Chicago is one of the most exciting cities in the United States. Every year, millions of tourists from around the world visit the Windy City. If frequent business travel here has caused you to consider relocation to Chicago or if you are considering a move here for other reasons, take a moment to consider the answers to these frequently asked questions:
What can I expect to spend on housing in Chicago?
The price of housing in Chicago will vary by the neighborhood in which you choose to live. Older homes in the Calumet Heights neighborhood average around $110,000. More expensive neighborhoods such as Roscoe Village feature homes that cost on average upwards of $850,000. Although the cost of a neighborhood will certainly be an influential factor in where you choose to live, neighborhoods such as these at opposite ends of the housing market still provide excellent schools for children and easy access to expressways and public transportation.
What types of transportation are best for Chicagoans?
Chicago has a wonderfully efficient public transit system. Taking the bus or the elevated train, affectionately called “The EL” by locals, is the best way to get almost anywhere in Chicago proper.
If you choose to own a car while living in Chicago, you might have some difficulty finding parking. Parking on the street in certain residential areas requires a special permit from the city. This issue can be complicated during the winter with emergency snow routes and snow plows that are well known for burying parked cars while clearing the streets. If you choose to own a car in Chicago, you will do best to purchase a home with a driveway on the property or rent a spot in a parking garage near your home.
What is the overall economy like in Chicago?
Answer: Like all of the United States, Chicago has experienced some economic difficulty in the past few years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Chicago had an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent in 2012, a rate higher than the national average of 8.2 percent. On a positive note, Chicago continues to be one of the major financial centers of the world and features the second largest central business district in a U.S. city. Other major industries in Chicago include retail headquarters and customer service, web startups, medical services and supplies, and higher education. Major companies headquartered in Chicago include Sears, Walgreens, Ace Hardware, Groupon, Johnson Products Company, BMO Harris Bank, and Aldi USA.
What is the public school system like in Chicago?
There are currently over 600 elementary and high schools in the Chicago Public School district. As you can well imagine, the quality of education at these schools varies considerably. Several magnet schools within the public school system provide high-quality education to those who gain admission.
Gifted high school students can apply for admission at a variety of selective enrollment high schools, including military academies, career academies, and charter schools. If you plan to move to Chicago with school-aged children, do some research about specific schools in the area as you search for a home to buy or rent. Roscoe Village has particularly good schools, as does the neighborhood of Edison Park.
Beyond the great shopping opportunities and many museums of the tourist district, Chicago has a lot to offer those who choose to call the city “home.” As the economy continues to rebound, Chicago is once again leading the way in business and opportunity. There’s no guarantee that the Cubs will ever win another pennant, but Chicagoans still hold their heads high.
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