Moving/Relocating To Illinois: 12 Greatest Pointers To Know

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A lot of people want to relocate to the United States. Being such a developed country, you’ve got a lot to choose from. One that you should consider moving to is the Prairie State, Illinois.

Home to Chicago, the third most populous city in the US, the state of Illinois has so much to offer. It has a bustling economy, beautiful sceneries, an excellent mix of rural areas, urban metropolises, access to freshwater beaches, and so much more. That’s what makes it such an attractive destination whether they’re making an in-country move within the United States or an international relocation from overseas.

Moving to Illinois is an excellent idea for anyone looking for a new start and fantastic opportunities. But before you book that ticket and pack your bags, check out these pros and cons of living in Illinois and how they fit into your plans.

This guide will show you the greatest pointers on what you need to know if life in Illinois is for you. Once you’re ready, work with one of Sanelo’s dedicated relocation experts to get started!

1. The Cost Of Living In Illinois Won’t Burn A Hole Through Your Wallet

Illinois is a Midwestern state. This region is characterised by a healthy mix of large cities and small towns. The region is called the heartland of the country and is home to several farms that make good use of the space.

Based on a report by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Illinois is the 16th most affordable state in the United States, with a living index of 91.9.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, from data collected up to 2021, the average cost of living in Illinois is 49,558 USD. This is for a single individual. And according to a recent census, the median household income is

Several factors need to be considered when considering the cost of living. Utility bills such as electricity, and water, groceries for food and supplies, healthcare, and transportation. But, usually, the most significant chunk will come from housing.

2. The Real Estate Market Is Very Competitive

This is important as you’ll get a very good deal for housing prices in Illinois. The real estate mantra of “location location location” should always be in your head when looking for a place to stay at.

When you are nearer to the downtown of major cities, the prices tend to go high. Conversely, several other urban areas and suburbs still have a very high quality of living that isn’t too expensive.

The median sale price of a home in Illinois is 249,300 USD. This is roughly half of the median home price in the United States, which is 428,700 USD.

According to another organisation called the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI), which measures the home value rather than the sale price, the ZHVI in the USA is 354,649 USD.

In Illinois, this value is 267,321 USD. These trends help home buyers in the decision-making process of their purchase.

This translates to an average mortgage payment of 1,130 USD in Illinois.

Remember that location hugely affects the value of property, so picking the right place for you can have huge effects on the overall cost. This is especially important since Illinois has the second highest property tax in the United States.

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3. Picking The Right Community That Fits Your Lifestyle Is Paramount

Ok, you like everything that you’ve heard so far, the costs aren’t high, and real estate is affordable, so what’s next? Choosing which part of the state you will actually live in.

Illinois is right in the middle regarding space, coming in as the 25th largest state in the United States. However, the population is a bit high at a little over 12 million, making it the 6th most populous state but only 12th in population density. What does this all mean?

Illinois has a lot of space if you want it, but it also has tight and fast-paced urban metropolises.

Major cities like Chicago, Aurora, and the state capital Springfield are all urban centres with the largest populations. They have all the amenities of modern cities you could ask for. These cities are also the centre of their respective metro areas.

For example, the windy city of Chicago is the heart of Chicagoland. This metropolitan area includes the city of Chicago, its neighbouring suburbs, and its hinterlands. Even if you don’t live in the middle of the city, you are still a drive’s distance away from the city centre. Such a setup is perfect for young professionals.

If you’ve had enough of the big city and just want a quiet, small-town life, Illinois has dozens to choose from. Dixon in Lee County, Paxton in Ford County, Elsah in Jersey County, and Fulton in Whiteside County have populations that barely hit 5,000 people. But you’d be surprised by the amount of character, charm, and the unique vibrant culture these communities have.

More than just choosing a place to live based on price, you need to think about the kind of life you will lead and what your preferred day-to-day looks like.

4. There Are So Many Places To Visit And Have Fun In

The best part about living in a new place is discovering new places to love. Whether it be the go-to vacation destination, a new favourite restaurant, or scenery you’ve never seen before, new places give people a new perspective. And Illinois has a lot in store for you.

Anderson Japanese Gardens

In the city of Rockford, you will find a place that promises to inspire the mind and energise the soul. This 12-acre Japanese garden is an excellent place to visit if you want to just relax. But it isn’t all just flowers and leaves, the garden has restaurants, lecture series, tours, light attractions and more!

 The Art Institute of Chicago

It is a top-tier destination for all you art lovers out there. Home to more than 300,000 pieces of work from all over the world spanning hundreds of years, this museum will surely kick-start your creativity.

Shawnee National Forest

This national forest is perfect for those who love to spend time outdoors. Whether you are in for a hike, camping, or just want to appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors, look no further.


The city of Galena is another one that’s perfect for people who want to time travel. The amazing structures that feature beautiful 19th-century architecture lands Galena on the list of the best small towns in America.

 Discovery Center Museum

If you have kids with you, the Discovery Center Museum will be a wonderful place to visit. The place is full of fun, focusing on educational science exhibits and workshops. Here you and your kids can do crafts and even do some experiments.

car running on road

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5. The Economy In Illinois Is Excellent

Illinois has the fifth-largest GDP in the United States. When the GDP is strong, goods and services, wages and profits are increasing. A high GDP means that a state’s economy is growing and more resources are available to the people.

Some of the largest companies in the United States have set up camps in the Chicago metropolitan area. Such companies include Boeing, McDonald’s, Motorola, United Airlines, Walgreens and more.

You may also find the headquarters of several fortune 500 companies throughout the state. Illinois ranks 4th in most fortune 500 companies, with 38 of these companies calling the state home. Diversified economies give the highest returns since the state doesn’t rely on one source of income, providing more opportunities for employees.

6. Illinois Is Brimming With Employment Opportunities

It won’t come as much of a surprise when we say that there are a lot of opportunities in Illinois. Thanks to it being the home of over 30 Fortune 500 companies and a very strong economy, finding a new job or furthering your career in Illinois won’t be a problem.

In Illinois, you will find 1,700+ major corporate headquarters and an additional 1,900 foreign companies.

Some of the biggest industries in the state include advanced manufacturing, Agribusiness and food processing, Financial services, Life science, and electronics and engineering.

white and red wooden house near green tree under blue sky during daytime

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7. History Buffs Will Have Lots Of Places To Visit

We’ve already mentioned a few places that are worth the visit. But if you’d like to learn more about the state, several historical places are well worth visiting. Illinois has a deep connection to Native American communities, the civil war, and many historical figures, most notably former president Abraham Lincoln.

So, if you are in the mood for a fun trip while also learning a few things along the way, we suggest you visit:

Cahokia Mounds

The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Park features over 60 mounds that were made by Native Americans. The park allows us to see glimpses of what the place looked like and the structures the original settlers had.

Lincoln’s New Salem

This near-perfect recreation of New Salem, a place where former US President Abraham Lincoln lived in the 1800s, will transport you back in time.

Oriental Institute Museum

Established in 1919, the museum features exhibits from ancient civilizations from what is now referred to as the Middle East and nearby regions. In these amazing and one-of-a-kind exhibits, walk through the story of Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and the Levant.

8. Get Ready To Feel The Team Spirit As Sports Take Center Stage

Baseball, Football, Hockey, Basketball, Soccer, and everything else in between, Illinois has it. You’ve probably heard about a few of them; Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears, Chicago Blackhawks. Although the city of Chicago is the only one that has major league teams, there are also dozens of minor league teams throughout the state. Everyone can join in on the fun sports culture.

The athleticism, energy, and overall hype of sporting events hugely impact communities, not to mention business establishments. For someone who is new to the community, this can be an excellent way for you to break the ice and make friends with the locals.

If you aren’t much of a sports fan, then maybe this is also a good way to explore new interests. Some cities do not have the same level of interest because they don’t have a local team to root for. You’ll have many to follow and fall in love with in Illinois.

brown and white concrete building

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9. Illinois Is A Bona Fide Foodie Paradise

Aside from discovering new vacation and recreational spots to go to, another benefit of being a newcomer to Illinois is the discovery of new restaurants. Food is one of the most important things in a community and will always have a vital role in bringing people together.

So, if you are in Illinois, be sure to be on the lookout for some of the best food Illinois has to offer:

  • Maid-Rite Sandwich
  • Deep-Dish Pizza
  • Shrimp DeJonghe
  • Chicago-style hot dog
  • Mix Popcorn
  • Horseshoe Sandwich
  • Italian Beef Sandwiches

Though some of these might sound fairly common, half of the fun is searching for culinary variety, and finding out how restaurants put their own twist on classics. So, if you move to Illinois, be sure to open your palette and try as much of the food scene as you can!

10. Stay On Top Of Everything By Using A Mover’s List

When relocating, it’s so easy to get lost in all the small details. Which plates should you pack? Which electronics should you bring? Is it better to sell them or just give them away?

You’d also have to keep track of necessary documents, apply for an Illinois driver’s licence, and stay in contact with your new employer or realtor. Stay ahead by keeping track of everything with a mover’s checklist.

Categorise everything you need. To start with, you can use the following:

  • Things to buy (Packing materials, boxes, markers, bubble wrap)
  • Things to do (Segregate what you will bring, giveaway, sell)
  • Cash (If you are coming from another country)
  • Important numbers (Emergency, employer, real estate agent)

Tick them off one by one, leave space for some notes and updates, and then always be diligent with the dates and changes. Finances are really important and if you are moving from overseas, consider getting international insurance and while you sort out your bank accounts and credit cards.

This might sound tedious at first, but in the end, you’ll be glad you took the time to keep track of your move.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to build your checklist alone! We offer useful moving resources to help get you started, plus a comprehensive pre-move consultation and home survey to create an inventory of everything you’ll have to bring.

11. Engaging With Professional Movers Make All The Difference

We all know that moving can be a huge undertaking. The effects of living in a new place, and adjusting to a different culture, landscape, weather, and community will definitely take its toll. Not only that, but the physical act of moving can be very demanding.

That is why you must have a partner that will be there for you and take a load off. Sanelo offers local moving and international moving, both with a comprehensive set of moving services to cover everything from packing for your move to ocean & air freight to storage for your belongings to help you move no matter where you’re starting from. At every step of the way, you’ll be covered by best-in-class shipment protection.

With Sanelo, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your own journey to your new home – knowing your belongings are just as safe and secure on their own trip.

12. Say Hello To Honest Abe For Some Good Luck

It is reported that there are more than 200,000 visitors every year to the tomb of former president Abraham Lincoln. But the visit isn’t just for sightseeing, it’s for some good luck!

Folks from everywhere rub the memorial statue’s nose, which is a shiny bronze compared to the rest of the statue, which has taken to a dark grey thanks to the passing of years. Honest Abe is one of the most significant figures in American history. People probably just want a bit of good juju from his memorial.

Either way, whether you believe in superstition or not, there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun and collecting all the good karma you can get.

Conclusion On Moving To Illinois

Looking for a new job? Going for a different scenery? Settling down with your family? Whatever the reason may be, Illinois has got something for you.

With its excellent economy, beautiful cities, strong job market, picturesque small towns, highly urbanised cities, and so many local attractions, world class food scene, and a rich history, there’s really nothing more you can ask for.

Just be sure to stay on top of the relocation by using a mover’s list and engaging with professional movers to assist you. This way, you’ll be all set and ready for your next big adventure in the Prairie State!

If you’re still unsure, look at our other guides for other states, such as Colorado, California, Ohio and Hawaii.

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To Illinois

Is Illinois A Good Place To Live In?

Yes. Illinois is a very diverse state with a strong economy, a competitive housing market, and many job opportunities. There are great cities and small towns where you can stay and call home.

How Much Do You Need To Live In Illinois?

The average cost of living in Illinois is 49,558 USD for an individual. Although, you should consider that this estimate may change drastically depending on your location and your housing or mortgage situation.

How Much Is The Minimum Wage In Illinois?

In 2022, the minimum wage in Illinois will be 12 USD. This puts Illinois somewhere in the middle, the lowest being 7.25 USD and the highest being 15 USD.

Can Sanelo Help With An International Relocation To Illinois?

Yes. Sanelo has years of experience with both local and international relocations. Just give us a call or email with the information on our website, and a representative will be with you every step of the way.


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