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+5.3% since 2010
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Peoria is a pleasant, small community that is one of the oldest cities in the state. It is a business, industrial, and agricultural center known as the headquarters for Caterpillar, Inc. and the heavy-equipment industry. It is also home to the United States Agricultural Research Laboratory. Consistent with its mainstream Midwestern stereotype, life in Peoria is generally quiet. Downtown is clean and unremarkable but has some new entertainment venues, including a new museum center, civic center and high-rise residential units. The Illinois River waterfront is nice, and attractive older residential areas surround the city in the nearby hills.
Cost of living and home prices are attractive, especially on a national scale. The nature of Caterpillar and the equipment business suggests economic cycles. There have been periods of extended economic malaise, but the industrial/commercial base is growing and diversifying. Peoria is home to the 6,000-student Bradley University, and educational attainment is high for a small town. The city is also home to a strong healthcare sector, including three hospitals and the University of Illinois College of Medicine.
Peoria is situated next to the Illinois River in a shallow river valley, surrounded by gently rolling terrain. The climate is continental with typically changeable weather and a wide range of temperatures. Summer is generally pleasant, with some humid periods mid-season. Most precipitation falls in summer, mainly as thunderstorms. Falls are pleasant, with frequent periods of long, warm, dry days. Winter brings a mix of rain and snow. First freeze is late October, last is late April.
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