Going through some recent cost of living data, I was struck by how well Illinois fared:

  • #4 in disposable income (only New York, Washington, and Massachusetts were higher)
  • #12 in average salary
  • #37 in real estate costs
  • #22 in housing costs
  • #22 in rent costs
  • #33 in food costs
  • #27 in healthcare costs

On the flipside:

  • #12 in average transportation costs (ie - more expensive than 38 other states)
  • #8 in average annual taxes

Good food for thought in that data above.

As a Chicago resident, I have to say - the state is pretty great for our family. Our kids receive a high quality of education, participate in strong youth sports programs, and can easily traverse the city via train (or ride their bikes). Our family has access to amazing public parks, world class entertainment, restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, and much more. The downsides are high property taxes, heavy-ish traffic, and a couple rough months of winter (typically January and February).