Thinking of Immigrating to the US, but which City? Edition 4 — Chicago, IL

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Thinking of Immigrating to the US, but which City?

Edition 4 — Chicago, IL

Chicago is a true world class city with a large immigrant population, pro-immigrant policies, a huge economy and a relatively affordable cost of living. It may be the best deal in the entire country if you value big city living.


1) Huge Economy. The Chicago metro economy is huge. Its GDP is larger than the entire country of Switzerland and larger than some other world powerhouse cities, including Shanghai. The local economy is unusually diverse and not dependent on any one industry. Prominent sectors include finance, manufacturing, logistics, IT and healthcare.

2) Immigrant Friendly Policies. Chicago allocates over $20 million per year to fund local nonprofits to assist immigrants with legal and other issues. The city wants more immigrants.

3) Diverse. Chicago is home to immigrant populations from around the world. The three largest communities are from Mexico, India and Poland. Other large population include the Chinese and Tanzanians.

4) Low Cost of Living. Among the largest cities in the US, Chicago may be the best deal in the US on this front. By comparison, San Francisco’s cost of living is over 60% higher than Chicago.

5) Amenities Galore. You will not run out things to do here. Chicago is home to endless entertainment, shopping and cultural options.

6) Central Location. Chicago is a transportation hub. Direct flights to anywhere in North America, as well as non-stop flights to a huge array of international destinations.

7) Lake Michigan. The lake is gorgeous and makes Chicago feel coastal even though it is inland.

8) Public Transportation. The train and bus system is large and good enough to make owning a car optional in many parts of the city.


1) Winter. Winter in this part of the US is an endurance event. It’s long and cold.

2) Crime. Chicago is not the most dangerous city in America and large swaths of it have very low crime rates. However, property crime and violent crime are higher here than in some peer cities. For instance, crime rates are nearly double in Chicago compared to NYC.