Chicago is one of the largest and the third most populous cities in the United States. It’s a hub of art, culture, and museums that are located on the shores of stunning Lake Michigan.
With the high skylines, the gorgeous surroundings, and umpteen shopping centers, Chicago offers a wholesome living experience, and deciding to move away from the charms of the Windy City must not have been the easiest.
But whatever the reason may be, we’ve got you! Accurate information and prior knowledge about the city you have decided to move to can help make your move a breeze.
Moving from The Windy City to The Big Guava can be a huge change and will certainly be a unique experience that we can help you with.
Tampa is a beautiful and growing city in the state of Florida. Knowing everything that will change for you once you finally move from Chicago to Tampa will not only help save you from cultural shock but will also help you to be better prepared in terms of life and finances.
Here’s all you need to know about moving from Chicago to Tampa.
Things To Know Before Moving From Chicago To Tampa
Chicago has long summers and winters with both lasting for approximately 3.5 months each. Chicago summers are hot, humid, and wet with an average temperature of 73°F and July being the hottest month.
The winters, on the contrary, are cold, windy, and snowy with January being the coldest month and an average temperature of 43°F.
As compared to Chicago, Tampa has short winters while the summers stay as long as 4.9 months. Going along with Floridian expectations, the summers in Florida are long, dominating, and humid with an average daily high temperature above 86°F.
The summer season usually sustains from May to October with July being the hottest month of the year. Winters are short and barely stay for 3 months with January being the coldest month. The winters in Tampa have an average daily high temperature below 74°F.
2. Population Profile
Chicago is a gigantic city with a population of 2,746,388 people and 795 constituent neighborhoods. It is the most populous city in the state of Illinois and moving from Chicago will certainly be a good call in case you are looking for a quieter place.
Tampa is a better choice because it is way less populated and has a population of 384,959 people and only 177 constituent neighborhoods.
One really good part about moving to Tampa can be that it will not only offer you a less crowded setting but also diversity. Tampa’s population is pretty diverse.
The city has a White majority of 65.41%, 23.62% Black or African Americans, and 4.31% Asians. The most common European ancestry groups include German (9.2%), Irish (8.4%), English (7.7%), Italian (5.6%), and French (2.4%).
Tampa is also an LGBTQIA+-friendly city and has a large gay population and culture known as the GaYbor District.
3. Language And Culture
Chicago is a heavily English-speaking city and it is the same case when it comes to Tampa too. In Chicago, nearly 80% of the population speak English natively, while most of the others speak it fluently as a second language. 71.98% of Tampa residents speak only English, while 28.02% speak other languages too.
The non-English language spoken by the largest group in Tampa is Spanish, which is spoken by 20.71% of the population. Chicago is certainly a hub of culture, arts, and all things music but Tampa has its own unique aspects for you to explore.
Tampa has a vibrant history and has been growing exponentially culture-wise. Also known as Cigar City, Tampa is home to various ethnicities and has individuals from over 130 nationalities and the city celebrates them all.
The heavy Cuban influence, following the migration of the famous Vicente Martinez Ybor in 1885, can also be seen in many areas like Ybor. Food makes a huge part of any culture and Tampa has its own intriguing sensibilities when it comes to cuisines.
The heavy Cuban influences can be seen in the food too as the Cuban Sandwich is one of the most popular foods in Tampa. Guava is also a very popular food item that remains in the center of many dishes in Tampa. One bite of a guava cheese pastry might change your entire definition of desserts.
4. Economy And Employment Opportunities
Chicago’s major employment comes from the industries of manufacturing, printing, publishing, insurance, transportation, financial trading, and food processing while Tampa is ranked as the third best city in Florida to find a job in, so you can certainly be relaxed about the employment opportunities available there.
Tampa is known as the economic hub of West Florida with plenty of diverse fields offering multiple job opportunities for you to grab. Some of the major fields are tourism, health care, finance, insurance, technology, construction, and the maritime industry.
The unemployment rate in Chicago is way higher than in Tampa, so you have a good possibility to secure a well-paying job. Chicago’s unemployment rate is 9.0%, while Tampa’s unemployment rate is only at 5.0%.
Tampa’s overall cost of living is way cheaper than Chicago so you will be saving in many departments and taxes is one of them. Chicago has ranked number 2 as a major city with sales tax rates as high as 10.25%, so trust us, your bank account will certainly feel much better once you move to Tampa!
Tampa’s sales tax is only 7.50% of which 6% is Florida’s state tax. Property tax is also lesser in Tampa as compared to the White City. In Chicago, you will need to pay 1.22 % while in Tampa, it is a 0.83% average effective property tax rate.
6. Purchasing A House
Tampa is a way cheaper option when it comes to the overall cost of living which is applicable in housing too.
Chicago is an expensive city and the costs are extremely high especially when it comes to housing. You will be able to achieve a better standard of living in Tampa with less money as compared to Chicago.
If you plan to purchase a house, the median house value in Tampa is $238,900 while it’s a whopping $303,559 in Chicago!
7. Renting A House
Renting a house can be a hassle and with the sky-high rental costs of Chicago, it is, no doubt, difficult. You are in luck now that you are moving to Tampa because it is going to be a joyride when compared to Chicago.
The median rental costs in recent years in Tampa come to around $1,131 per month while it is $2,091 in Chicago. This difference over the course of years can end up saving you big bucks while residing in the Big Guava.
Without a doubt, Chicago is one of the most desirable places when it comes to education, as it also offers a safe space for international students. It has a high standard but is one of the most expensive cities when it comes to education.
Though the state of Florida gets a bad rep when it comes to education, the city of Tampa certainly is a good place when it comes to learning and advancement. With over 80 colleges in the city and growing educational infrastructure, it is one of the best cities in the state when it comes to higher education.
Colleges like Eckerd College, Florida College, South University Tampa are some widely acclaimed institutions in the city, especially for social sciences and arts.
It is also cheaper in Tampa as compared to Chicago as in Tampa, each student is expected to pay 36.1% less than in Chicago. The student-teacher ratio is 15.9% lower in Tampa than in Chicago.
9. Utility Bills
The overall utility bills in Tampa are cheaper than in Chicago. Basic utility bills in Chicago might cost you approximately $163.05 while they will probably cost you around $154.85 in Tampa–almost 5.03% cheaper!
The mobile bills will also cost you 50% less in Tampa when compared to Chicago. Internet bills range higher in Tampa ($58.30) as compared to Chicago ($66.09).
In Tampa, the average monthly water expenses rest at $46.50, while in Chicago, it is slightly lesser – $40.
10. Crime Rate
Chicago is a relatively unsafe city with a high crime rate.
Though the crime rate in Tampa is high, it is lower when compared to Chicago. Chicago’s crime rate for violent crimes is 49.9% while it is 36% for Tampa.
Crimes related to property are also lower in Tampa (33.3%) as compared to Chicago (46.3%.)
11. Getting Around
The biggest disadvantage of living in Chicago is the excruciating commute time it would take you to go around the city which will certainly be much more convenient if you decide to move to Tampa.
The overall transportation is also cheaper in Tampa when compared to Chicago. Here are some ways you can get around Tampa Bay:
There are plenty of options for getting around Tampa by road. There are over 200 bus services in the Tampa Bay area giving you a pocket-friendly option to travel by.
You can also go for private travel options like Coat Bike Share, Car Rentals, Transportation Management Services, Ubers/LYFT, TECO Line Streetcar, etc.
Chartered buses are also available for you to go around the city.
The passengers who prefer to commute by rails also have plenty of options to select from. Tampa Union Station is one of the major train stations in the Tampa Bay area where many intercity and interstates trails operate from. There is also an Amtrak Train Station in Tampa.
Tampa Union Station has daily train service provided by Amtrak’s New York-Miami Silver Star. The train travels to the cities in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, and the Northeast, along with which it also serves Miami.
Cities within Florida served directly from Tampa include Orlando, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale, as well other intermediate points where you can find trains that run daily or the ones that go to a specific place on a particular day.
If you want to travel through the air, Tampa is home to three international airports–Tampa International Airport (TPA), Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), and the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE)–with flights connecting you to anywhere across the globe.
They offer domestic and international non-stop flights to the destination of your choice to save your time while also helping you cover miles.
Tampa is blessed when it comes to water and is surrounded by it. In the Bay area, you will have plenty of water transportation to enjoy and travel using.
You can hire a private water taxi, water bikes, cruises, E Boats, and Riverwalk Boating Co. to explore the city through the water.
Popular Neighborhoods To Live In Tampa
Tampa has plenty of serene and peaceful neighborhoods with good schools and surroundings where you can start your life and raise a family. Here are a few you could consider moving to:
1. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city of Tampa. It is famous for its restaurants, quality housing, historic spots, and nightlife. It is a huge plus for shopaholics because of its many shopping centers.
The University of Tampa is also located in Hyde Park which is one of the most reputable universities in Tampa. Hyde Park has SoHo and Hyde Park Village and is home to plenty of upscale residential living options. If you want a place with values and a good society, Hyde Park can be your pick.
Median Home Value: $499,784
Average Market Rent: $1,868/month
Median Household Income: $132,693 (After Taxes)
2. Palma Ceia
Located southwest of Tampa, Palma Ceia is an extremely popular neighborhood in the city. It is home to the Palma Ceia Country Club–which is a famous golf club in the region.
The streets in Palma Ceia are inspired by the Cuban origins of the city, so it is a culturally rich neighborhood. Palma Ceia is home to some of the best-rated cafes in the entire Tampa area and is also famous for its boutiques. It is considered one of the best places to live in because of its safe and beautiful areas that are surrounded by nature, parks and offer a dense suburban feel to the residents.
The public school system in Palma Ceia is yet another reason behind its popularity, so you can be assured of the quality of education.
Median Home Value: $546,007
Average Market Rent: $1,979/month
Median Household Income: $135,034 (After Taxes)
3. Harbour Island
Many reviews have rated Harbour Island as one of the best places to live in Florida due to the standards of living it offers to its residents.
With a population of around 15,586, it can be an ideal choice for you to start life afresh. It is a diverse neighborhood where the majority of its residents own their homes. Harbour Island has a great many restaurants, bars, parks, and coffee shops.
The residents are young and open-minded with highly-rated public schools, a warm and welcoming culture, and an urban feel.
Median Home Value: $368,347
Average Market Rent: $1,794/month
Median Household Income: $113,566 (After Taxes)
FAQs On Moving From Chicago To Tampa
How Much Does It Cost To Move From Chicago To Tampa, Florida?
It is going to be an expensive move but the prices might vary depending upon various factors. The biggest factor can be the moving company you hire for and also the size of your move.
If you are moving from a studio apartment with less stuff, it will obviously be cheaper.
On average, a move from Chicago to Tampa for a studio apartment might cost you approximately $1,450 – $2,455.
Make sure to check the legitimacy of the company you go for along with reviews and accreditations.
See also: 5 Best Moving Companies in Chicago | 5 Best Moving Companies in Tampa
Should I Move From Chicago To Florida?
It will always be your personal choice whether you want to stay or go but if you are a fan of summers and affordable living, we would suggest you go ahead and move to Florida.
Florida isn’t only about happening beaches but is way cheaper when compared to Chicago.
Even though the average income and standards of living are slightly higher in Chicago, easy commute and lesser taxes make Florida an ideal choice.
Is Tampa More Expensive Than Chicago?
Tampa is cheaper than Chicago in almost all aspects. Be it housing, transportation, or education, Tampa is inexpensive and offers you a life with lower tax rates and less population.
The overall cost of living in Chicago is 21.8% higher than in Tampa. You simply save in almost all the departments in Tampa which include your grocery bills, restaurants, and utility bills too!
Recommended Useful Resources
- Top Out of State Movers in the USA
- Florida Relocation Guide
- Largest Cities in Florida
- Calculate Chicago to Tampa Moving Costs
- Out of State Moving Checklist
- Guide to Short Notice Movers