Chicago is a great place to live in, no doubt. The metropolitan experience it offers to newcomers and locals alike is one of the main reasons why people are drawn towards this city. However, if you feel stuck in a rut in the Windy City or need a change of space, then Austin is waiting for you with open arms. Austin, the capital of Texas, not only adds character and vibrancy to the state but also contains that warm and fuzzy feeling ambiance that is essential for a person to call a place home.
Have you been considering moving from Chicago To Austin? We have compared both cities so that you can make a sound decision regarding your move!
Some Points To Consider Before Moving From Chicago To Austin
Jump Ahead To:
Winters in Chicago are blistering and frigid. You’ll miss all of that if you settle in Austin since the winters are in a way non-existent. Due to the presence of the “Blue Northers”, you might feel the temperature drop a little bit, but that’s nothing to fear since they occur infrequently. Summers in Austin are humid and can get a bit extreme with temperatures crossing 100°F. So you’ll have to pack a few extra light-colored clothes and bottles of sunscreen to combat the heat.
Cost Of Living
If you’re thinking that living in Austin is cheap, then think again because this city’s cost of living is 20% more expensive than in Chicago. Transportation, utilities, and groceries are slightly towards the higher end in Austin, but the real deciding factor in pushing the affordability margin in this city is the real estate rates. Purchasing a house in Austin is 90% more expensive than in Chicago.
Median Home Cost in Chicago – $291,200
Median Home Cost in Austin – $551,200
Rent rates in Austin are somewhat similar to the rates in Chicago. However, the rates fluctuate according to the locality and size of the apartment. Here’s a table for you to compare the rents in Chicago and Austin simultaneously:
Where taxes in Austin are concerned, there’s some good news for you as the city has no income taxes whereas Chicagoans pay an income tax rate of 5%. Also, the sales tax rates in Austin are much lower than in Chicago: sales tax rate in Austin – 8.3%, sales tax rate in Chicago – 10.3%.
With an impressive economy of $159 billion, Austin has a steady job market that has attracted many young professionals from across the state or even the country. The presence of many known tech industries in Austin has made it one of the best places in the country to find lucrative opportunities in the tech field. Adding to Austin’s tech-savvy nature, we have pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as well contributing to the economy and job market of the city.
If you’re a career-driven person looking for a city with immense resources, then Austin is one of Texas’ best places to live in. To give you a broader understanding of Austin’s economy, take a look at some of its major employers that have been influential in making the city a tech giant:
With such a booming economy with numerous job opportunities, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Austin has an unemployment rate lower than Chicago’s and the national average. Austin’s unemployment rate stands at 5.1% whereas the unemployment rate in Chicago is 9.0%.
Also, you’ll earn more in Austin than in Chicago, all thanks to its tech industry. Here’s what an Austinite and a Chicagoan typically earn per year:
Median Household Income
Average Income Per Year
Now we come to one of the most deciding factors when one thinks of before moving to a state. And that is transportation.
Chicago has an extensive network of buses and trains (including the famous L train) reaching nearly all parts of the city. That’s why Chicagoans prefer using the city’s public transit to get to places to such an extent that they have even given up driving. On the other hand, Austin is heavily car-dependent. Even though its public transportation system is pretty decent, Austinites still prefer driving since it’s easier to travel to some areas of the city by car rather than waiting for a bus or train. As a result, this has caused the frequency of traffic jams to rise in Austin.
To avoid those congested traffic jams, here are some other modes of transportation you can use to get across or within Austin.
Metro Rail: Runs between Downtown and Leander on weekdays. On weekends, this rail line commutes passengers between Downtown and Lakeline.
Capital Metro: Getting around Austin by bus has never been easier. CapMetro has approximately 80 bus routes spread across the city.
By Foot: Austin is a pretty walkable city, especially the Downtown region. Shops and hotels are just a 5-10 minute walk from your place of stay.
If you’re searching for a family-friendly neighborhood to move to in Austin, add Tarrytown to your list. Located just west of Mopac and north of Lake Austin, this quaint neighborhood is known for its quirky shops, magnificent homes, and pretty lakes.
You’ll find many early twentieth-century styled homes surrounding its neighborhoods and that’s why buying a house might be a bit expensive. Adding to that, Tarrytown is home to a vast array of restaurants and coffee shops that add a certain character and vibe to the overall feel of the neighborhood. Only catch? It’s not exactly cheap!
Median Home Value: $1,350,000
Monthly Median Rent: $2,819
Annual Median Household Income: $160,226
If you’re looking for a quiet neighborhood away from the hustle and bustle of heavy traffic noise, then Allandale will be right for you. This much sought-after neighborhood, located in north-central Austin, houses many amenities such as indoor sports parks, recreational centers, and municipal swimming pools. Once you reach Allandale, you’ll find that shops, restaurants, and supermarkets are near each other as well. So now you won’t have to walk or drive for long distances if you desire to have a meal right after a shopping spree in the supermarket.
Median Home Value: $478,021
Monthly Median Rent: $1,712
Annual Median Household Income: $102,516
Not many people have been thinking about Hancock as a neighborhood to move to because it’s not as extravagant as compared to Austin’s other neighborhoods. But we still think that Hancock is a good place to move in Austin because of its robust higher secondary education system. McCallum High School has several notable influential figures that have passed from this institution and have also received numerous awards for its quality faculty and educational programs provided. If you’re seeking a quality education for your child, then Hancock is the place you should move to.
A trip from Chicago to Austin is about 1,163 miles. Such a long distance, interstate move requires a lot of planning, patience, and most importantly, a substantial amount of money.
Also, factors such as time and distance of the location affect costs as well. According to the size of the move, here’s a rough amount of the prices moving companies generally offer:
Size Of The Move
Professional Moving Company
Moving Container Company
Freight Trailer Company
Truck Rental Company
$1,723 – $2,989
$1,797 – $2,275
$1,426 – $2,027
$1,082 – $1,460
$1,921 – $3,452
$2,287 – $2,888
$1,665 – $2,365
$1,108 – $1,497
$2,651 – $4,107
$2,703 – $3,415
$1,856 – $2,635
$1,266 – $1,708
We recommend that you chalk your plan 2-3 months in advance before your move. By doing this, you will have more time to prepare and more time to concentrate on other important things such as paying utilities, getting signatures, and saying goodbye to friends. Also, try having a checklist of all the articles you need to transport and separate them into two categories: important and unimportant. The unimportant ones can be sold and the profit can be used to fund your move.
If it’s budget you’re concerned about, you can rent a moving truck. But remember that you’ll have to do all the loading and unloading, and also drive the truck to the location. It’s no simple feat.
On the other hand, if it’s comfort you seek, simply hire a professional moving company. Let the professionals take care of all the packing, unpacking, loading, and unloading. Some of these moving companies even offer junk removal, but it is a separate service altogether. However, if you bundle their junk removal services with their main ones such as loading, unloading, etc., you can get a small discount on your move.
Austin has everything you could ever ask for. Granted, the city is more expensive than Chicago and the summers might be a bit too much (the same could be said for Chicago’s winters!), but it does have a good economy, a vibrant lifestyle, and beautiful neighborhoods. If all these qualities appeal to you, then moving from Chicago to Austin might be a move that works for you perfectly!
How Much Does It Cost To Move From Chicago To Austin?
Moving from Chicago to Austin will cost you approximately $1,005 to $5,700. But the overall cost is influenced by various factors such as the date and time of the move, the size and location of the place, and the net weight of your move. Moving companies have their own set of price ranges and packages; therefore, don’t settle for the first mover you find. Expand your options by researching at least 2-3 more to have a better picture of the price range of these moving companies.
What Salary Do You Need To Live Comfortably In Austin?
Austin has a median household income of $55,216. So if you go by the 50-30-20 rule (50% of your salary for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% into savings), you’ll need around $53,225 per year to live comfortably in Austin. That still leaves you with over $1,000 more to spend at the end of the year.
Is Austin Cheaper Than Chicago?
Austin is a slightly expensive city to live in if you compare the cost of living in Chicago or even Texas. Housing is the main factor that bumps up the cost of living in Austin, so if your income per year is below the national average, then affording this city might be slightly difficult.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.