Off grid living in Illinois ( High taxes and Crime rate )

Illinois is one of the few states from where people are moving out in fairly high numbers, and even more would do so if they could afford it. Illinois has a population of over 12 million people, and its biggest city Chicago has around 2.7 million population. Illinois has one of the highest crime rates in the entire country, although most of the crime happens in the Chicago area, there are plenty of smaller towns and cities which have a fairly low crime rate.

Living off the grid in Illinois is legal, although there are several issues that make this a bad state for living off the grid. The main problem with this state is the local climate, it is simply not suitable for growing crops reliably. In addition to this the crime rate, the cost of living, and the property tax are also a lot higher than in the rest of the country.

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If you follow the news, then you probably have already noticed that Illinois is considered to have a high crime rate and it is frequently associated with corruption, and to top that of the taxes are simply brutal for a state which offers very little to the average person, not to mention somebody who wants to live off the grid. The state is extremely poorly managed, this is one of the reasons why the taxes are so high, and fairly recently they have also increased the income tax.

Don’t get me wrong, Illinois is a beautiful state, and Chicago is one of the best cities to visit, although living there either on or off the grid will be extremely challenging. There is a massive difference between the south and the northern part of the state. The further you go south you will notice that the living standard gets a little bit better, although not by that much. There are certainly nice places to live even in the northern part of the state, but this will cost you a lot more. If you want a cheaper place to live off the grid then check out my recent article Off grid living in Iowa ( Cheap land & Plenty of Corn ).

Illinois climate

Chicago is considered to be the “windy city” although this is true for most of the state of Illinois. Illinois is flat, and there is nothing to block the winds, in addition to this the Lake Michigan produces a lot of rain and snow, the closer you get to the lake the worse the weather becomes. Illinois has a humid continental climate, which basically means that summers are hot and winters are cold, and with all that humidity rains and snowfalls are fairly frequent.

During the summertime, the average temperature is around 80°F, during the wintertime the average temperature is around 10°F. Generally speaking, the northern part of the state is colder than the southern part of the state, and the temperature in Chicago is somewhat warmer during the summertime as all those concrete buildings are radiating a lot of heat. Winters can be brutal in some years, the lowest temperature ever recorded in this state was -36°F, and ice storms are fairly frequent during the wintertime.

Best crops to grow in Illinois

Although you might think that due to the geographic location of this state you might have very few options when it comes to growing crops. The truth is that Illinois produces a lot of corn, soybeans, wheat, rye, and even oats. Generally speaking in the southern part of the state are the farmlands that produce most of the crops, and if you visit the southern part of the state then you will notice that it resembles more to Nebraska than to the northern part of Illinois. If you want more information about Nebraska, then check out my recent article Off grid living in Nebraska ( Cheap land and cost of living ).

Freshwater availability in Illinois

There is plenty of fresh water in Illinois, both below and above ground. The state is crossed by several rivers and there are plenty of lakes. The groundwater is fairly quickly replenished due to the frequent rainfalls and heavy snow during the wintertime. The rainfall is sufficient enough every year to allow you to harvest plenty of rainwater, and harvesting rainwater is legal.

Illinois wildlife

You will often see white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, coyotes, and so on. Some of the animals have also adapted to urban living and you might find a couple of them lurking in your backyard. If you love fishing then you will love Illinois, you can find anything from crappies, pumpkinseed, smallmouth bass, walleye, to yellow perch. For hunting and fishing licenses you should check, although the chances of the site actually workings are slim to none.

Generating power off the grid in Illinois

  • Solar power: During the summertime, you will have no problem generating power, the problem comes during the wintertime as the snowfall tends to be abundant and the days fairly short and cloudy. Illinois offers both rebates and incentives for solar power, the federal tax credit is only 26%, usually, this is 30% in most states. If you want to generate power with solar panners on your roof then check out my recent article ( Top 13 ) Problems with solar panels on roofs.
  • Wind power: This is by far one of the best ways to generate power, as the wind is almost constantly blowing. In addition to rebates, the state of Illinois also has Federal Wind Energy rebates and when you combine both of them you could end up getting 50% of your money back.

Illinois off grid laws

You can legally live off the grid in Illinois, as long as you don’t want to live off the grid in the city. In addition to this, you can also legally harvest rainwater so there is nothing stopping you from living off the grid in Illinois. The homeschooling laws are also fairly standard, mostly just some paperwork and following the Illinois State Board of Education guidelines.

Illinois road access

The roads in Illinois are in a bad shape, there is plenty of money for fixing the roads but then again the state is one of the worst managed states, and several governors have been prosecuted and locked up due to corruption. Odds are that the roads will not be in better shape in the following years, the worst part is during wintertime when the authorities somehow manage to get surprised by the amount of snowfall every year.

Illinois price of land

The price of land can be expensive in most areas, generally speaking, the northern part of the state is a lot more expensive than the southern part. The closer you get to Chicago or to Lake Michigan the higher the prices will be. In the southern part of the state, the land is more affordable and you will also find plenty of land which is suitable for growing crops.

Illinois property tax

One of the reasons why Illinois is a bad state for off gird living is due to the 2.31% property tax which is more than double the national average. In some counties, the property tax can get as high as 2.83% like in McHenry county. This high property tax is one of the main factors why so many people are leaving this state, way too high taxes offering bad roads, and an expensive living standard.

Illinois cost of living

The cost of living in Illinois is around 7% cheaper than in the rest of the country, although that 2.31% property tax will still sting. Housing is around 20% cheaper than in the rest of the country, but this is mostly because people tend to avoid buying houses due to the property tax, on the other hand, rent in most areas especially in Chicago is fairly expensive.

Illinois jobs

The unemployment rate in Illinois is around 3.9% which is just slightly below the national average which is at 4%. Most people work in one of the following industries, manufacturing, agriculture, exports, and even mining. There are plenty of financial and health care jobs available, especially in the Chicago area. The minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 which is $1 higher than the national average.

Illinois crime rate

The average crime rate in Illinois is around 4.04 per 1000 people which is only 0.04 points above the national average. Most of the crime happens in the Chicago area, and most of the smaller cities and towns have a fairly low crime rate.

Illinois natural disasters

The state of Illinois has plenty of natural disasters, from tornadoes, wildfires, floods, storms, and blizzards. The good news is that the state of Illinois is one of the most well-prepared states for natural disasters. If you want to live off the grid in Illinois then it will be fairly difficult to find land elevated enough so that it can’t be affected by floods.

In conclusion

Illinois is not a good state to live off the grid, the main problems are the high property tax and the high crime rate in certain areas of the state. Winters can be also fairly brutal, with plenty of snowfall and icy roads, in addition to this the weather can change fairly quickly due to the state’s unique geographical position.