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City focus: Chicago, USA

The third largest city in America, Chicago is a major centre for telecommunications, finance and transport. As traditional manufacturing has declined, new industries have sprung up to take their place, making this city a vibrant city, built by immigration to USA.

The city sprang from US immigration to the area in the 19th and 20th centuries, and even established communities still have ties to their immigrant roots. Many people will describe themselves as Italian-American, German-American or some other group, even if their immigrant ancestors are many generations past. The thriving Indian community really began in the 1960s, and now comprises over 80,000 people.

Chicago's population

Home to over 2.5 million people, Chicago is a real melting pot. Around 1.5 million Chicago residents are immigrants, many of whom have a US green card or passport. Cook County, which includes the centre of Chicago, is home to around 1 million immigrants.

Many immigrants with a US visa arrive in Chicago looking for a better life, and their hard work is making a strong contribution to the local economy. A quarter of high tech start ups and half of all new businesses in Chicago are founded by immigrants.

A warm welcome

Chicago is proving itself one of the most welcoming cities in America for immigrants. The city's government recognises the struggles some immigrants face, even making it possible for illegal immigrants to receive a driving license.

In November 2013, the city's major, Rahm Emanuel, wrote an article for the Sun Times in calling for USA immigration reform, stating that “As a big-city mayor, I see up-close the vital contributions immigrants make to our economy” and that immigrants “make up the backbone of our work force.” 

Climate in Chicago

Illinois shares a border with Canada, making Chicago a popular choice for Canada to USA immigration. The weather is similar to that of Toronto or Detroit. Chicago is on the shores of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes, and is often humid.

The city experiences four seasons. Summers are hot and humid with temperatures around 25-30C. Winters are typically cold, with temperatures hovering around 0C. Snow is common and the low temperatures mean it can last for some time. Spring and autumn are milder and pleasant.

Life in Chicago

A bustling metropolis, Chicago is a major cultural centre, with public artworks by world renown artists such as Picasso and Chagall. It is home to a dozen universities. These include the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago, ranked 9th in the world. It also has teaching hospitals, laboratories and other educational institutions, making it a popular destination for those with a US student visa.

The busy downtown area rapidly gives way to idyllic suburbs, and many people move to Chicago for a great job and a pleasant way of life. Snow sports are possible nearby, and in the summer many people enjoy the beaches on Lake Michigan as well as the many smaller lakes and rivers.

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