Calm down - take a chill pill

Star Rating 12/30/2017
Chicago is a world class city with economic and political challenges like nearly every other part of the United States. If you can get your mind to accept that reality, then maybe you can move on to embracing the cultural and historical impact this city has had and continues to have on the world. Universities with Nobel prizes, architechectural leadership, ethnic diversity, musical and theatrical excellence, numerous athletic accomplishments, world class cuisine, and many other things to get excited about. All of this wrapped in a neighbor friendly, humble, midwestern environment.

Some other comments.

Weather: The legend of the Chicago winter is far worse than the reality. Yes the entirety of the Midwest has some tough winter days, but Chicago is far from being America’s Siberia. The sun shines 54% of the time in Chicago, which is consistent with most major cities (typical range is bewtween 50-60% for cities outside of the Southwestern US). The average January low in Chicago is 19, the US average is 23. I’m going to be wearing winter clothes for either those temps. Wind - maybe the greatest Chicago Urban Myth. Chicago is the 75th windiest city in the US, the Chicago average wind speed is slightly above the US average. In fact, in many years the most uncomfortable days in Chicago are hot, humid days in July and August. On the other side of the coin, late summer and early autumn is typically spectacular in Chicago.

Crime: One of the most consistently stated pieces of disinformation in the US is the perceived upward trend of violent crime, at the national level violent crime has been steadily dropping for 3 to 4 decades. Having said this, murder rates in many major cities continue to be disturbingly high, including Chicago. However, while the gross numbers for Chicago are high (Chicago is a highly populated city), on a per capita basis Chicago is not even in the top ten for murder rate in the US. Much of the violent crime is concentrated in a few neighborhoods and every Chicago area person knows where they are.

Hypothesis: When the national media is reporting on crime, nasty weather, etc. they often in Chicago. When people are traveling, attending conferences, etc they are often going through O’Hare or in Chicago. The effect is to anchor a bias in people about Chicago, and then when you experience that one cold blustery day in Chicago or hear that one upsetting crime story, your biases are now artificially confirmed.

Is Chicago perfect? Certainly not, but when I think about Chicago in comparison to some of the other cities I have read referrals to on this review page, Milwaukee, Detroit/Ann Arbor, Clearwater, I’m happy to continue to say Chicago is doing fine.



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