U.S. Growth City No. 5: Chicago Rebounds Amid Illinois Struggles

U-Haul Truck Arrivals Jump 10 Percent in Chicago Year-Over-Year

The Windy City is accustomed to a high level of residential turnover, but 2014 yielded more U-Haul trucks departing town than arriving.

Last year, the pattern reversed as more do-it-yourself movers unpacked than parted ways.

Chicago claimed No. 5 among the Top 10 U.S. Growth Cities for 2015. Growth rankings are determined by the net gain of incoming one-way U-Haul truck rentals versus outgoing rentals for the past calendar year.

3 Reasons people are moving to Chicago


Moving to Chicago? Get winning tips from the moving experts

“We know from our members that Chicago is a great destination city,” said Theresa E. Mintle, president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “As a global transportation and communications hub, Chicago is attracting more major company headquarters each year as businesses recognize the region is one of the best places to live, work and visit in the nation.”

What is $100 worth in Chicago
$100 does not go as far in Chicago as it does for the national average. (source: taxfoundation.org)

U-Haul locations in Chicago saw 50.6 percent of one-way truck rental customers coming into the city as opposed leaving in 2015 – a shift from the prior year when incoming rentals accounted for less than 49.6 percent of U-Haul traffic.

Chicago welcomed 10 percent more U-Haul arrivals year-over-year, while its departures were up 5 percent over the same span. The overall bump in traffic made it a busy place for U-Haul movers.

While Chicago has its hurdles to overcome and Illinois struggles to offset its population losses in recent years, positive signs for the city’s small business job growth are among many reasons for optimism moving forward.

“With its $720 billion economy, Illinois is an international center of global commerce, and Chicago is the business and cultural epicenter of Illinois,” Mintle said. “Chicago is world-class entertainment and culinary innovation; 80 miles of public shoreline and beaches; world-renowned colleges and universities; America’s transportation hub; and a fearless passion for reinvention to remain one of the nation’s top growth cities.”

While U-Haul migration trends don’t correlate directly to population or economic growth, the growth cities data is a strong gauge of how well cities are attracting and keeping residents. The report was compiled from more than 1.7 million one-way U-Haul truck transactions that occurred in 2015. All cities are considered, regardless of size.

Continue following the U-Haul Top 10 U.S. Growth Cities countdown at myuhaulstory.com and via Twitter @uhaul.

More on Chicago

  1. Chicago was named the U-Haul No. 2 U.S. Destination City for 2014,Things to do in Chicago a sign that plenty of newcomers were still pouring into the city despite the large number leaving.     U-Haul will release its Top 10 U.S. Destination Cities for 2015 at the start of “Moving Season” with the arrival of Memorial Day.
  2. We’re not saying the exciting 2015 resurgence of the Chicago Cubs, who reached the National League Championship Series, resulted in more baseball fans renting U-Haul trucks to move to town. But it didn’t hurt.Where to go in Chicago Expectations around the 2016 Cubs are sky high, so if you need an excuse to check out Chicago, Wrigley Field is as good as any.
  3. U-Haul offers 15 company-owned stores and nearly 100 neighborhood dealers with a Chicago address to provide the utmost convenience to its customers in each community. To find a location near you, visit uhaul.com.


“Chicago is full of many diverse neighborhoods, each with their own culinary traditions. There are more than 400 neighborhood festivals every year in Chicago, each with food, culture and music to enjoy. Public transportation works well and makes the city very easy to get around whether its buses, trains, taxis or Uber. The views from the rooftops and sky decks are breathtaking, no matter if you are a visitor or a resident. When you see the cityscape, it’s stunning.” — Jamie Lee, president of U-Haul Company of North Shore Chicago

Tips for moving to Chicago

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