Last Updated on February 21, 2024 by Kari-Ann Ryan

Illinois is home to the third-largest city in the nation—Chicago. While urban living offers plenty of excitement, the rural communities are idyllic settings for those who enjoy a slower pace. Residing in Illinois comes with several unique advantages and disadvantages, like those that follow.

The Land of Lincoln was discovered in 1673 by two French explorers: Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette. These Europeans floated down the Mississippi, returning via the Illinois River and crossed to Lake Michigan, near Chicago. By 1818, Illinois had become the 21st state to enter the Union.

Today, Illinois offers its diverse residents vibrant city living with opportunities for work and play. It’s also a place of escape, with picturesque small and rural towns. National parks are dotted throughout the state and freshwater beaches can be found along Lake Michigan in the north.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in Illinois?

1. Pro: Affordable Cost of Living

An affordable cost of living is a major draw for people who seek financial stability and a good quality of life. Many residents outside of Chicago fulfill their dreams of homeownership. The median home price in Illinois is $272,200 while the national median is $412,001.

The cost of living in Chicago is 16 percent higher than other cities in the nation. But those who wish to live elsewhere in the state do so comfortably with a $30,000 annual salary. Illinoisans on average earn about $54,683 per year, giving them the financial means to live well.

2. Con: Higher Taxes

Although homeownership is more accessible in Illinois, residents pay higher property taxes. With a tax rate of 2.16 percent, Illinois has one of the highest property tax rates in the nation. Income taxes, at a rate of 15 percent, are steep for residents, too.

View of downtown Chicago Illinois

3. Pro: Proximity to Chicago

Big city living is alluring for many people, which is the reason they choose to move close to Chicago. This city offers limitless opportunities for entertainment, fine dining, and exciting events. Living in or near Chicago also means immediate access to O’Hare International Airport, which is convenient for travelers.

4. Con: High Crime Rate

The densely populated Chicago has a high violent crime rate, with 3,926 crimes committed for every 100,000 people. In 2022, the city had nearly 600 homicides. The rest of the state is no safer. An estimated 4.3 incidents occur per every 1,000 residents, with 4.0 being the national average.

5. Pro: World-Class Entertainment

The Chicago art scene draws massive crowds every year—and it’s no wonder with its numerous theaters, music venues, and museums. Music-lovers attend performances at the Lyric Opera or the United Center. Museums include the Art Institute of Chicago. Enjoy a laugh in the city’s comedy scene.

6. Con: Extreme Winters

Located up north, Illinois winters are harsh. Due to the lake effect, cities like Chicago experience even worse weather. The extreme ice and snowfall make it necessary for residents to bundle up to avoid frostbite. Plus, residents deal with school closures, disrupted commutes, and higher heating costs.

7. Pro: Diverse Cuisines

Whether residents hunger for Chicago-style hot dogs or lobster at an upscale restaurant, they satisfy their appetites in Illinois. Chicago, especially, is known for its culinary innovation. Outside of the city, residents savor ethnic dishes from around the world, like Italian, Mexican, and Midwestern fare.

8. Con: Traffic Congestion

Daily commutes can be frustrating for Chicagoans who traverse the state’s sprawling network of highways. The resulting air pollution affects quality of life. But traffic congestion isn’t the same everywhere in the state. Suburban and rural residents experience fewer bottleneck traffic issues.

Springfield Illinois

9. Pro: Pastoral Landscapes

Illinois may be known for Chicago, but the rural areas offer striking natural beauty. Starved Rock, a state park located in the north, has waterfalls, deep sandstone canyons, and views of wildlife. In the south, Garden of the Gods is known for dramatic rock formations and varied flora and fauna.

Illinoisans hike, boat, and camp in any of the state’s numerous parks and recreational areas. The beaches of Lake Michigan up north and the hills of Shawnee National Forest in the southern part of the state are great escapes for residents who seek to immerse themselves in beautiful natural scenery.

10. Con: Risk of Natural Disasters

Flooding from the Great Lakes and Mississippi and Illinois Rivers as well as severe storms cause significant property damage and displace residents. Tornadoes occur during the spring and summer months. Illinois’ severe weather events can pose a risk to residents’ personal safety.

11. Pro: Dynamic Sports Culture

Sports fans satisfy their desires for lively games via Illinois’ sports culture. Residents have a passion for sports, whether it’s soccer, football, baseball, or hockey. They root for their favorite baseball team at Wrigley Field and basketball team at the United Center. Collegiate sports have fanbases here, too.

Illinois, with its diverse population, offers something for everyone. When the advantages of living in the Land of Lincoln outweigh the disadvantages, you’ll need a residential moving service you can count on. Mid-West Moving & Storage will relocate you to Illinois as seamlessly as possible and within budget.

If Illinois has too many disadvantages, we’ll help you move out of the state. As a long-distance mover, we offer efficient interstate moving services, including packing and unpacking services, convenient short- and long-term storage options, and frequent communication throughout the move.

Our movers are experienced and trained to give customers an excellent relocation experience. We handle the entire process efficiently, while ensuring your belongings are treated with the utmost care. Expect first-rate customer service from our move specialists and moving crews.

With our decades of moving experience, Mid-West Moving & Storage is prepared to move you into or out of Illinois affordably. Our long-distance moving services are trusted by countless area residents. When a move to greener pastures is on the horizon, call our Chicago, Illinois, location today at 847.593.7201 or fill out a form online and request your free moving quote.

Reviews from Our Clients

Review by Kristin Welsh
Moving Services
Rating 5 5 Star Moving Rating

"I had a great experience with Midwest. The movers arrived early, set up my entire home with protective pads and flooring, effectively moved all of my home items, and cleaned up afterward. I have actually used them twice. I had different employees each time, but both crews of men were equally prompt, professional, and efficient. I would highly recommend Midwest."
Review by Selene
Moving Services
Rating 5 5 Star Moving Rating

"The movers did an incredible job! Our second experience with your company is just as wonderful as our first. Your driver is an incredible leader. The rest of the crew was impressive as well. They all worked tirelessly through out the whole time. This move was stressful with the all the school closings and work changes but they made the whole experience much better."
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