Welcome to Illinois

Your life in the Land of Lincoln begins


Welcome to Illinois

Illinois is the 25th largest state in the country by area, but it's the sixth most populous with a population of more than 12.7 million people. Known for its agriculture, architecture, culture, and art, Illinois has plenty to offer. While it's mostly a flat plane, Illinois boasts some of the most diverse regions and beautiful landscapes in the country, from its wetlands and hills to its farmlands and forests.

Chicago's major industries include manufacturing, service, mining, and agriculture. Some major manufacturing companies and well-regarded universities call the Chicago area home, including the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago, both ranked among the top universities in the world.

While Chicago may be pricier than the country as a whole in terms of cost of living, the state of Illinois has plenty of cities with a favorable cost of living, including Carbondale, Marion, and Herrin. But more than that, Illinois offers plenty to do in terms of outdoor activities when the weather permits, including theme parks, water skiing, wine country, golf getaways, hiking, botanic gardens, biking, museums, theaters, snow skiing, antique shopping, and professional and college sports.

Illinois Self-Storage Facts

Buoyed by Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, the self-storage industry in Illinois is one strongest in the country. Chicago was one of the first cities to experience the ongoing self-storage development boom, which is taking place all over the country and elsewhere throughout the Land of Lincoln. Funding for new development became scarce after the last recession, leading to a shortage of storage space for consumers and record-high rental rates. Within the last half decade the storage industry has been undergoing a major expansion to meet the demands of movers and businesses around the nation. With more space available, rates for self-storage have moderated and it has become easier for users to find space near them.

Below is an overview of the current state of the Illinois self-storage market:

Below are some statistics that provide an overview of the self-storage industry in Illinois:


Illinois is home to about 1,558 self-storage facilities.


Illinois self-storage facilities cover 55,641,378 square feet of storage space.


Illinois storage facilities offer 4.35 square feet of storage per person, which is lower than the national average of 5.4 square feet per person.

Reasons to Move to Illinois

If you've been considering a move to the Prairie state, here are a few things that might help you decide.


The Windy City. Chicago is home to some of the best nightlife, food, art, and entertainment in the state, which is why people of all demographics flock to the Windy City every year, either to visit or to stay.


Great cost of living. While the Chicagoland area might be more expensive than the US average, Central Illinois is sprinkled with small cities and towns that make living affordable.


A place for sweets. Not only was the ice cream sundae named here, but Illinois is also home to the first Dairy Queen. So you'll be sure to find plenty of sweets to satisfy your sweet tooth.


Home of the World's Largest Bakery. Speaking of sweet treats, the Nabisco factory is located in Chicago and is the world's largest bakery at 1,800,000 square feet. So if you love cookies, Illinois is where you want to be.


You can drive your car through the post office. That's right. The Chicago Post Office on 433 West Van Buren is the only postal office in the world that you can literally drive your car through. Talk about convenience.


The Lincoln Park Zoo. This Chicago zoo is one of only three major free zoos in the county and the nation's oldest public zoo. Taking the family to see the animals won's cost you a dime.


Da Bears! But legendary sports teams don's end there with the Chicago White Sox, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Chicago Bulls, and the Chicago Fire playing to win.


St. Patrick's Day green river. The Chicago River is one of the only rivers in the world that flows backward and every year on St. Patrick's Day, the residents dye it green!


Books galore. If you's a book nerd, you'll love the fact that the Chicago Public Library houses more than 2 million books! Happy reading!


Natural beauty. Calling all nature lovers! Starved Rock State Park is one of the state's most beautiful destinations with 18 canyons. Lake Michigan is also in Illinois, providing plenty of opportunities to enjoy an array of outdoor activities.

Moving to Illinois

Also known as the Corn State, Illinois has a population of more than 12.7 million people as of 2019, according to World Population Review. It's the 26th largest state and the sixth most populous in the country.

From 2017 to 2018, Illinois' population declined, losing an estimated 45,116 residents, according to the Census Bureau. Every day, 313 people leave Illinois, mostly affluent millennials, according to Illinois Policy. The number one reason people seem to be leaving is taxation. The state recently passed 20 new or increased tax and fee hikes when they passed a $40 billion spending bill and $45 billion infrastructure bill.

Illinois Economic Outlook

Agriculture is one of the most important parts of Illinois' economy and it's the country's largest producer of pumpkins and its second-largest producer of corn. The state's GDP is $864 million as of 2018 and Illinois had an unemployment rate of 4 percent as of August 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here are the top five sectors by GDP of real value added:

$161.72 billion
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing
$71.13 billion
Government and government enterprises
$98.41 billion
$109.47 billion
Professional and business services
$66.61 billion
Educational services, healthcare, and social assistance

Throughout 2019, Illinois saw far more growth than expected. However, forecasters predict that a potential economic slowdown is on the way as the state prepares to pass a budget for 2020.

Illinois has a cost of living index score of 101.5, meaning it's more expensive than the US average. However, certain cities in the state boast a lower cost of living than the national average, such as Rockford, which has a cost of living 10 percent lower than the national average. That means while some cities might be a bit out of your price range, you can still take comfort in knowing there are cities you can afford to move to in Illinois.

Who are Illinois's Largest Employers?

Sears Holdings
United Airlines

Places to live in Illinois

Illinois is roughly 57,914 square miles with a population density of 230 people per square mile. Most of Illinois' population is located in the North East in the Chicago Metro area. The three largest cities include Chicago, Aurora, and Rockford.


Chicago is the largest city in Illinois with a population of about 2.7 million people, but it's also the largest city in the entire Midwest. The Windy City is well known as an industrial metropolis and as a city of exports thanks to the International Port of Chicago. Nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago has plenty to offer in terms of outdoor entertainment, including lake-front museums, state parks, concerts, waterparks, and more.

Cost of living
23 percent higher than the national average
Median home price
Average rent
$2,007 per month
Average apartment size
749 square feet


Aurora is the state's second-largest city and has a population of about 199,602 people. The city served as the location for a few Hollywood movies including Wayne's World and Public Enemies. The city has experienced amazing growth in the last few decades and has plenty to offer in terms of activities and entertainment.

Cost of living
4 percent higher than the national average
Median home price
Average rent
$1,332 per month
Average apartment size
904 square feet


Rockford is the third most populous city in the state of Illinois with a population of 152,871 residents. Located on the banks of the Rock River, Rockford is in Northern Illinois between Chicago and Galena.

Cost of living
10 percent lower than the national average
Median home price
Average rent

Moving to Illinois Resources

All Illinois Cities