Which State Is Better to Live In Iowa Or Illinois?

10 minutes read

When comparing Iowa and Illinois as states to live in, several factors come into play. Firstly, both states have diverse landscapes and offer a variety of opportunities. Iowa is known for its agricultural industry, with vast farmlands and a strong economy centered around farming and manufacturing. On the other hand, Illinois has a more diverse economy, including sectors like finance, technology, and healthcare.

In terms of cost of living, Iowa generally has a lower cost of living compared to Illinois. Housing, groceries, and other essential expenses tend to be more affordable in Iowa. However, it's important to note that larger cities in both states, such as Chicago in Illinois, can have a higher cost of living.

When it comes to education, both states have good public school systems and reputable universities. Iowa is well-regarded for its commitment to education and has been recognized for having high-quality public schools. Illinois also boasts several prestigious universities, including the University of Illinois and Northwestern University.

In terms of healthcare, Illinois offers more options due to its larger population and urban centers. There are numerous world-class hospitals and medical facilities in cities like Chicago. Iowa, while having good medical facilities, may have limited options, particularly in rural areas.

In terms of recreational activities, both states offer plenty of opportunities. Iowa has beautiful state parks, hiking trails, and outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. Illinois also has its fair share of natural beauty, along with vibrant cities that offer cultural attractions, museums, and sports events.

The decision between Iowa and Illinois ultimately depends on personal preferences and priorities. If a lower cost of living, strong agricultural ties, and a more rural lifestyle are appealing, Iowa might be the better choice. However, if a more diverse economy, urban amenities, and greater healthcare options are important, Illinois might be a better fit.

How to decide between living in Iowa or Illinois?

When deciding between living in Iowa or Illinois, there are several factors to consider. Here are some key considerations to help guide your decision:

  1. Location and proximity: Identify the specific cities or regions in both states that you are considering and analyze their proximity to important factors such as job opportunities, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, amenities, and transportation options. Determine if living in Iowa or Illinois would provide better access to these resources based on your personal needs and priorities.
  2. Cost of living: Compare the cost of living in both states, including housing costs, taxes, utilities, groceries, and other daily expenses. Consider your financial situation and assess if you could comfortably afford the living expenses in either state.
  3. Job market and career prospects: Research the job market and opportunities in the fields or industries that interest you in Iowa and Illinois. Look into employment rates, average salaries, and growth prospects. Choose the state where your career has more potential or offers greater opportunities.
  4. Climate and weather: Consider the climate and weather patterns of both states. Iowa generally experiences four distinct seasons, with cold winters and warm summers, while Illinois has a similar climate but with more humidity in some regions. Think about your preferences and whether certain weather conditions would affect your quality of life.
  5. Education and schools: If you have children or are planning to pursue higher education, compare the quality of schools and educational institutions in both states. Research their rankings, extracurricular activities, and academic offerings to make an informed decision.
  6. Lifestyle and cultural factors: Think about what kind of lifestyle and cultural amenities each state offers. Consider factors like recreational activities, outdoor spaces, arts and culture scene, community events, and overall quality of life. These factors can greatly impact your happiness and well-being.
  7. Personal preferences and priorities: Take into account your personal preferences, family dynamics, support systems, and any other factors that are important to you. Assess how each state aligns with your values, interests, and long-term goals.

It's crucial to visit both states, explore their cities, talk to locals, and get a firsthand experience before making a final decision. Your personal experience and perception of each state may vary, and ultimately the decision should be based on what feels right for you and your specific circumstances.

How to research career opportunities in Iowa and Illinois?

Researching career opportunities in Iowa and Illinois can be done through various methods. Here are some steps to help you with your research:

  1. Online Job Search Platforms: Start by utilizing popular job search websites such as Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and CareerBuilder. These platforms allow you to search for job openings in specific locations and industries. Use keywords related to your desired field and filter results by location to find opportunities in Iowa and Illinois.
  2. Company Websites: Visit the websites of companies based in Iowa and Illinois that you may be interested in. Explore their "Careers" or "Jobs" section to find current openings within the organization. Some larger companies may host their own career fairs or virtual hiring events, which can be found through their website.
  3. Industry-specific Websites: Depending on your desired field, there may be industry-specific job boards or websites that list opportunities within Iowa and Illinois. For example, if you are interested in healthcare, websites like Health eCareers or HospitalCareers focus specifically on healthcare job openings.
  4. Local Job Boards: Check out local job boards or websites that cater specifically to Iowa and Illinois. These sites may include job listings from small local businesses that might not be found on larger platforms. Some examples include IowaWorkForceDevelopment.gov for Iowa or IllinoisJobLink.com for Illinois.
  5. Professional Networking: Reach out to your professional network, including friends, family, colleagues, and alumni from your school or university. They may have connections or knowledge about job opportunities in Iowa and Illinois. Utilize platforms like LinkedIn to network with professionals working in your desired locations and industries.
  6. Employment Agencies: Consider contacting employment agencies or recruiters that specialize in the Iowa and Illinois job markets. These agencies can help match your skills and experiences with suitable job openings and guide you throughout the application process.
  7. Local Career Fairs and Events: Stay updated on career fairs and job events taking place in Iowa and Illinois. These events provide an opportunity to connect with employers, learn more about different companies, and potentially secure interviews or job offers.

Remember to tailor your job search and application materials to each specific opportunity. Additionally, take advantage of professional development resources in the area, such as networking events, workshops, and industry-specific associations to enhance your career prospects.

What is the transportation infrastructure like in Iowa and Illinois?

Iowa and Illinois have well-developed transportation infrastructures, consisting of various modes of transportation including roadways, railways, airports, and waterways.


  1. Roadways: Iowa has an extensive road network, with over 114,000 miles of public roads. The state is served by nine interstate highways, including I-80, which is a major east-west corridor traversing the state.
  2. Railways: Iowa has an extensive rail network, with several major freight railroads operating through the state. It is an important transportation hub for the movement of goods and commodities.
  3. Airports: Iowa has numerous airports, with Des Moines International Airport being the largest and busiest. It provides domestic and limited international passenger flights, while smaller airports serve regional aviation needs.
  4. Waterways: The Mississippi River forms Iowa's eastern border, making it accessible for barge traffic. Several river ports along the Mississippi River and other waterways facilitate the movement of agricultural products.


  1. Roadways: Illinois has an extensive road network, with approximately 145,000 miles of public roads. It is well-connected by interstate highways, including I-55, I-57, I-70, I-80, and I-90, which facilitate transportation within the state and across the country.
  2. Railways: Illinois is a major transportation hub for rail with Chicago being a key railroad center. It has an extensive network of freight and passenger rail lines, serving both domestic and international transportation needs.
  3. Airports: Illinois is served by many airports, with Chicago O'Hare International Airport being one of the busiest airports in the world. Midway International Airport and other regional airports provide additional air transportation options.
  4. Waterways: Illinois has access to the Great Lakes through Lake Michigan, making it a vital shipping route for goods. Additionally, the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers provide inland waterway transportation for bulk commodities.

Both states prioritize maintaining and improving their transportation infrastructure to support economic development and efficient transportation of people and goods.

How to compare state income tax rates in Iowa and Illinois?

To compare state income tax rates in Iowa and Illinois, you can follow these steps:

  1. Determine the tax brackets: Obtain the current tax brackets for both Iowa and Illinois. Each bracket represents a range of income, and the corresponding tax rate is applied to that income range.
  2. Identify the income level: Determine your taxable income or the income level you would like to compare for both states. Taxable income is typically calculated as the total income minus any deductions or exemptions.
  3. Determine the tax rates: Find the tax rate applicable to your income level in each state. For example, if your taxable income falls within the $30,000 to $50,000 range, find the corresponding tax rate for that range in both states.
  4. Calculate the tax liability: Multiply your taxable income by the tax rate for each respective state. This will give you the estimated tax liability for each state.
  5. Compare the tax liabilities: Compare the resulting tax liabilities from step 4 for Iowa and Illinois. The state with the lower tax liability would require a lower income tax payment for the given income level.

Note: It's important to keep in mind that tax systems can be complex, and there may be additional factors to consider such as deductions, exemptions, and credits that can affect your overall tax liability. Therefore, if you have a more complex tax situation, it is advisable to consult with a tax professional or use online tax calculators specific to Iowa and Illinois to get accurate estimates.

What is the political climate in Iowa and Illinois?

The political climates in Iowa and Illinois differ to some extent, as they have distinct political landscapes and voting patterns. Here is a brief overview of each state's political climate:


  1. Swing State: Iowa is considered a swing state in national elections, meaning it is competitive and its voters can swing between Republican and Democratic candidates.
  2. 2016 and 2020 Elections: In the 2016 presidential election, Iowa voted for Donald Trump, a Republican candidate. However, in the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden, a Democratic candidate, narrowly won the state.
  3. Rural vs. Urban Divide: There is a notable political divide between rural and urban areas in Iowa. Rural areas tend to lean more conservative and vote Republican, while urban areas, like Des Moines and Iowa City, have a more Democratic-leaning voter base.
  4. Conservative Influence: Although Iowa has occasionally elected Democratic governors and congresspeople, the state has a traditionally conservative reputation on issues like social conservatism and agriculture.


  1. Democratic Stronghold: Illinois is generally considered a solidly Democratic state, especially in statewide and national elections.
  2. Urban Influence: The city of Chicago has a significant impact on the state's political landscape. Chicago, along with its surrounding areas, is predominantly Democratic, and its overwhelming support often outweighs more conservative-leaning rural areas.
  3. I llinois House Speaker: For many years, Michael Madigan served as the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, showcasing the Democratic Party's strong influence in state politics. However, he stepped down from the position in early 2021.
  4. Fiscal Challenges: Illinois faces fiscal challenges, including pension debt and budgetary issues that have influenced the political climate. Discussions around taxes, spending, and governance have been key aspects of the state's political discourse.

It is important to note that political climates can vary within each state, and the information provided here is a general overview.

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