is also less than the national average by about 2%. This makes Illinois a very appealing place to lay down roots.