Chicago is the third largest city in the USA, a major hub for industry and is home to the world’s second busiest airport, O’Hare International. It’s status as a centre for business, arts and education has drawn many to the city from afar, looking for a better life.
Before making the life altering decision to up sticks and settle down in President Obama’s home town, affectionately nicknamed the Windy City, it is important to find out as much information as you can about Chicago before you leave from the UK.
Chicago is known for having long, cold winters. The average temperature for January is -4.7°C and for eight nights of the year on average, the temperature can drop to as low as -18°C. In stark contrast, the summer months certainly make up for the cold spells, with July temperatures hitting an average of 29.3 °C, with 21 days of the year on average exceeding tropical temperatures of 32°C.
The climate in Chicago is definitely a mixed bag, but many say ‘variety is the spice of life’. Some people may prefer hot weather all year round, but as seen in countries like the UK, it’s impossible to fully enjoy sunny weather without the contrast of a cold winter to compare it with.
There is a huge wealth of entertainment options in Chicago. the city plays host to a large number of public and free events held throughout the year; as well as a plethora of theatres, cinemas, restaurants, art galleries, bars and nightclubs. The highly regarded Chicago Symphony Orchestra regularly perform at the Symphony Centre and also in a variety of outdoor locations during the summer.
In terms of sport, Chicago is arguably the most successful sporting city in America, being home to championship winning teams of all the major US sports. The stadia of Chicago are impressive to behold, and to those initiated with the crazy world of American sport, a visit to any of these famous grounds will be an experience to remember.
Chicago is currently ranked as the tenth richest city in the world and the hugely diverse business sectors that exist there make it an incredibly stable economy. It is one of the easiest places for skilled workers to find a job, with opportunities arising from a variety of sectors; the manufacturing, telecoms, finance, education and technology sectors are all very well represented in Chicago.
Quality of Life and Taxation
This is probably the most important factor when considering a move overseas. For well paid skilled workers, Chicago offers a great standard of living, especially when compared to some of the scandalous house prices of it’s East and West Coast cousins, New York and LA. However, it can be a struggle for lower paid workers, and the divide is noticeable within the city.
In recent years the residents of Chicago have fiercely opposed increases in taxation, so rates remain surprisingly low in the city. It is worth noting that Chicago does employ a property tax on residents, which equates to an annual payment 1% to 1.5% of resale properties value and 1.5% to 2% of new-builds value.
Education and Higher Education
For families or students moving to the area, Chicago boasts some of the most prestigious public and private schools in America, as well as some of the top universities. Northside College, a public school, was rated as the 27th best school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, and the best in the state of Illinois by Newsweek.
Chicago has been a world leader in higher education since the 1850’s and the universities based in the city consistently rank highly as National Universities, determined by U.S. News and World Report. There are a variety of areas of educational expertise, with universities specialising in the arts, business and science.
Overall, Chicago is a fantastic place to be, full of life, cultural diversity and job prospects. It’s arguably the best city the U.S for finding work, and could open opportunities that you never would have thought possible.