Chicago is a Mini NYC
I've lived in Chicago since 1999, relocated from Pittsburgh after attending college in Virginia.
Chicago has 77 neighborhoods. Very diverse population from all around the world. People claim it's very segregated. In my experience those who feel that way were born and raised here. They tend to stick to their side of town and dont venture outside of what they are accustomed to. On the other hand, migrants to Chicago are naturally more curious and venture all over the city, there is much to discover.
The Northside is the most diverse area by far, it's a true melting pot. Every race and culture you can think of you can find it.
The Southside is the largest part of the city which has the largest combination of African American, Latinos, Asians, Irish, And a good mixture of Africans and Caribbean people sprinkled throughout.
The Westside is mixture of African American, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cubans, Mexicans, Guatemalans, Ukrainians, Italians...
The Northwest side you will find lots of Eastern European, Greeks, Italians, Polish, Irish, Latinos, and mostly general Caucasian Americans.
Once you hit the suburbs, especially going northwest you will find more Polish, Lots of Russians and Ukrainian(who left the city from Ukrainian village) in Buffalo Grove, Greeks, Italians who move outside of the city from Little Italy.
Taxes are high in the Chicago metro area. Public schools reflect the economic demographics of the city. Some great, some pathetic. Plenty of options to choose from. Lots of parochial options for different Faith's as well.
Violent Crime the media capitalizes on for ratings and sensationalism. Many gave bought into the hype of it. The reality is Chicago is 25th on the list of violent crime per capita. Either way the guns and gangs need minimizing. Out of 77 neighborhoods, maybe 6 or 7 are serious problem areas. You still have 70 other areas to choose from. The city is huge. Not to mention the great suburbs available in every direction.
This city is never boring, so many things to get into, the Arts(performing and fine),
Sports: Professional(Bulls, Bears, White Sox, Cubs, Fire, Blackhawks)(Arena sports), Collegiate, Semi Pro, Club leagues, or attending high school sports. Very competitive.
Ice Skating rinks indoor and outdoors around the city. Many soccer clubs you will see in Sling and Summer out in the many parks around town.
The Chicago Park district has many league sports for youth, and many festivals in Spring, Summer and early Fall.
Many marathons available.
The bar scene and night life is always a main attraction around town.
The Food scene has been nationally ranked #1 two years in a row. I personally think only NYC can compete.
Transportation is very accessible. The city has CTA train and buses covering the entire city. The Suburbs have the Pace Public bus and Metra commuter trains that extend far out into other counties in ever direction possible, even into Wisconsin and Border Indiana.
There is plenty traffic during rush hour like any major big city. Personally I make it a point to live near public transportation routes just in case the car has problems.
Two major Airports and a few smaller ports. Amtrak, Greyhound, Megabus.
The economy has its challenges, but overall the job market is steady year over year in all major sectors. The biggest sectors being : Transportation, I.T., Healthcare, Legal field, Hospitality, Food, Retail is major, Education, including higher education.
I am no fan of winter season at all, but Chicago does a great job cleaning the streets up fast, they are prepared for it.
Although, Streets and Sanitation needs a lot of work, they are slow to fix roads, especially in Black and Latino neighborhoods.
Public Housing is an ongoing challenge that requires a lot of correction.
Police Department has a very bad reputation, even with the major hiring they keep doing. The policies and training requires a major overhaul. Changes are happening now, but so much damage has been done to peoples live it will take years for the inner city to rebound from it.
The allocation of funding and support for schools in minority areas is also a major concern that needs emergency attention.
As far as budgets, pensions, unions, and courts..., well I'm sure you watch the news.
Basir | Chicago, IL