Everything You Need to Know About Living in Chicago, IL

We found out everything you wanted to know about the makes the Windy City so great to live in from the people that call it home. Download our Chicago, IL Research Report to review all of the details.

Chicago, Illinois: Fast Facts

Chicago is the largest city in Illinois and the 3rd largest city in the United States.

According to the US Census, Chicago’s population is 2,671,635.

Chicago is currently declining at a rate of -0.28% annually and its population has decreased by -0.89%

Chicago has several nicknames, some being Windy City, Chi-town, and Second City. 

Located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed.

Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the US, while a small portion of the city’s O’Hare Airport also extends into DuPage County. 

The median age for those who live in Chicago is 35 years

23% of residents of Chicago have a bachelor’s degree. 

International hub for finance, culture, commerce, industry, education, technology, telecommunications, and transportation.



Black or African American: 30%

Other race: 11%

Asian: 7%

Two or more races: 3%

Native American: 0.31%

Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.03%

“Chicago is an incredible city that I’ve been lucky to call home for over 5 years. Incredibly diverse with rich culture in every neighborhood, the windy city has something to offer everyone. As a queer person, I feel incredibly safe here and am surrounded by community. The CTA, our public transit system, and the city’s bike-friendliness have allowed me to happily, easily live here without a car. The winter’s are tough, but the summers are worth it!”

Current Resident

Chicago Neighborhoods

Hyde Park: This neighborhood encircles University of Chicago to the west and the Museum of Science and Industry to the east. The area overflows with art and culture, with many things open for the public. Home to one of most iconic masterpieces in American architectural design Frank Llooyd Wright’s Robie House, a UNESCO world heritage site. DuSable Museum , the country’s first institution dedicated to African American history and culture.  

The Loop (Downtown Chicago): Named for the L, which forms a rectangular loop around the area, downtown Central Chicago is mostly home to the financial district and high-rises. Popular for those looking to live walking distance from their offices or college students who live near DePaul University. Within a few blocks from the Art Institute of Chicago and Lyric Opera to Broadway in Chicago theater performances. On the lakefront side of the loop, you’ll find Millennium Park Campus, home to the famous Cloud Gate ( The Bean). Skydeck at Willis Tower allows you to step on The Ledge, a glass box that extends outside the building, 1,353 feet up.

Bucktown & Wicker Park: Known for its indie-artist vibes, entrepreneurial spirit, and buzzing “six corner” intersection. Both historic homes and sleek modern condos. Damen Avenue which goes through the heart of the neighborhood, full of bars, eateries, and unique shops. One of a kind boutique shops, esoteric book and record stores, countless art galleries and performance venues. 

Lakeview: A large geographic area that encompasses different communities and neighborhoods like Wrigleyville, Southport Corridor and Boystown which all run beside Lake Michigan. Shopping thrives along Broadway in East Lakeview, or at the Southport Corridor for local boutiques, record shops, and vintage treasure hunting. Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play , is a key place to visit for any baseball fan or Chicagoans. The Music Box Theater which specializes in art-house and repertory cinema can be found in the Lakeview area. The famous Laugh Factory, a stand up comedy club that has big name comedians like Dave Chappelle and Kevin Nealon put on shows.

Lincoln Park: Named after Abraham Lincoln, the community was originally populated by Irish and German immigrants in the 1870s. Lincoln Park presents a unique mix of bars, restaurants, and entertainment spots. Armitage Avenue contains small boutiques and high-end retailers.Chicago’s largest park that spans 1.208 acres and holds Lincoln Park Zoo, Lincoln Park Conservatory, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool. Home to DePaul University, one of the largest private universities in the country. 

West Loop: Blocks away from Chicago’s Greektown and the United Center where the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks play. Randolph Street known as Restaurant Row is where many neighborhood’s most celebrated spots from high-end menus to hidden ramen joints to fourth- generation sandwich shops are.

Doing Business in Chicago

Chicago, Illinois was named #75 for “Best Place for Business and Careers” by Forbes in 2019.

Key Industries: Manufacturing, printing, publishing, insurance, transportation, financial trading & services, and food processing

Major Employers: U.S Government, Chicago Public Schools, City of Chicago, Advocate Aurora Health, Cook County, Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, University of Chicago, Walmart Inc., Amazon, and Amita Health.

Cost of Living in Chicago

Cost of living in Chicago is 23% higher than the national average. Utility prices are 10% lower than the national average. Transportation expenses like bus fares and gas prices are 27% higher than the national average. Healthcare in Salt Lake City is 8% higher than the national average.

Median Household Income of $70,211

Huntsville Apartment Living

Average rent in Chicago is $2,091 with an average apartment size of 750 square feet. The neighborhoods that are the most expensive are Dearborn Park  ($2,777),  Printer’s Row ($2,777), and Streeterville ($2,819).

Studio apartments are the smallest and most affordable, 1- bedroom apartments are closer to average, while 2- bedroom apartments and 3- bedroom apartments offer a more generous square footage.

“My experience in Chicago has been life learning. Moving to a new state all on your own can be intense it’s rare you find such a people pleaser city but Chicago is a strong as the wind”

Current Resident

Arts, Recreation, and Entertainment in Chicago

Stand outside one of the tallest buildings at The Ledge, an all glass balcony at WIllis Tower’s Skydeck Chicago

The Navy Pier is one of Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations- a 3,300- foot pier over the Lake Michigan waters, offering exhibits, rides, parks, and family attractions. 

Take a selfie with Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean” at Millenium Park, just a block away from the heart of downtown Chicago. 

Take a stroll through the sandy beaches and green space on the 18-mile Lakefront Trail. 

The Chicago River floats its way through the Windy City past some of the city’s most notable architecture like the Willis Tower, Wrigley Building, and the Navy Pier. Offers opportunities for locals and visitors to explore the river through river cruises, kayaking, and canoeing.

Chicago’s Sport Teams:

Chicago Cubs (Baseball) 

Chicago White Sox (Baseball)

Chicago Bulls (Basketball)

Chicago Sky (Basketball)

Read the full research report: Chicago, IL. We interviewed the people that live there to find out what makes their city special. Stay tuned for more city research.

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