- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Chicago Guide (PDF)
Tucked between the American heartland and Lake Michigan, Chicago offers a vibrant, multicultural and business-oriented experience in northeastern Illinois. Chicago is America's third-largest city and keeps investing in itself, continuously improving infrastructure and education, and – as expats will notice – courting the world's largest companies to relocate their headquarters to within its windy borders.
Living in Chicago as an expat
Expats looking for employment in Chicago will discover a wide range of industries that cater for a variety of specialised fields in the city. With such a diverse job market, newcomers with skills in finance, manufacturing, IT, health services, and transport and distribution shouldn't experience much difficulty when looking for work.
There is a wide range of accommodation options available in Chicago and new arrivals to the city shouldn't struggle to find something that suits their needs and their lifestyle. Fortunately, housing prices in Chicago are also on the lower side compared to other major US cities. There's a wide range of areas and suburbs to choose from, each with their own unique atmosphere. Living outside of the city centre is also not a problem as all areas are well serviced by Chicago's efficient public transport network.
While health insurance is one of the major expenses expats will need to account for when moving anywhere in the USA, those relocating to Chicago can rest assured that they will have access to good quality medical services. The city is home to some of the best hospitals in the USA, largely due to the presence of many medical schools.
Cost of living in Chicago
While the cost of living in Chicago is considerably higher than the national average, it is lower than many other large American cities such as New York City and San Francisco. The high cost of living is also offset by the fact that salaries in Chicago are also higher than the national average.
Expat families and children
Those moving to Chicago with children will be pleased to find that the city offers a solid range of private and international schooling options. Not only that, but the city is incredibly family friendly and offers plenty of attractions to keep kids busy on the weekends.
Outdoor spaces abound in Chicago, from the shoreline of Lake Michigan to Lincoln Park. There are also numerous waterparks, theme parks and an interactive children's museum where they can spend an afternoon of educational fun.
Overall, new arrivals can look forward to an exciting time in the Windy City, with plenty of things to explore, learn and experience.
►Read about the ups and downs for life in the Windy City in Pros and Cons of Moving to Chicago.
"Chicago has a huge variety of things to do. There are also a lot of ethnic communities and neighbourhoods which makes for a colourful city." Read more about Toni's expat experience in Chicago.
Are you an expat living in Chicago?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Chicago. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.