When you say Illinois, probably the first thing that comes to your mind is the city of Chicago, the third-most-populous city in the US. This Midwestern and Great Lakes region state also known as ‘the Prairie State’ was home to the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, which gives it the second nickname ‘the Lincoln Land’. This and many other reasons make Illinois an almost perfect place to live. Let’s find out why.
Best places to live in Illinois
Let’s start with the obvious. Which cities you should consider moving to Illinois. There are a few of them. Each of them offers something different.
Chicago is an obvious choice that will have the most attention in this text today for many reasons. Moving from NYC to Chicago is a many peoples’ choice these days, as Chicago has much to offer. Brief breakdown on why Chicago might be your IL destination of desire: its thriving nightlife, suburban feel, diverse culture, a distinct neighborhood, and many more. Best for singles and couples.
There are two destinations to consider if you are moving in as a family. Those would be Wheaton and Naperville. Wheaton offers great job opportunities, many parks for kids, and some high-rated high schools which make it a great family destination overall. On the other hand, Naperville is the absolute number one city to raise a family in American public schools reported by Niche.com. Naperville, a western Chicago suburb, is first on the 7 safest cities in the US list. That makes Naperville great for raising a family.
Illinois takes education very seriously and ranks as the 11th best state for education in the US. This all brings us to the next city on the list, Urbana. Urbana is home to The University of Illinois which brings life to the city, this makes it considerable for singles. The city itself provides a lot of amenities and is home for many young professionals who chose to live there.
Chicago is in the top 20 of the largest economies (by GDP) in the world, Illinois is attractive for many Fortune 500 companies including Amazon, Caterpillar, Boeing, and Wrigley Company. The state is also home to a civilian labor force of nearly 6.2 million people.
So being 20th in the world makes it fifth in the whole US and the most diversified economy in the world. Some of the branches you may find yourself into are:
- Food processing
- Electrical equipment
- Chemical products
- Fabricated metal products
- Transportation equipment
The job shouldn’t be a problem, although competition is fierce. There are more than 10 million residents who are competing for the best possible job, so put your A-game on. You won’t be alone though, according to studies job opportunities are the number one reason people are moving to Illinois. Among other job opportunities, you may find yourself looking for tech or startups which can be found easily in Chicago. Sales and development are also highly trading businesses of new companies.
If nothing of these suits you and you want to try yourself in agriculture, you are in the right state. Believe it or not, the state of Illinois is 85% covered in cornfields. Illinois is also being known as the largest producer of soybean. Morton, IL is known for the production of canned pumpkins, so those who aren’t into the corn business might try this one out.
As the salary is concerned it will be better than in most states because of job diversity. Likewise, the Illinois government stated that it will raise the minimum wage salary so it will be among the highest in the US.
Some people call Chicago the food capital of the US, and not for the wrong reasons. Looking outside its biggest city Illinois has to offer many different flavors across the whole state, even the rural cities have their charms. A clear indicator of this is the deep-dish pizza, delicious pizza rich in cheese, butter, and toppings. It is baked in a round pan similar to a pie pan. Of course, Chicago pizza isn’t the only cuisine that will attract you to this food paradise. You should also try:
- Italian beef sandwiches
- Frontera grill
- Pumpkin pie
There are also healthy options. In Illinois, you will find the freshest vegetables and fruits.
You won’t lack any kind of sports entertainment. Every major sport played in the US has its team based in Chicago. You may want to visit Soldier field to watch some NFL and root for Chicago Bears. If you aren’t interested in football, maybe soccer is your favorite sport and you can go to the same stadium but watch Chicago Fire competing in MLS. When it comes to baseball you can choose between Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox which both play in MLB and you will go to Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field respectively. Everyone knows the name Michael Jordan who played for the Chicago Bulls, maybe the most popular sports team in Illinois with six NBA championships to their name making them one of the most successful teams in US basketball. If you are a basketball fan you will gladly go to United Center, which is also the host of the NHL team called the Chicago Blackhawks. You can also visit Wintrust Arena and give your support to the WNBA team called Chicago Sky. The choice is yours.
After a comfortable place to live, a good school for your kids, and a great job opportunity for yourself next thing you should worry about is healthcare. But you should worry not, because 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 covers a variety of health services for both children and adults, eligible for medical assistance. This includes pregnant women, people with disabilities, seniors age 65 or older, and more.
If you want to find out if you are eligible for Medicaid, visit your state’s Medicaid website, fill out the application, and they will let you know if you qualify for Medicaid medical assistance.
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.
Location, location, location
Everything is “near”, Chicago is always near you, no more than six hours of car drive, that is if you live the furthest away from it. Even if you aren’t in it your weekend trips might become visiting it for numerous things you can see or do. Things like:
- Chicago public library
- Concerts at Millennium Park
- Chicago summer festival
- Go to one of the many parks
- Catch a show at Chicago Theatre
- Take an architecture cruise on the Chicago River
- Explore Lakefront on a boat tour
- Watch the city from 360 Chicago Observation Deck
- Explore Garfield Park Conservatory
- Appreciate the masterpieces at the Art Institute of Chicago
- Oriental Institute Museum
- Ronal Reagan Birthplace and Museum
- Mendota Museum and Historical Society
- Swedish American Museum
- Illinois Military Museum
- Lincoln Douglas Debate Museum
- Jacoby Arts Center
- Charleston History District
On the plus side if you get bored in Chicago you can always visit some of the bigger cities that surround Illinois. Road trips are fun and you can spice them up with visits to these cities Detroit, Nashville, Indianapolis, St. Luis, Pittsburg, and even Toronto.
Things that you won’t like
We can talk the whole day about good things in Illinois, but some things aren’t so good. It would be fair to mention them as well.
- High crime rate
- Traffic jams
- Natural disasters
- Harsh weather (especially in the winters)
- Lack of major cities
Illinois is hospitable to everyone and it has a variety. Whatever you are looking for you can find it here. Chicago, the gem of the state, is amazing and offers a lot of fun, although the windy city has its nickname for a reason. Weight its pros and cons but at the end of the day, you should be halfway packed to live in Illinois.
If you decide to move to Illinois, the easiest solution is to hire a reputable NYC moving company. Keep in mind that the movers you choose must be able to perform a long-distance move, so make sure you do your research on long distance movers NYC and get several moving quotes before you make your decision.