Everything You Need to Know About Moving to Illinois

Moving to Illinois is an exciting prospect, but it can be scary at the same time. It’s a fresh start for you and your family, but there’s also uncertainty about what’s to come. You don’t know how your life will be different once you make the move to the state.

Illinois has a unique culture. It’s a Midwestern state with both charming small towns and the third largest city in the US. Depending on where you move, living here could be drastically different from the kind of life you’re used to right now.

One way to move with peace of mind is to learn everything you need to know about Illinois. In this article, you’ll find out everything you need to know about moving to and living in the state.

Illinois Climate

Illinois has a continental climate with four distinct seasons. It has cold winters and warm summers. Residents are used to the frequent short fluctuations in temperature, humidity, cloudiness, and wind direction. 

The average daily temperature in Illinois during the warm season (from May to September) is above 74°F. The average daily temperature during the winter is below 43°F.

Illinois State Relocation Guide

The majority of the cities, particularly in the northern part of the state, see about 40 inches of accumulated rainfall and snow each year.

Illinois State Relocation Guide

Many people find the moderate temperatures of spring and fall to be the best time to visit Illinois. Whether you are going on a sightseeing cruise on Lake Michigan or exploring the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright house in Chicago, this is when you can expect comfortable temperatures and sunny skies.

Illinois Taxes

The people of Illinois pay the second-highest property taxes in the nation. As a homeowner in the state, expect to pay an estimated $5,400 worth of property tax every year. The amount is twice the national average ($2,675). Property taxes in some areas like McHenry County can average as much as $7,000 a year.

Illinois State Relocation Guide

Currently, areas like Chicago and Cook County are seeing a spike in total property taxes. The increase of over 115% in Chicago is worrisome because wages and the cost of living remain the same.

Illinois State Relocation Guide

Illinois also has the seventh-highest sales tax rates in the country. On top of the 6.25% state sales tax rate, residents have to pay an additional local tax, which can go as high as 4.75% in certain areas. On average, the combined state and local sales tax is 8.83%. 

Despite tax exemptions to persons with disabilities, veterans with disabilities, senior citizens, and others, Kiplinger rated Illinois as “the least tax-friendly state in the country for middle-class families.”

Cost of Living in Illinois

The cost of living in Illinois as a whole is lower than the US average. On a scale of 1 to 100, Illinois has an average score of 93.4. For context, 100 is the national standard and the lower the score, the better the cost of living is. However, there is one notable caveat: transportation costs are on the more expensive side.

Housing in the state is much more affordable than in other parts of the nation, although you’ll need to live in one of the suburbs or smaller cities to take advantage of lower prices. Prices in Chicago, for example, are just as sky-high as they are in other big cities in the US. 

Illinois State Relocation Guide

The average annual salary in Illinois ($59,067 or $24.4/hour) is lower than the average salary in the US ($66,665/year). It ranks 28th for average salaries among 50 states.

Illinois State Relocation Guide

Illinois Healthcare

According to US News, Illinois is ranked 23rd among US states for healthcare. It is also ranked 20th, 28th, and 16th for healthcare access, healthcare quality, and public health.

Illinois State Relocation Guide

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, a lack of health insurance and challenges such as high medical costs or not living close to providers are the main problems regarding healthcare access. 

Also, options for health insurance are limited. There are eight insurance companies offering individual and family plans in the entire state. 

A person earning less than $12,760 is eligible for the Medicare Cost Savings Program. The state offers Medicaid for low-income residents or those not earning at all.

Illinois Education

Illinois ranks 11th for education overall. It has one of the best school systems in the country for K-12, making the state a great place to raise kids. The suburbs around Chicago are an excellent choice for families, as this is where you’ll find some of the best public school districts in the country. 

Illinois State Relocation Guide

Illinois isn’t one of the top places to move to for higher education, although there are some solid schools. The University of Chicago is the sixth-best college in the US, followed by Northwestern University in the ninth spot.

Other well-known universities include DePaul University (#124), Illinois State University (#206), Loyola University Chicago (#112 in national universities), and Northern Illinois University (#298-389).

Notable Highlights

Called the Prairie State, Illinois is renowned for its abundance of farmland. If you drive across the state, you’ll see miles of corn and soybean fields. Illinois is one of the leading producers of both crops.

Illinois is also famous for being the home of Abraham Lincoln, considered by many as the greatest president who ever lived.

His legacy lives on in Springfield, the capital of Illinois, where people can find the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, one of the many sites in honor of the late president. There’s also a Lincoln Park Zoo that houses wildlife in the heart of Chicago.

Speaking of wildlife, Illinois possesses a natural beauty that measures up to the best of them.

Illinois State Relocation Guide

Starved Rock State Park near Utica is a wilderness area famous for its steep canyons and waterfalls. On the other end of the state, in Southern Illinois, the Shawnee National Forest will keep nature lovers busy exploring the dense woodlands, steep hills, and lakes.

Chicago is the most popular city. It is referred to as the Windy City, although not because of the breezes blowing off nearby Lake Michigan. 

Newspapers started using the term in 1876 to refer to the “windbags” (politicians motivated by greed) living in Chicago. Regardless of the original intention, today the name is a term of endearment.

Illinois State Relocation Guide 

Finally, the city boasts the most popular and successful sports franchises in basketball (Bulls), baseball (Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs), hockey (Blackhawks), and football (Chicago Bears). If you’re a sports fan, you’ll fit right in.

Best Places to Live in Illinois

If you plan on moving to Illinois, you should put these top-rated locations on your list. But before you do, let’s talk about how you plan to uproot from your current home to Illinois.

Moving is a big deal, which is why you’ll want to follow a few essential tips on how to move your belongings without a hitch:

  • Leave what you won’t use. Excess baggage also makes the cost of moving more expensive due to the weight.
  • Pack fragile items properly using bubble wrap to keep them safe and secure during travel.
  • Bring important documents like birth certificates, social security cards, medical records, and school transcripts with you instead of packing them in boxes.
  • If you have a car, make sure to determine the best way of shipping your car out of state. You’ll need to decide whether you want to transport your car using open or closed transport.

Below are the best places to live in Illinois:

Clarendon Hills

Clarendon Hills is a great place to live. There are many restaurants and parks throughout this small DuPage County suburb of 8,716. It also offers a small-town feel and close-knit community. According to reviewers on Niche, it’s the best suburb in Illinois to call home and the second-best place to raise a family.

Long Grove

Long Grove, a small town outside of Chicago with 7,963 residents, is known for its well-manicured neighborhoods and friendly atmosphere. Most residents own their homes and have moderate political views. The public school system is phenomenal here.

Buffalo Grove

Buffalo Grove is a suburb located north of Chicago. There are 41,062 people living. If you move to Buffalo Grove, you’ll be close to fantastic restaurants serving up American cuisine. There are also plenty of parks and fun activities for kids.


Naperville is an affluent city located west of Chicago. It’s known for its top-notch public schools and family-friendly culture. Like Buffalo Grove, you’ll find plenty of fantastic restaurants and cafes, including some of the best places to dine if you have a craving for deep dish pizza, a Chicago-area classic.


Living in Evanston offers residents the best of both worlds — an urban feel and a convenient suburban lifestyle. Most residents own their homes, and there are many restaurants, coffee shops, and parks to explore. Evanston ranks as the second-best suburb for young professionals in Illinois.


Illinois has a rich cultural history that gives its residents a sense of pride and purpose. With legendary sports teams and top-rated public schools, there’s a lot to love about living here. On the downside, calling Illinois home means having to pay high property and sales taxes.

If you’re ready to move to Illinois, then you’ll want to plan ahead to ensure the move is as stress-free as possible. One thing you can do now is set up car transport for your vehicle. 

That’s where Guardian Auto Transport can help. Our carriers can safely transport your vehicle to Illinois for you. With Guardian, you can have total peace of mind that your car will arrive safe and sound.

Get your instant quote now, shift your focus to your moving to-do list, and rest easy knowing that we’ve got you car transport covered.

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Tanya J
Tue, 11 Jun 2024 18:52:00 GMT
Tanya J

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Tue, 11 Jun 2024 18:50:01 GMT

Ryan made transport easy. I will use him and Guardian again for my return trip!

Paul J
Tue, 11 Jun 2024 18:48:23 GMT
Paul J

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