At the summit of Illinois, the city of Rockford is home to 150,000 people who enjoy the benefits of residing in a small town on a grand scale. This town, formerly known as Midway Village, lies between Chicago and the Mississippi River, a couple of hours from the hustle and bustle of a major metropolis.
The municipality, which markets itself as the City of Gardens, is popular with families with children and seniors who wish to experience big-city amenities at a fraction of the expense of neighboring metropolitan regions.
Although the location is only 90 minutes from downtown Chicago, it is not a suburb. It is a proud metropolis that has undergone a significant makeover to improve the quality of life for its residents.
If you’re considering moving to this town and wondering if it’s right for you, this summary can help.
Let’s determine if moving to Rockford is in your best interests.
Is Rockford a Good Place To Live In? – A Big-city Way of Life With a Small-town Vibe
The Good Side
It Offers Numerous Recreational Opportunities
It doesn’t matter what kinds of things you enjoy doing in your spare time; you’ll discover that Rockford offers many opportunities for such pursuits.
From museums and theaters to old homes and gardens, stunning parks to thrilling river activities, there is something for everyone in this city.
The great outdoors offers countless ways to occupy your time if you are a nature enthusiast. The Rockford Park District provides parks and recreational activities throughout Winnebago County that have won numerous awards.
The Anderson Japanese Gardens, a 12-acre peaceful Japanese garden, is among the many beautiful local parks and gardens you should visit when you live here. You can also visit Rock Cut State Park, which offers camping, fishing, hiking, equestrian riding, and more.
If you love history, you will also enjoy some of Rockford’s attractions, such as the Midway Hamlet Museum, which has historical artifacts and a genuine Victorian-era village.
With Mercyhealth Sportscore One and Mercyhealth Sports Core 2, UW Health Sports Factory, and various other facilities and parks to meet your needs, the region is also one of the nation’s most popular destinations for amateur sports tourism.
Aside from these, the metropolis also has a thriving restaurant and nightlife scene. When you live here, you’ll have access to a wide variety of excellent locally owned businesses and all of the well-known national chain restaurants.
It Possesses a Strong Sense of Community
The community in Rockford is incredible, and it is a large part of what makes the city so fantastic.
Living here allows you to realize that a lot is happening in society, and you can participate and contribute in many ways.
Whether it is a new event hosted by local organizations, a new local restaurant, or even the ones that currently exist, the citizens of this town collaborate to bring entertainment and a feeling of individuality to the community.
Likewise, other organizations provide social services in the surrounding area. If assistance is required, a large number of programs created to aid individuals as well as families are easily accessible. Plus, the town’s government is not only committed to the economic well-being of its citizens but also to the enhancement of their quality of life.
Rockford is an excellent place to call home if you are looking for a community that encourages its residents to collaborate through volunteer work and other means to improve the quality of life for all residents.
The Place Gives a High Value on Education
Rockford, which views education as the most critical factor in the city’s long-term success, is home to a few of the most state-of-the-art classrooms and educational initiatives in the surrounding area.
The town has a service area of 170 square miles and handles the education of more than 28,000 pupils. Within 75 miles of the region, there are more than 45 universities, and six of these institutions lie in the municipality. As a result, residents here have access to a diverse range of higher and technical education options.
The metropolis is home to numerous public and private K-12 and higher education institutions, including Rockford Public Schools District 205, the 3rd Ford Next Generation Model Community in the country.
Workforce development efforts have also emphasized higher education as a priority area. Through new cooperation between Northern Illinois University and Rock Valley College, students will be able to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering or Applied Manufacturing Technology while living in Rockford.
Also, The University of Illinois Medical School welcomes fifty new first-year students to their Rockford Campus. OSF Healthcare will partner with Rock Valley College to offer a new four-year nursing degree program.
Rockford Is a Multicultural City
Another advantage of calling Rockford home is the city’s wide cultural variety. People from all over the country have made this metropolis their permanent home.
White people make up 54.1% of the town’s population, followed by black people who make up 21.2%, Hispanic people who make up 18.4%, and Asian people who make up 3.2%.
Rockford is a city full of millennials and is well-known for being a cultural melting pot. The town’s environment also accommodates people who live a variety of lifestyles.
Moving to Rockford, Illinois, can be a fantastic decision if you consider relocating to a city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere and diverse population.
The Bad Side
The City Has an Extremely High Crime Rate
Before relocating to Rockford, Illinois, one of the most critical factors you will want to consider is the level of safety in the area. Like several other major cities in the United States, the city has a significant proportion of crime rates.
Its crime rates are 92% higher than the national average, while its violent crime rates are 203% higher. You have a 1 in 23 risk of becoming a crime victim if you reside in this community, which is less secure than 97% of American communities.
Similar to the South Side of Chicago, you should stay away from some areas to prevent any issues.
You will also notice that the Police and Emergency Services are slow to respond if you reside here. It is not strictly a negative on the town’s reputation, but if you have an emergency, the wait for assistance might be somewhat uncomfortable.
What Is the Cost of Living in Rockford? – A Budget-friendly Illinois Town
The Good Side
The City’s Cost of Living Is Affordable
Historically, the Rockford Area has a lower cost of living than the national average, comparably sized cities, many major metropolitan regions, and Midwestern cities.
The local cost of living is around 25% lower than the national average, giving residents a more excellent value for their money and enabling them to enjoy the benefits of living in a large city at a more manageable financial price.
Living here, you will also learn that the prices of everything in this town are lower than the average cost across the nation, resulting in more funds.
Rockford Provides Affordable Housing
Rockford features a large and diverse housing market. The city constantly ranks among the top five metropolitan regions in the United States for most affordable housing.
Purchasing a property in this area is often an intelligent choice for people moving here. More than 60% of its citizens own their homes. If you want to acquire a house after relocating to this town, the typical home price is $115,100, less than the national average of $291,700.
If you decide to relocate to this city, you will also have access to a wide variety of residences that are now up for rent. The metropolitan area has an average monthly rent of $670, and the percentage of residents who are renters makes up 38.9% of the total population.
The Bad Side
It Imposes Heavy Taxes
Even though property prices seem reasonable, property taxes are entirely out of hand in this city.
In 2021, residents of Rockford paid an effective property tax rate that was the second highest in the country when compared to cities with populations comparable to the town.
If you choose to make your home in this area, you should anticipate paying an effective property tax rate of 2.16%. This rate is second only to the 2.22% levied in the metropolitan area of Rochester, New York.
Aside from this property tax, you should also expect to pay the town’s sales tax rate of 8.3%, which is more than the average sales tax rate in the United States, which is 7.3%.
Another tax you will have to pay when you live in this metropolis is the average income tax rate for Illinois, which is 5.0%. This rate is higher than the average income tax rate for the United States, which is 4.6%.
Before making Rockford your new home, you should consider some factors, including the city’s high taxes, because these factors can significantly impact your finances.
Why Work in Rockford? – A Positive Business Environment
The Good Side
Rockford’s Employment Market Is Expanding
One of the advantages of choosing to live and work in Rockford is that the city’s job market is expanding.
The town is the center of several important economic sectors in the state of Illinois, including the manufacturing industry, the education sector, the metal and metal product sector, the government sector, the hospitality and food service sectors, and the financial and insurance sectors.
Since it is also home to many businesses and organizations, you will have access to various well-paying employment opportunities when you work and live here.
The job market in this region has improved due to the hiring practices of Fiat Chrysler, Rockford’s largest employer, and the Chicago-Rockford International Airport, which has also recently hired hundreds of new workers.
Also, jet repair and freight transport industries are thriving in this area, and there is optimism regarding the prospects for further expansion.
The Rockford Area Economic Development Council is also putting forth a lot of effort to advertise the region. Companies find the relatively low cost of setting up shop in this area very beneficial.
The Place Is a Bustling Manufacturing Town
More than 375,000 people call Rockford their home, and the city or its surrounding area is a central hub for manufacturing, trade, and employment opportunities.
It is still a significant manufacturing town, with 1,400 enterprises producing items in the surrounding area, which consists of the three counties of Winnebago, Boone, and Ogle.
The area is also known as a global leader in machine tools and car parts production, and it is becoming more famous as an essential center for aircraft component manufacturing.
Therefore, living and working in Rockford is a terrific decision if you are in the manufacturing industry since it can help you advance in your career.
The Bad Side
The City Has Substantial Unemployment
The high percentage of unemployment that this community is currently experiencing is one of the drawbacks of choosing to make your home here. Even though the city’s job market is thriving, its unemployment rate of 10.1% is higher than the national average of 6.0%.
Over the past year, the local job market has grown by 2.6%. However, it anticipates a future employment growth of 21.9% over the next ten years, below the US average of 33.5%.
Aside from this, the typical income in this region is not very high either. The average salary here is $21,615, which is less than the national average of $28,555. On the other hand, the annual median household income in Rockford is $38,231, which is significantly lower than the average income in the United States, which is $53,482 yearly.
Rockford is quickly becoming a popular destination because of its attractive combination of low housing costs and a thriving economy.
It is an ideal location for anyone who wishes to become engaged in their community. There are many creative opportunities, many areas to explore regardless of age, and many local small enterprises. The city does, however, have some negative aspects to it as well.
In the end, the decision of whether or not you will call this town your new home rests solely in your hands.