This is the part two of our piece on the Top 10 U.S. States by Population. If you missed part one of the Top 10 U.S. States, you can read it here.
Largest Cities: Chicago, Aurora, Joliet, Rockford
Cost of Living: Illinois has a higher average income than the rest of the country by about $3,000 — but the cost of living is actually right around average. Again, Chicago plays a significant role in driving up prices but housing costs are largely to blame.
Illinois is the third flattest state in the country, just behind Louisiana and Florida – parts of which are below sea level. That’s what creates Illinois’ legendary storms and windy, windy weather, and how Chicago came to be known as the Windy City.
Although you may primarily think of Chicago when you think of moving to Illinois, the state has a wide variety of landscapes to suit all desires. Head towards Lake Michigan, settle in the wide expanses of the plains, or rub shoulders in Chicago’s high rises. Wherever you land, make sure you get a good deep dish pizza done right. Illinois residents are proud of their hefty pies.
Largest Cities: Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo
Cost of Living: Significantly more affordable than average on all fronts, Ohio is actually a great place to go for housing whether you’re planning to rent or own. Aside from notably low home costs, the rest of your daily expenses will probably be fairly close to average.
Ohio has the largest population of Amish in the country. What does that mean? If you ever come across an Amish breakfast restaurant, no matter what time of day, you must stop. Also, they build the best furniture around.
Why move to Ohio? One word: sports. Ohioans take their sports seriously all year round. You should probably decide which sports team you want to root for, and then choose your city from there because Cincinnati and Cleveland just don’t get along. If you’d like to pretend you’re beyond the sports frenzy, move to Columbus. Or so we hear.
Largest Cities: Atlanta, Columbus, Augusta, Macon
Cost of Living: Housing costs in Georgia are a bit below national average, but otherwise you’ll find living in the Peach State to be right around average for the rest of the country. Food may cost slightly higher in some areas.
Georgia is home to the largest swamp in the US: Okefenokee covers 700 square miles along the southeast border of the state, and is quite magnificent with its floating peat mats and canoeable waterways.
Sweet Tea, year-round summer weather, and the savannahs of Georgia are an invitation to a slower pace of life. Outside of the bustle (and heat) of Atlanta, much of Georgia is quite rural and remote. Take a hike at the start of the Appalachian Trail, canoe the Okefenokee waterways, or enjoy the historic Victorian-era landmarks that still tell the story of a somewhat-sordid history of southern plantation life. Life is just a little bit sweeter in the Peach State.
Largest Cities: Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham
Cost of Living: Right around national average, with housing costs coming in slightly lower than national average. All other costs are on par with national rates.
Asheville, NC, is home to an incredible number of artists, outdoor enthusiasts, and breweries — the highest per-capita density in the U.S., in fact.
Wondering why you should move to North Carolina? If you’re ready to proudly wear your Tar Heels regalia and declare that you now bleed blue, you’ll find you’re welcomed with open arms. Cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway, hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and chow down on some authentic southern cooking. Hope you like collard greens.
Largest Cities: Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, Sterling Heights
Cost of Living: On this list, Michigan is the most affordable place to live with costs below national average. The one category where you’ll spend more is on utilities — but with those cold winters, you could probably have guessed as much.
Michigan has the largest freshwater coast in the United States with 3,288 miles of coastline, spread across four lakes. That’s also one of the longest coastlines in the country!
Why move to the Mitten State? Whether you love winter, the great outdoors, or the Great Lakes, there’s plenty of outdoors to keep you wandering the landscape for a long, long time. Visit the Upper Peninsula (also known as the “Yoopers” to the locals) for some truly wild country, and then return to the Flatlanders and get a dose of culture in Detroit.