Are you thinking about moving to St. Louis or moving to Chicago but aren’t sure which city is a better fit for you? Both cities are rapidly growing and are great places to live for people of all ages and families of all sizes.
St. Louis, also known as the Mound City, is the second-largest city in Missouri and is located along the Mississippi River. Once occupied by various Native American tribes, St. Louis is now known for its blues music scene, thriving arts community, and unique mix of Midwest and Southern culture. Chicago, or the Windy City, is the most populous city in the state of Illinois and is the seat of Cook County. Situated on Lake Michigan, Chicago is known for its delicious food, historic neighborhoods, and iconic landmarks. Both cities are wonderful places to live, but there are certainly opportunities and obstacles in both places. Here is everything you need to know about Chicago vs. St. Louis and choosing which city you should call home.
Table of Contents
St. Louis to Chicago Distance
How far is it from St. Louis to Chicago? It is 297 miles from St. Louis to Chicago. This is about a 4-hour and 50-minute drive.
Pros and Cons of Living in Chicago vs. St. Louis
When deciding between Chicago or St. Louis, you must weigh the positives and negatives of both cities. Here are the pros and cons to consider when comparing St. Louis vs. Chicago.
Living in Chicago pros
There are both benefits and disadvantages when living in Chicago. Chicago has a much lower crime rate than St. Louis. Chicago is also slightly easier to navigate without a car, as the public transportation system is one of the best in the country. Also, if you are a sports fan, then Chicago is home to some of the most iconic teams in the entire world.
Living in Chicago cons
While living in Chicago can be very rewarding, there are a few drawbacks to consider. Firstly, the cost of living in Chicago is very high. The Chicago cost of living is well above the national average, and it can be difficult to find a home or apartment at an affordable price. Chicago can also feel very crowded at times, with a population of over 2 million.
Living in St. Louis pros
When living in St. Louis, you can expect a lower cost of living than in Chicago. For such a big city, homes and apartments are quite affordable. St. Louis is also great for those who want to live in a big city that isn’t too crowded. The population of St. Louis is high enough to get a big city feel without feeling too crowded or overwhelmed by people all of the time. St. Louis also has a lower unemployment rate than Chicago.
Living in St. Louis cons
Just like any other city, there are pluses and minuses to living in St. Louis. St. Louis has a much higher crime rate than Chicago, although there are many programs in place to reduce crime and make the city a safer place to live. St. Louis is also not as walkable as Chicago is, and you will likely need to own a car when living in the city.
Comparisons of St. Louis vs. Chicago
Here are the ins and outs of both St. Louis and Chicago in major categories.
Chicago vs. St. Louis population
The Chicago population is 2,746,388, which is a 1.8% increase over the past decade. The St. Louis population is 301,578, which is a 5.8% decrease over the past decade. As you can see, the population of Chicago is much bigger than the population of St. Louis. If you like a bigger city feel, then Chicago may be the better choice for you. However, if you prefer a smaller city, then Chicago could be too overwhelming.
The population in both cities has not seen a dramatic increase or decline over the past decade. A recent study from United Van Lines shows that the population of St. Louis is on a decline largely due to people moving for a lifestyle change such as family or retirement rather than safety or cost of living purposes.
Cost of living in St. Louis vs Chicago
When comparing the Chicago and St. Louis pros and cons, you should consider the affordability of each city. The cost of living in St. Louis is much cheaper than the cost of living in Chicago. The Cost of Living Index in Chicago is 123.3, meaning that it is 23.3% more expensive than the national average of 100. The Cost of Living Index in St. Louis is 87.1, making it 12.9% less expensive than the national average and 36.2% less expensive than Chicago.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four would need to earn $92,894 per year to live in Chicago and $80,992 per year to live in St. Louis. The average household income in Chicago is $65,781, while the average household income in St. Louis is $48,751.
Chicago real estate is also much more expensive than St. Louis real estate. According to Redfin, the average home price in Chicago is $340,000, while the average home price in St. Louis is $229,500.
Considering renting in St. Louis or Chicago? The average rent in Chicago is nearly double that of the average rent in St. Louis. When living in Chicago, you can expect to pay an average monthly rent of $2,215, whereas St. Louis has an average rent of $1,151.
Chicago vs. St. Louis crime rates
Statistically speaking, Chicago is a much safer place to live than St. Louis. The St. Louis crime rate is 6,948 crimes per 100,000 people, which is 126% higher than the state average and 196% higher than the national average. The Chicago crime rate is 1,705 per 100,000 people. This is 14.1% lower than the state average and 27.3% lower than the national average.
Overall, the crime rate in St. Louis is 75% higher than the crime rate in Chicago.
Things to do in Chicago vs. St. Louis
Both St. Louis and Chicago are large cities and have many fun attractions and things to do. Some of the best things to do in Chicago include The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, and the Field Museum. Some of St. Louis’s top attractions include The Gateway Arch, the STL Zoo, and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Both cities are located near bodies of water, so there are endless opportunities for a beach day or a nice stroll along the lake or river.
View this post on Instagram
Weather in St. Louis vs. Chicago
Wondering about the weather in Chicago vs. St Louis? The weather in Chicago and the weather in St. Louis are quite similar. Both cities have a humid continental climate. This means that the area experiences four distinct seasons, with hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters.
Although both areas fall into the same climate classification, Chicago typically sees much more snow than St. Louis. The average annual snowfall in Chicago is 38.4 inches compared to 18 inches in St. Louis. Cold windows blow off the Chicago River, making the area more susceptible to blizzards and cooler weather.
Transportation in St. Louis vs. Chicago
Both cities have mastered the art of public transportation. St. Louis is served by MetroLink, which is the 11th-largest light rail system in the country and serves both the inner city and suburban areas. There are also more than 75 bus routes in the St. Louis area.
The Chicago Transit Authority runs the Metra, which is the nation’s second-most used passenger regional rail network and provides service to all of Chicago as well as Chicago’s suburbs. They also provide many bus routes throughout the area.
Both Chicago and St. Louis are also very walkable cities; however, Chicago is much more friendly for walkers. In fact, 27.5% of households in Chicago do not own a car.
Jobs in Chicago vs. St. Louis
Curious about the St. Louis and Chicago pros and cons when it comes to employment opportunities? Both St. Louis and Chicago have thriving economies for you to become a part of. Chicago has the third-largest gross metropolitan product in the United States and is the second-largest central business district in the United States. If you are looking for a career in finance, then Chicago is the place to be. Chicago is the headquarters for Chase Bank and is the seat of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
According to PayScale, the average salary in Chicago is $78,000, and the average salary in St. Louis is $72,000. The unemployment rate in St. Louis is 3.0%, while the unemployment rate in Chicago is 3.2%.
Sports in St. Louis vs. Chicago
When deciding between Chicago or St. Louis, you can’t forget about the amazing sports teams. Both cities have incredible sports scenes and are great places to live for fans of soccer, baseball, and hockey. Chicago is home to the Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bears, and the Chicago Bulls. St. Louis proudly represents the St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Blues, and Saint Louis FC.
View this post on Instagram
While both cities are great for sports, Chicago is home to some of the more iconic teams and offers a wider variety of sports.
St. Louis vs. Chicago: Where Are You Moving?
Now that you know the strengths and weaknesses of Chicago vs. St. Louis, which city will you call home? There are pros and cons of living in either city, but they both provide many incredible opportunities. If St. Louis is calling your name, then let our St. Louis movers assist you. If Chicago seems more your speed, then our Chicago movers will be happy to help. Feel free to contact us today at 800-747-4100 to discuss your move and receive a free quote.