Living in Chicago

Thinking about moving to the Windy City?

This city is the economic and cultural heart of the American Midwest, and is home to a population of more than 2,693,976 people. In fact, this makes it the most populous city in the region as well as the fifth most populous on the entire continent.

In this guide, we will help you visualize what it would be like to live in Chicago or one of the surrounding neighborhoods. We will go over the cost of living, employment opportunities, education, transportation, leisure and more.

Cost of Living in Chicago

What is the Cost of Living in Chicago?

Let’s start out by talking about the cost of living in Chicago. To help us understand how the cost of living compares to that in other regions, we will turn to “Sperling’s Best Places”: https://www.bestplaces.net/city/illinois/chicago.

This website rates cost of living on a scale where the US average is 100. Ratings above 100 represent a higher than average cost of living, while ratings below 100 represent a lower than average cost of living.

On that scale, Chicago rates a score of 106.9, while Illinois rates 93.4.

That means that while it is more expensive to live in Chicago than it is to live in Illinois on average, it is still only marginally more expensive than the cost of living on average nationwide. Indeed, we can say it is roughly comparable.

Considering that many metropolitan centers are far pricier to live in than the US average, this makes Chicago a very affordable city.

Some costs in Chicago are lower than the nationwide average, including groceries, healthcare expenses, housing, and utilities. Those that are more expensive include transportation and miscellaneous expenses. Transportation accounts for most of the difference.

While we are talking about cost of living, it also makes sense to discuss taxes in Illinois.

IL has a flat tax rate of 4.95%. That is higher than some other states with flat taxes rates, and lower than others.

But it makes it a lot more affordable to live in Chicago, than, say, anywhere in the state of Oregon, where the state tax rate starts at 4.75%, and climbs as high as 9.9%.

The sales tax rate in Illinois is 6.25%.

The Bottom Line: Living in Chicago is quite affordable, especially given that it is a major metropolitan area.

Housing Cost in Chicago

What Does Housing Cost in Chicago?

On Sperling’s scale where the US average is 100, the cost of housing in Illinois as a whole is 79.5, while it is 99.1 in Chicago.

Again, that is pretty impressive when you consider that you will be living in a booming metropolitan center.

The median home cost nationwide is $231,200. In Chicago, it is $229,100. So, you will actually be able to save a little bit living here over what you would on average across the US.

Thinking about living elsewhere in Illinois? The median home cost for the state is listed at just $183,700. So, you could save even more money by moving to another IL community.

The Bottom Line: Housing costs in Chicago are comparable to the nationwide average. This is again very affordable in light of the fact that this is a big city.

Employment Opportunities in Chicago

Employment Opportunities in Chicago

What kind of money can you earn living in Chicago? For data on income, we will turn to the “US Census”: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/chicagocityillinois.

The median household income for Chicago from the period spanning 2015 through 2019 was $58,247. The per capita income reported for the same period was $37,103. For comparison, the Census also “reported”: https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2020/demo/p60-270.html that the median household income in 2019 nationwide was $68,703.

So, it does seem that earnings potential on average in Chicago is a bit lower than it is nationwide. But again, this is still a much more affordable city to live in when it comes to expenses than many others in the US.

That being said, there are some upsides to Chicago when it comes to career growth potential.

For one thing, this city is considered to have one of the most diverse economies in the country, as reported in the “Chicago Sun-Times”: https://web.archive.org/web/20031129081651/http://www.worldbusinesschicago.com/about/upload/20ChicagoSunTimes6-23-03.pdf.

So, regardless of the industry you are in, you may be able to find opportunities.

For another thing, this metro area has one of the top concentrations of science and engineering jobs. So, if you work in one of those sectors, this may be an especially lucrative place to which to relocate.

The Bottom Line: A diverse economy with a strong emphasis on science and engineering means opportunity for many skilled workers.

Chicago Education

Chicago Education

Wondering what educational opportunities are like in Chicago for children and adults? Let’s take a look.

Sperling’s reports that there are 869 schools in Chicago, including 608 public schools and 261 private schools. So, that is a large array of options.

Most of the elementary and high schools in Chicago are part of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system.

On average across the US, schools spend $12,383 per student, but schools in Chicago spend $14,559. That is great news, as it means that this city is dedicated to investing in student education.

Chicago also is a great place to be if you are interested in pursuing higher education, or if you have family members who may eventually attend college.

Some top schools in Chicago include the University of Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

But there are also many other schools throughout the metro area you can attend. Examples include the Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, North Park

University, Saint Xavier University, and others.

The Bottom Line: Chicago puts a strong emphasis on education at all levels. It invests in its elementary and secondary school students, and it also is home to a wide assortment of post-secondary educational institutions.

Getting Around Chicago

Getting Around Chicago

Next, you are probably wondering how you can get around Chicago and what you can expect as far as commute times.

There is no getting around it—one of the few drawbacks of the Chicagoland area is the traffic. Not only is there plenty of local traffic, but there is also a lot of regional traffic that is simply passing through the city on its way to other destinations.

Sperling’s reports that a one-way commute on average in Chicago takes 34.6 minutes. That is significantly longer than the 26.4 minute average nationwide.

So, it is not a surprise that quite a few people in Chicago opt not to drive. You can view some interesting data “here”: https://www.governing.com/archive/car-ownership-numbers-of-vehicles-by-city-map.html on vehicle ownership in various cities.

That site reports that in 2015, 26.5% of Chicago households owned no vehicles. The next year, that percentage increased to 27.5%.

In light of this, other stats from Sperling’s also make sense. The site reports that 49.2% drive cars to work alone, while 7.9% carpool. 4.6% work from home, and 28.2% use mass transportation.

Those percentages have likely altered post-pandemic, but they do emphasize what a big role public transit plays in the lives of Chicago residents.

The body that manages public transit in the city is the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). The subway system is elevated, and is thus referred to as the “L.” Two of the lines, Blue and Red, run 24 hours a day. CTA runs buses as well.

Other transit providers operating in Chicago include Metra, Pace, Amtrak, and Greyhound Lines.

What is also cool is that Lyft operates a bicycle-sharing system called Divvy for the Chicago Department of Transportation. The city also has held an Electric Shared Scooter Pilot Program.

The Bottom Line: There are many ways to get around Chicago. Quite a few residents opt to take advantage of the city’s extensive public transit options.

Weather in Chicago?

How is the Weather in Chicago?

Sperling’s has a comfort index for climate where the US average is 7, and the highest possible score is 10. On that scale, Chicago receives a 7, meaning that the climate is average in terms of comfort level.

Temperatures during summer can range as high as around 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the winter, can drop down to around 19 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can expect around 38 inches of rain each year and about 35 inches of snow each year. So, Chicago features four distinct seasons and plenty of variety.

The Bottom Line: Chicago is average in terms of climate comfort, with lots of variety to enjoy.

Leisure and Entertainment in Chicago

Leisure and Entertainment in Chicago

One of the best things about living in Chicago is that there is a ton to see and do.

Are you a sports fan? Three separate years, Sporting News called Chicago the “Best Sports City” nationwide. Some of the teams you can follow include the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Bulls.

If you like shopping, you can visit the iconic State Street and Magnificent Mile shopping districts. You also may enjoy spending time at Navy Pier. Chicago is famous for its restaurants as well, with specialty foods like deep dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs.

Popular attractions in Chicago include the Buckingham Fountain, the Willis Tower (Sears Tower), the Chicago Public Library, and Museum Campus.

The Bottom Line: Chicago offers something for everyone to enjoy.

See What Our Clients Are Saying About Us!

Oudai Hassen
Oudai Hassen
00:47 09 Jul 24
I worked with Margaret for my loan and she was a very hard worker and got me what we needed.
Dorota - Jarek Jozwiak
Dorota - Jarek Jozwiak
17:14 08 Jun 24
Tom Mikowski
Tom Mikowski
10:50 07 Jun 24
Matt
Matt
16:45 23 May 24
My fiance and I worked with Richard Pikula and Luda Kantor. The whole loan process was pretty straight forward. We scheduled a meeting with Richard before searching for any houses and he laid out what we could afford. After deciding on a house, he explained what documents were needed and the loan process began. Besides a request for additional documents twice there really were no other hiccups. We ended up closing on time. We couldn't be happier with the whole process.
Thank you very much for professionalism , patience ,professional advice commitment and nice service.
hDariusz Broda
hDariusz Broda
21:32 06 May 24
Dariusz Tokarski
Dariusz Tokarski
19:10 06 May 24
I'm extremely satisfied with all services received from Midamerica Bank Corp
christine toczek
christine toczek
21:28 18 Mar 24
Dan and Luda were efficient and communicative regarding our new purchase transaction.Thank you always for your help!
Casandra Bennett
Casandra Bennett
02:40 14 Mar 24
Leeza Bodnar
Leeza Bodnar
18:09 09 Jan 24
My experience with MidAmerican Bancorp, Inc. was nothing but amazing! My mom and I worked with Daniel and his team to close my condo in Oak Forest and everything went smoothly. I highly recommend working with MidAmerica and Daniel for any of your real estate transactions!
Klaudia Laskowski
Klaudia Laskowski
02:31 21 Nov 23
I highly recommend Darek Atczylo. He is very knowledgeable, efficient and reliable. Darek answered all of my questions and took the time in explaining everything. Thank you again Darek for all your hard work!
Beata Bobek
Beata Bobek
15:08 11 Oct 23
They arranged the loan very professionally and quickly and made my dreams come true. Truly recommendable.
Teddy Williams
Teddy Williams
17:40 23 Aug 23
The team that worked with us was great and very knowledgeable about every aspect of the loan process
Sthanu Ramakrishnan
Sthanu Ramakrishnan
04:44 15 Aug 23
Joanna
Joanna
18:33 07 Aug 23
Kamila Lenart
Kamila Lenart
17:22 31 Jul 23
Another great experience working with Daniel. This is our 3rd time working with him.Thank you for all your help.
dagmara hatlas
dagmara hatlas
00:10 29 Jul 23
Richard Pikula and his team are amazing and make the process of getting a house loan smooth, fast and easy!! Great service and amazing support, I recommend them 100%
Joanna Lowisz
Joanna Lowisz
00:16 27 Jul 23
Daniel and his team are amazing! Quick and easy closing.Daniel answered all my silly questions. First time buyer here! Will be back in the future :)
Jennifer Smith
Jennifer Smith
16:38 22 Jul 23
A W
A W
19:52 21 Jul 23
Margaret is very knowledgeable and helpful person. It was a fantastic experience working with her. She went above and beyond to help my American dream to come true.
Nina Brunhoefer
Nina Brunhoefer
16:35 21 Jul 23
kinga kras
kinga kras
16:01 21 Mar 23
Professional and reliable agency, fully communicative employees, I recommend MidAmerica Bancorp Inc with a score of 10/10
Aneta Cz
Aneta Cz
18:36 07 Mar 23
Recently I had the pleasure of working with the wonderful and highly professional team at MidAmerican Bancorp,Inc. I can honestly say it was the best experience I’ve had when purchasing a home because the team was working with high accuracy and managed to be on top of my loan. I highly recommend MidAmerica Bancorp to anyone who is looking for a sold loan without worry and headache.
Kayla Doody
Kayla Doody
01:35 26 Feb 23
Karol Marcinowski
Karol Marcinowski
16:37 14 Feb 23
Great service, great support, very responsive team. We will definitely be using MidAmerica for our next purchase. Thank you!
Lukasz Kosor
Lukasz Kosor
02:29 29 Dec 22
Best place in whole MidwestThank you for everything and look forward to future transactions
Joanna Horbal
Joanna Horbal
05:07 16 Dec 22
Greg Mucha
Greg Mucha
16:50 15 Dec 22
Rich and his team have always outperformed the competition.
Anna Budz
Anna Budz
21:27 09 Dec 22
Maria Micek
Maria Micek
03:11 01 Dec 22
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Move Into Your Chicago Dream Home

Excited to move to Chicago or one of the surrounding suburbs? MidAmerica Bancorp, Inc. can make your dreams of owning a home in the Chicagoland area or anywhere in Illinois come true. To schedule your consultation now, please give us a call at (708) 237-4050.