Which State Is Better to Live In: Illinois Or Ohio?

11 minutes read

When it comes to deciding which state is better to live in, Illinois and Ohio both have their own unique features and advantages. Here is some information about each state:


  • Economy: Illinois has a diverse economy with sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, and services. The state offers a range of job opportunities, particularly in Chicago, which is one of the largest transportation and financial centers in the United States.
  • Education: Illinois is home to several excellent universities, including the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois. The state prioritizes education, and there are a variety of schooling options available for residents.
  • Cultural Attractions: From the bustling city life in Chicago to historical sites such as Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois offers a rich cultural experience. The state also boasts beautiful parks and the scenic shores of Lake Michigan.


  • Affordability: Ohio generally has a lower cost of living compared to Illinois. Housing, utilities, and everyday expenses tend to be more budget-friendly in Ohio, making it an attractive choice for individuals or families on a tighter budget.
  • Outdoor Activities: Ohio has a diverse landscape, including serene lakes, rolling hills, and picturesque forests. Residents can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and boating, particularly in areas such as Hocking Hills or the shores of Lake Erie.
  • Sports: Ohio is known for its passionate sports culture. The state is home to popular teams like the Cleveland Browns (football), Cleveland Cavaliers (basketball), and the Cincinnati Reds (baseball). Sports enthusiasts will find plenty of excitement within the state.

Ultimately, the decision between Illinois and Ohio as a place to live will depend on your individual preferences and priorities. Consider factors such as job opportunities, cost of living, cultural attractions, and recreational activities that are important to you to make an informed choice.

How to access recreational facilities in Illinois and Ohio?

Access to recreational facilities in Illinois and Ohio may vary depending on the specific facility, location, and current COVID-19 restrictions. However, here are some general steps to access recreational facilities in these states:

In Illinois:

  1. Determine the type of recreational facility you want to access. This can include parks, trails, community centers, swimming pools, sports complexes, etc.
  2. Check the official website or contact the specific recreational facility or park district for information regarding their operating hours, rules, and any entry fees or permits required.
  3. Familiarize yourself with any COVID-19 restrictions or guidelines in place. Many facilities may have capacity limits, mask requirements, or other safety measures due to the ongoing pandemic. Check the official website or contact the facility directly for the most up-to-date information.
  4. If required, obtain any necessary permits or passes for access. Some facilities may require a registration or membership process, especially for activities like swimming, sports leagues, or fitness classes.
  5. Follow any rules and regulations specific to the facility, such as proper attire, behavior guidelines, or equipment restrictions.

In Ohio:

  1. Identify the type of recreational facility you wish to access, such as state parks, community centers, sports complexes, or swimming pools.
  2. Visit the official website of the relevant park district, city, or facility to gather details about their hours of operation, entrance fees, and any permits or passes needed.
  3. Check for any COVID-19 related restrictions in place by referring to the website or contacting the facility directly. Regulations may include capacity limits, mask requirements, or altered operating hours.
  4. If applicable, obtain the necessary permits or passes for access. Some facilities may require registration or membership for certain activities or amenities.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the facility's rules and guidelines, including proper conduct, dress codes, and any equipment restrictions.

Remember to stay updated with the latest information on COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions in both states, as protocols can change over time. It is always advisable to contact the specific recreational facility or visit their official website for the most accurate and current information.

How to find family-friendly activities in Illinois and Ohio?

There are several ways to find family-friendly activities in Illinois and Ohio:

  1. Local tourism websites: Visit the official tourism websites of Illinois (enjoyillinois.com) and Ohio (ohio.org) to find information on family-friendly attractions, events, and activities in different cities and regions of the states.
  2. TripAdvisor: Use TripAdvisor (tripadvisor.com) to search for family-friendly activities in specific cities or towns in Illinois and Ohio. The website provides reviews and recommendations from fellow travelers, helping you make informed choices.
  3. Local event calendars: Check the local event calendars of different cities or towns in Illinois and Ohio. These calendars are usually available on official city or county websites and provide information about upcoming family-friendly events, festivals, and activities.
  4. Parenting magazines and websites: Look for parenting magazines and websites that specialize in providing information about family-friendly activities in your desired location. Examples include Chicago Parent (chicagoparent.com) for Illinois and Columbus Parent (columbusparent.com) for Ohio.
  5. Local community centers and libraries: Community centers and libraries often host family-friendly events and activities. Contact local community centers and libraries in your area to inquire about any upcoming family-friendly programs, workshops, or events.
  6. Social media groups and forums: Join local Facebook groups or forums relevant to your area, such as "Family Activities in Illinois" or "Ohio Family Fun." These groups often share information about family-friendly activities, and members can provide recommendations based on their personal experiences.
  7. Word-of-mouth: Ask friends, colleagues, or neighbors who live in Illinois or Ohio for recommendations on family-friendly activities. Personal recommendations can sometimes unearth hidden gems or lesser-known attractions that may not be widely advertised.

Remember to check the opening hours, admission fees, or any other relevant details before visiting any specific activities to ensure they meet your family's preferences and needs.

What is the tax system like in Illinois compared to Ohio?

The tax systems in Illinois and Ohio differ in several aspects, including income tax rates, sales tax rates, property taxes, and other significant factors. Here is a brief comparison of the tax systems in these two states:

Income Taxes:

  • Illinois has a flat income tax rate, meaning all taxpayers, regardless of income level, are subject to the same tax rate. Currently, Illinois has a flat tax rate of 4.95%.
  • Ohio, on the other hand, has a progressive income tax system, with various tax brackets and rates based on income levels. The highest tax rate in Ohio is 4.797%.

Sales Taxes:

  • Both Illinois and Ohio levy sales tax on most goods and services, but their rates differ.
  • In Illinois, the statewide sales tax rate is 6.25%, but the total rates vary across different local jurisdictions, which can result in combined rates of up to 11% in some areas.
  • In Ohio, the statewide sales tax rate is currently 5.75%, but similar to Illinois, local jurisdictions may impose additional taxes, resulting in combined rates that range from 6.5% to 8%.

Property Taxes:

  • Property taxes can vary significantly within states and between different localities. Comparing the entire state's property tax burdens can be challenging, as rates can differ widely based on local assessments and levies.
  • However, on average, Ohio tends to have slightly higher property taxes compared to Illinois. The median property tax rate in Ohio is around 1.56%, while in Illinois, it's approximately 2.31%.

Other Taxes and Fees:

  • Both states impose various other taxes and fees, such as corporate taxes, gasoline taxes, vehicle registration fees, and more. These rates and fees may vary, and it would require a more comprehensive analysis to determine their exact comparison.

It's important to note that tax systems can undergo changes over time, so it's advisable to refer to official government sources or consult with a tax professional for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding taxes in Illinois and Ohio.

What is the cost of living in Illinois compared to Ohio?

The cost of living in Illinois is generally higher compared to Ohio. According to data from 2021, Illinois had an overall cost of living index of 92.1, while Ohio had an index of 92.9 (with 100 being the national average). This indicates that Ohio is slightly cheaper than the national average, whereas Illinois is slightly cheaper.

Some specific factors that contribute to the cost of living include housing, transportation, groceries, healthcare, and utilities. In terms of housing, Illinois tends to have higher home prices and rental rates compared to Ohio, especially in cities like Chicago. Transportation costs, including gas prices and public transportation, can also be higher in Illinois. On the other hand, Ohio generally has a lower cost for groceries, healthcare, and utilities compared to Illinois.

It's important to note that the cost of living can vary significantly within each state, with urban areas generally being more expensive than rural areas. Additionally, personal spending habits and lifestyle choices also play a role in determining the cost of living for individuals.

What is the healthcare system like in Illinois and Ohio?

The healthcare systems in Illinois and Ohio have some similarities but also some significant differences. Here is an overview of both states' healthcare systems:


  1. Healthcare Providers: Illinois has a well-established healthcare provider network, including hospitals, clinics, and physicians, with some nationally recognized institutions. It houses multiple prestigious medical schools.
  2. Health Insurance: The state operates a health insurance marketplace called Get Covered Illinois, where residents can purchase insurance plans. The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act has also increased coverage for low-income individuals.
  3. Access to Care: Urban areas like Chicago have relatively good access to healthcare facilities and specialists. However, in rural and underserved areas, access can be limited, leading to healthcare disparities.
  4. Health System Performance: Illinois's healthcare system performance metrics are average compared to other states. The state faces challenges like high healthcare costs and varying quality of care across different regions.


  1. Healthcare Providers: Ohio also has a well-established healthcare provider network, including academic medical centers, hospitals, and community clinics. It houses prominent medical institutions and research facilities.
  2. Health Insurance: Ohio residents can access health insurance through the federal marketplace or the state-run Ohio Benefits platform. Medicaid expansion provided coverage to many low-income individuals.
  3. Access to Care: Access to healthcare services in Ohio varies by region. Some urban areas offer a wide range of providers and specialists, while rural areas face challenges with limited healthcare access, particularly in primary care.
  4. Health System Performance: Ohio's healthcare system performance is average, with variations across different regions. It faces issues like high healthcare costs, opioid crisis impact, and healthcare disparities.

Both states have made efforts to expand access to healthcare through Medicaid expansion and health insurance marketplaces. However, challenges remain in terms of healthcare affordability, access disparities (especially in rural areas), and improving overall system performance.

How to decide between living in Illinois or Ohio?

When deciding between living in Illinois or Ohio, there are several factors that you can consider to make an informed decision. Here are some important aspects to help guide you:

  1. Cost of living: Compare the cost of living between the two states, including housing prices, taxes, utilities, healthcare, and other day-to-day expenses. Consider whether your income aligns with the cost of living in each state.
  2. Employment opportunities: Research job markets and industries in both Illinois and Ohio to determine which state offers more opportunities in your field of expertise. Look for employment rates, the presence of desired companies, and growth potential.
  3. Climate and geography: Consider the climate and geography of the two states, including weather patterns, proximity to natural features (such as lakes, parks, or mountains), and your personal preference for certain types of environments.
  4. Education: If you have children or plan on pursuing further education, evaluate the quality of schools, colleges, and universities in both states. Look into public and private institutions, rankings, and available programs.
  5. Lifestyle and entertainment: Consider the lifestyle and recreational activities each state offers, such as cultural events, sports, outdoor activities, shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Think about which state aligns better with your interests and preferences.
  6. Healthcare and other amenities: Research the quality and availability of healthcare facilities, as well as other amenities like public transportation, infrastructure, recreational facilities, and access to shopping centers or malls.
  7. Family and social connections: Take into account your personal network, including friends and family, and their proximity to either state. Consider the importance of being closer to loved ones and the support they can provide.
  8. Crime rates and safety: Look into crime rates and general safety statistics of both states, considering your comfort level and the safety of your family.
  9. Taxes: Compare the tax structures in both states, including income tax rates, sales tax, property taxes, and any other relevant taxes that may affect your financial situation.
  10. Personal preferences and priorities: Ultimately, consider your individual preferences, priorities, and long-term goals. Think about which state aligns better with your lifestyle, values, career aspirations, and future plans.

By considering these factors, you can weigh the pros and cons of living in Illinois versus Ohio and make a decision that best suits your needs and circumstances. It may also be helpful to visit both states, if possible, to get a firsthand experience of what each has to offer.

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