Chicago is a beautiful city. It has many things to offer such as high economic growth, mouth watering food, infinite recreational opportunities, and diverse communities. But it’s not for everyone.
Today I will discuss the different reasons why people regret moving to Chicago. I know, this is somewhat counter intuitive for me, a Chicagoland real estate agent, to do this. But it is my fiduciary duty to warn you of the drawbacks of living here.
First let me give you an overview of what Chicago offers. There are many companies and businesses to support and work for, including the food scene. If you enjoy professional sports, Chicago is unbeatable. Even if you are not a sports fan, there is much to do. Boating on Lake Michigan, wandering through Navy Pier or Millennium Park, or climbing to the top of the Sears Tower are all popular tourist attractions. As a local, you can participate in these activities on a regular basis and learn about new ones.
But it’s not ideal for everyone. There are many things that make people regret moving here. High cost of living and taxes, harsh weather, terrible traffic and high crime rates are just a few of the inconveniences and negatives.
Let’s get started. Here are the main reasons why people regret moving to Chicago.
6 reasons why people regret moving to Chicago
a. High expenses due to weather and taxes
The first thing I gotta warn you about? Living in Chicago is it is expensive. Groceries, insurance, parking/parking tickets, city stickers, and red light ticket "traps" are all burdens to Chicagoans’ budgets.
One reason why everything is expensive here is because well, practically everything is taxed. Many people who move into Chicago often regret their decision because they get priced out of Chicago comforts.
Another huge contributor to high living expenses in Chicago is the harsh weather. The "Windy City '' earned its moniker because the breeze may be downright unpleasant at times, depending on how the pressure systems pass over the area due to Lake Michigan's proximity. When you live here, you will also experience the normal Midwestern seasons, which include hot and humid summers and cold and snowy winters. During December and January, it is not uncommon for temperatures to drop below zero, with wind chills in the -30s. When summer arrives, temperatures that exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit are not uncommon.
You will spend a lot of money on clothes because you can experience up to four seasons in one day. You need to be an expert in dressing in layers. And of course, footwear is a must. You need boots, flip flops and other shoes to travel around the city.
Then the fluctuating weather also leads to high utility bills. You will pay a lot for maintenance, repairs, and heating. So many non-Chicagoans get sticker shock and can face debts and poverty because of the high standard of living in the city.
b. Chaos due to crimes
Second, many people regret experiencing the chaos of Chicago crime.
Chicago is also notorious for its crime, having once been the home of Al Capone. Petty crime is one problem, but some of the city's residential districts have become hotspots for gang-related violence, resulting in some worrying numbers. There are also riots and violent protests.
2021, based on the records of the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County Medical Examiner's office, is one of the deadliest years in at least the last quarter-century - with 800 reported homicides. And the majority of criminal activity in Chicago are thefts, burglaries, and robberies of cash, property and vehicles.
c. Other cities of current Chicagoans have a better public mass transit
Many people who regret moving to Chicago cite the Chicago transportation system as a huge factor. They miss the convenience of the subway more than anything else--especially with the CTA repairs going on right now. New Yorkers and other non-native Chicago residents prefer better subways to ride on with ease rather than having to bump elbows with passengers early in the morning.
One silver lining in its dark problem is Chicago’s infrastructure plans. The City of Chicago has partnered with many real estate development companies like Related Midwest to revamp the transportation routes within the city. This includes building and repairing bridges, rerouting roads, and working on more subways and train stations.
d. Endless construction within the city (causing obstructions)
Unfortunately, the big plans of revamping Chicago infrastructure brought another negative to living in Chicago - obstructions.
Several concurrent construction projects have homeowners and businesses seething. There’s a lot of noise pollution and accident hazards. Due to continuing and overlapping construction projects, many businesses lost revenue due to reduced foot traffic.
There are closed walkways and signs that warn "Road Construction Ahead" or "Local Access Only" almost everywhere in Edgebrook. Big trucks rumble, cement mixers churn, and vehicles impatiently sit in stop-and-go traffic. The influence is felt on residential streets as well. Several sewer lines have been restored, and workmen are currently working on replacing gas lines.
These never-ending construction projects cause a lot of inconveniences, especially traffic, that affect Chicago residents. Having to live with these everyday can be exhausting. Hence, some residents choose to leave the city for a more peaceful and less stressful community.
e. Poor education
The Chicago Public School system is very tough. Your educational prospects depend largely on the neighborhood you live in. You cannot just enter any high schools or colleges. The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) divides the city into four socioeconomic "tiers," with Tier 1 residents receiving less money and having less education, and Tier 4 residents earning more money and having more education.
Most neighborhoods’ public schools suffer from poor quality. They are understaffed and underfunded. Skilled teachers often go on strikers due to poor pay and benefits. So there is not enough resources required to reach students.
For families, this is something they regret because they value quality education but also struggle with finding affordable education in Chicago.
The majority of students in Chicago's lowest 10% of elementary and high schools lack fundamental reading, science, and math skills. In practically every way, they are substantially behind their counterparts.
Students in Chicago's lowest-performing high schools drop out at roughly 12 times the rate of ordinary Illinois students, with 36 percent dropping out compared to 3 percent. All of these numbers add up to something. They combine to generate a sequence of challenges that are simply too difficult for many students to conquer. Worse, they could lead to poor job prospects and even homelessness.
f. Political corruption
Last but not the least, Chicago suffers from extreme political corruption. Many Chicagoans complain about this issue with others both in online forums such as Quora and in candid blog posts. According to a new analysis by University of Illinois at Chicago professor and former Ald. Richard J. Daley, Chicago remains the most corrupt city in the United States, and Illinois is the third most corrupt state.
According to the WTTW, the feds logged 26 total corruption convictions in the Chicago-based Northern District in 2019, with an additional six across the state. Four governors, as well as numerous elected officials, judges, and public employees, have been sentenced to prison for corruption. And of course, we shouldn’t forget the era of mob-connected, greasy politics that existed earlier in Illinois and Chicago's history.
So I’m sure, after learning these issues about Chicago, you may wonder: Is it still worth it to live in Chicago?
YES! In spite of several commentaries that say that Chicago is on a downward spiral, the reality is that the city is still flourishing. It still offers a wide variety of job opportunities for diverse industries. Its neighborhoods are thriving with a strong sense of community. The good culture surrounding each community is undeniable and there are so many good places to go and take some time off. Moreover, the government’s efforts in ensuring that safety is still at its number one priority list.
No city, state, nor country is perfect. It will always have its flaws. And Chicago is not an exception to that. The good thing about this state, it never succumbs to any crisis. It gets its way back up to change, improve, and provide for its residents.