Chicago offers abundant job opportunities and added more jobs at the rate of 0.6 percent in 2019. Almost every sector of the economy recorded higher employment rates last year compared to the previous year. That`s because it`s home to more than 50 of American`s best companies.
Therefore, Chicago is one of the best cities to move after college graduation.
For starters, some of the best starter neighborhoods are Wrigleyville, Wicker Park, and Lakeview. Besides Chicago is cleaner than the more populated New York and Los Angeles and offers plenty of diversity, music, food and culture for those who love the deep-dish pizza.
However, moving to Chicago requires good research and planning and here are some top nine things you should know before moving to Chicago alone, with friends or family.
Each of the 77 Chicago neighborhoods offers a different lifestyle
Moving to Chicago post grad doesn`t have to be overwhelming although you want to balance between work and social life. And that will depend on the Chicago neighborhood you choose from among the 77 neighborhoods in the nine district, before moving in. Be sure to check the city`s marketing site Choose Chicago for information on the four sections.
The North offers a youthful taste for young post graduates who prefer games, boutique shopping and generally clubbing lifestyles.
South is the place to live if you love culture and social attractions such as those found in ChinaTown. ChinaTown, which offers more than 65,000 Chinese residents, is a great place to catch up with public art to authentic restaurants, specialty shops and huge malls.
Chicago job market is thriving
You might want to start by researching Fortune`s 50 best companies to work for in Chicago. Also, be sure to check the Built in Chicago if interested in tech and start-up companies. The Zippia.com and The Muse provide rich information about companies you can work for while in Chicago.
Sector after sector continue to thrive by adding more jobs in Chicago, with education and health services leading by an additional 15,600 jobs last year.
But a job search, for those moving to Chicago alone or with family, depends on your qualifications and area of specialization. All the other sectors including health services, manufacturing, government and non-farm recorded additional jobs last year except the information, construction and trade and transportation sectors.
Getting around Chicago city is easy
Chicago has the second-largest public transportation system in the country with eight L train, 129 bus routes, and high-speed Metra commuter rail train.
It also offers abundant taxis, ridesharing, train stations (145 rail stations), parking, and a rental bike sharing system which is more flexible.
You can get around the city easily without having to own a car.
Trains charge $2.50 per ride and buses are $2.25 although having a Ventra card allows you to pay by a tap on the card. There also are cash, credit and debit cards payment options even in the cabs.
Getting around with your car is also easy with abundant parking facilities and parking spot reservation systems.
The problem could be the parking (which costs 30/hour), and the long rush hour from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m, which also affects those using public transportation.
Also, the pedestrian walkway called Pedway, links more than 40 blocks in the city center, through underground tunnels and overhead bridges
Chicago is second-largest supplier of starter homes
At Chicago, first-time home buyers get best combination of affordability, availability, and rising median incomes, among all the 50 most populous metro areas according to Zillow.
The median home value is $228,500 while the median price stands at $319,500.
Chicago also records a lower median price for home listing at $1,750 compared to Los Angeles ($3,650) and New York ($2,875).
Better living standards that New York and Los Angeles
20.6% live below poverty line in Chicago, above the national average of 13.1%. A single person monthly cost of living is $ 1,035.58 without rent.
The rental rates stand at $927 for a studio, $1,076 for a one-bedroom place, $1,265 for a two-bedroom apartment and $1,618 for a three bedroom apartment.
The rental and home sale rates are more preferable to those in New York and Los Angeles, and Chicago still offers comparable employment and job opportunities and city lifestyles
Temperatures can get insanely low in Chicago
In Chicago, snow will cause schools to close down and make it hard to navigate the metropolitan.
If moving to Chicago, where to live may not be the thing to consider in relation to weather, but you need to be prepared to dress for chilling.
Also, the temperature of the lake snow or the degree wind chill goes to as low as -10 degrees. Therefore, you should be prepared to buy heavy coats, winter hats, and to wear several layers of clothing and waterproof boots.
Low temperatures also cause ice on Chicago roads during winters. If driving, make sure to have necessary things such as water, jumper cables, a snow brush, gloves, shovels and umbrella with wind vents.
Besides the low temperatures, warm summer time, which happens between May through October, is time to party.
During summer, Chicago hosts uncountable events with every neighborhood celebrating their heritage, food, and music scene.
The 31st Street Beach, Montrose Beach, North Avenue Beach, and Oak Street Beach offer miles of sand scenes, from sunbathing spots, impressive skyline views, gaming courts, restaurants with all kinds of food, and music.
Chicago offers inexhaustible shopping destinations
From one end of Michigan Avenue to another, you get boutiques, restaurants, and high-rise malls that offer nearly anything you would want to take home.
Other shopping destinations include Wrigleyville for best sports gear, Oak Street for those who love high-end designs and boutiques, Wicker Park for local brands and independent labels, and State Street for food and all types of goods found in departmental stores.
Crime rate is reducing
Chicago has had a bad reputation of being murder capital in the recent past. Because of this, crime is what comes to mind for anyone moving to Chicago post grad for the first time.
However, the rate of violent crime and number of shooting victims are reducing down to about 30% over the past two years according to Chicago Tribune.
Chicago is a great place to move in and live after college graduation, offering affluent to affordable housing options compared to New York.
You will also be moving to a city that is adding more job opportunities yearly and with better living standards than New York.