This Illinois City Has Been Named the Best Big City in the U.S

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team



As per the 2024 rankings from U.S. News & World Report, Chicago, Illinois, stands out as the premier big city in the United States. With a population estimated at 2.7 million in 2020, Chicago is the third-largest and most populous city in the country. Serving as the cultural and economic hub of the Midwest and a global magnet for millions of visitors and businesses annually, Chicago boasts renown for its architecture, arts, cuisine, sports, and innovation, along with its diverse neighborhoods.

Why Chicago Tops the List as the Best Big City in the U.S.

Chicago clinches the top spot in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2024 rankings for several compelling reasons, including quality of life, job market, value, desirability, and net migration. Here’s a breakdown of the key achievements and recognitions that contribute to Chicago’s premier status:

  1. Best Places to Live and Retire:
    • Ranked #1 among the Best Places to Live in the U.S., Chicago offers a high quality of life, a robust job market, and an affordable cost of living.
    • Similarly, Chicago holds the #1 position among the Best Places to Retire, ensuring a comfortable and affordable retirement with access to healthcare, entertainment, and recreation.
  2. Quality of Life:
    • Chicago provides an elevated quality of life with over 580 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, and 200 miles of bike lanes, catering to outdoor enthusiasts.
    • The city’s cultural richness is showcased through its 200 museums, theaters, and galleries, offering a diverse artistic heritage.
    • Boasting over 7,300 restaurants, Chicago’s culinary scene ranges from iconic deep-dish pizza and hot dogs to Michelin-starred fine dining and international specialties.
  3. Strong Job Market:
    • Home to 37 Fortune 500 companies, including Boeing, McDonald’s, Walgreens, and United Airlines, Chicago has a thriving job market.
    • The city serves as a hub for finance, manufacturing, technology, healthcare, and education, with a high level of education, as 38.5% of the population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  4. Affordability:
    • Chicago maintains a lower cost of living compared to other major U.S. cities, with a median home price of $255,600 and a median household income of $63,153.
    • The city boasts a competitive sales tax rate of 10.25%, below rates in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
  5. Desirability:
    • Chicago attracts over 58 million visitors annually, ranking as the second-most visited city in the U.S. after New York City.
    • Positive net migration reflects the city’s allure, indicating a high level of satisfaction and demand among residents and newcomers alike.


In the 2024 U.S. News & World Report rankings, Chicago emerges as the best big city in the U.S. This vibrant metropolis offers a unique blend of high-quality living, a flourishing job market, affordability, and widespread desirability. With its diverse culture, rich history, and dynamic landscape, Chicago stands as an unparalleled place to live, work, and explore.

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