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United States of America (USA) - Illinois

Illinois is the 21st state of the United States of America; it is the 25th largest state in terms of area and the 5th largest in terms of population. The state capital of Illinois is Springfield although the largest city is Chicago. Other major cities in Illinois include Aurora, Rockford and Joliet. Illinois borders 5 states: Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Iowa and Missouri. There is also a border with Michigan but this is a water boundary on Lake Michigan and not a land border.

The Illinois climate is varied throughout the state due but is mainly hot summers and cold winters. The southern most parts of the state are usually a subtropical climate which gets more rainfall than the more northerly parts of the state. Politically, 3 presidents all lived in Illinois when elected (Lincoln, Grant and Obama) although only one president (Reagan) was actually born in the state.

Illinois – Employment

The unemployment rate in Illinois is almost 11%, although this is lower than it has been previously and is expected to continue to drop. The rate is slightly higher than the national average. Agriculture is one of the main industries, with corn, wheat and dairy products among the main produce. Those with a background in farming will find that there are always farms for sale but it is a risky prospect for those who are new to the business. Work on farms is usually casual and seasonal.

Manufacturing is a major contributor to the Illinois economy and many of the companies are located in and around the Northeastern Opportunity Return Region. Chemical and machinery manufacturers are the largest employers and there are opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers. Tourism is strong in the state, particularly around Chicago and work is available in this area but is again mainly seasonal and there is much competition for vacancies.

Illinois – Property

Chicago is a very diverse city and is very welcoming to expats. There are many different districts to choose from and each has their advantages and disadvantages. Anderson and Lincoln Squares are home to the Swedish and German sections of town. The many cultures in the area mean that expats are made very welcome and there are a number of European shops that can help newcomers to feel at home. In contrast, the Pullman Historic District is filled with old style row houses. There are guided tours of the area so there are many tourists there each day, but the district is much sought after. Properties are priced at higher than the regional average and this is mainly due to the demand.

The Hyde Park area is home to the wealthier residents of the city and there are many luxury mansions in the district. Prices are obviously very high in this area. The Devon Avenue area is a very multi-cultural part of the city, with Indian and Russian influences in the area. This is the place to go for ethnic shops and restaurants and properties on offer range from apartments to family homes. The property prices in this area are very reasonable and there are many properties available to rent.

The city of Rock Island also has much to offer the new resident, but on a much smaller scale then Chicago. The Arts and Entertainment district has properties which date from the mid 1870s. The area is filled with theatres and art galleries and attracts young professionals. There are mainly apartments in the area and new developments are ongoing. Property prices are reasonable, but expected to rise as the development continues.

The Broadway Historic District is filled with period homes and is a much sought after district of Rock Island. The area is known for its friendly community feel and there is a neighbourhood association which is known to be friendly and effective. Property prices are high but the district offers the resident everything they need for daily life, including schools, shops and restaurants. The Douglas Park district is filled with single family homes, many of which are single storey residences, although there are a couple of apartment complexes in the area. Prices are very reasonable and there are many residents associations and societies to help newcomers to the area to integrate.

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