On October 8th, 1871 a cow caused the greatest fire America has ever seen—the Great Chicago Fire.

Or, so they say.

Today, Chicago, in so many ways, is like a phoenix that has risen from the ashes. Today, it’s one of the greatest cities in the United States housing some of the toughest and most brilliant minds the Midwest and the nation as a whole have to offer.

And, while there is certainly more to Illinois than Chicago… that’s where we’ll be focusing most of our attention today because let’s face it… if you’re considering moving to the state you’ve at the very least taken a hard look at the giant that sits on Lake Michigan. Correct us if we’re wrong, though.

Before we dive into this wonderful city and its neighbors who are quite wonderful too, let’s explore a brief overview of the state (oh, and by way of introduction, we’re Bellhop—Chicago movers, Evanston movers, Arlington Heights movers, Aurora movers, Cicero movers, Joliet movers, Palatine movers, and movers throughout the larger area).

Bellhop - "Best Movers Ever'
moving to illinois

A brief overview of the state of Illinois.

Besides Chicago… Illinois has a few other claims to fame. For one, it was the very first state to abolish slavery and it was where Abraham Lincoln lived for a couple of decades of his life. Additionally, Illinois was and still is home to the world’s very first McDonald’s.

Illinois’s landscape leaves something to be desired (but that’s okay).

Unlike some other states where we coordinate moving services, Illinois leaves something to be desired when it comes to the great outdoors.

The state as a whole is extremely flat and as we mentioned previously 85% corn. Definitely not the most attractive of landscapes for outdoorsmen (or outdoorswomen) looking for a state with plenty to do outside. With that said, in southern Illinois, you can find Garden of The Gods… sort of a random hidden gem in the state offering some of the most beautiful hiking and sights in the country. But, if you’re planning on moving to Chicago, this would be quite the trek.

illinois campus

The pros and cons of moving to Illinois.

Like every other state out there, Illinois has some great aspects about it and some not so great ones. We don’t want you to run into any surprises when you make your jump. So, we’re going to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly of moving to this midwestern state. We will go ahead and kick things off with the pros because we try to keep a positive attitude here at Bellhop.

The pros of moving to Illinois… Chicago, Chicago and Chicago.

The pros of moving to Illinois really come down to having the opportunity to live in one of the most impressive cities in the United States, Chicago. Very few states have cities so large they almost feel like states in and of themselves and Illinois is one of these rare few.

The cons of moving to Illinois… lack of choices and brutal weather.

With that said, there are certainly a few cons that might make Illinois the wrong state for you. For one, there are very little to no choices when it comes to medium to larger sized cities (besides Chicago). If you’re looking for a big city in Illinois, you have just one choice. That’s it.

In addition, to this poor selection, the weather in Illinois is brutal… bone chillingly brutal. Temperatures in Chicago, for example, dropped to negative 23 degrees freezing this past winter… thank goodness that’s over.

With that said, Illinois is known for having beautiful mild summers. So, if you can weather the cold, you’re in for a treat come spring and summer.

The Better Way to Move
illinois farmland

The job opportunity, cost of living and overall growth in Illinois.

We’ve taken a look at a brief overview of the state and have talked about the pros and the cons of living in Illinois. Now, let’s take a look at what we’ve all been waiting for… the green. In this section, we’re going to explore the cost of living in Illinois, the job opportunity and the overall growth.

How much does it cost to live in Illinois?

The cost of living in Illinois as a whole is affordable. Rent in the state is $974, about $40 below the average rent in the United States. Chicago, Illinois’ largest city, is where things start getting pricey. The average apartment rent in Chicago clocks in at around $1,800 a month. That’s pretty pricey. But, hear us out. Many people are scared to move to Chicago because of the price, which is a very fair concern.

But, when you compare Chicago to other larger cities in the United States –– Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco –– it is very reasonable. The average rent in Chicago clocks in at around $1,800 a month. The average rent in Los Angeles is $2,371… the average rent in Manhattan, New York City is $4,100… the average rent in San Francisco is $3,600.

So, in comparison to equally large cities, Chicago presents a very affordable opportunity for someone to live in one of America’s greatest cities without decimating their wallet, so moving to Illinois might not come with the financial hardships you think it will.

What’s the job opportunity like in Illinois?

Illinois, believe it or not, is 85% corn. No. We aren’t making that up. 85% of the state is covered in corn fields. While many people who think of Illinois, think of Chicago (something that would never be thrown in the same sentence as corn)… much of Illinois’ economy consists of agriculture.

And corn isn’t the only major player in the agriculture space. Morton, a small town in Illinois is responsible for producing 85% of the world’s canned pumpkin. That’s crazy.

Both manufacturing and mining are large industries in Illinois, too.

Now, Chicago is obviously a much different story. Over the past decade, the city has become a major player in the tech and startup space. Just peruse Angel.co and you’ll find countless new innovative companies looking for roles ranging from sales to developing.

So, while Illinois as a whole might not offer a ton of opportunity for young professionals looking to make a name for themselves, there is certainly opportunity in Chicago.

moving to illinois

What are the best places to live in Illinois? Do we even have to say?

In this regard, Illinois leaves something to be desired. But, if you’re good with living in Chicago, you couldn’t ask for a better city.

For one, it’s by far the most ethnically diverse city in the midwest, which gives you a vibrant culture with some of the best food ever. Not to mention, it’s home to tons of professional sports teams… The Black Hawks, The White Sox, The Bulls, The Cubs, and The Bears. We know, we had to do a double take too. That’s a lot.

And, if you aren’t into sports and prefer music and the arts… Chicago has countless shows on any given night and tons of pop-up art shows and creative events throughout the city. You simply can’t beat it, no matter what your interests are.

A few final thoughts on moving to Illinois.

Illinois is a great state with a gem in Chicago. And, while we don’t service the smaller cities in Illinois, if Chicago is on your radar, we can help get you there. That’s what we do here at Bellhop, help wonderful people like yourself move into their home or apartment (or treehouse, whatever floats your boat). We wish you the very best of luck as you pinpoint your new home and don’t forget… we’re just a call away.

If you decide to move in or to Illinois, don’t hesitate to reach out. We coordinate local and long-distance moving services in Illinois and we would love to help!

Harrison Stevens