"Chicago comes in at No. 2 on the U-Haul Top 10 U.S. Destination Cities for 2014. These rankings reflect the top destinations of one-way U-Haul truck rentals for the past calendar year.
The Windy City moved up from its No. 4 ranking a year ago and has climbed five sports since dipping to No. 7 back in 2008. Chicago was last as high as No. 2 in 2007.
While migration trends don’t correlate directly to a city’s population or economic growth, they are a strong gauge as to how well cities are attracting new residents.
“Lots of growth and development happening in Chicago,” said Jamie Lee, marketing company president for U-Haul Company of North Shore Chicago.
“One of the fastest growing neighborhoods is the Wicker Park/Bucktown area, at least on the north side. A lot of people are still downsizing and it’s such a hugely dense area, so storage is in high demand. The job and housing markets have improved. A few years ago, people were trying to leave because it was too costly to live here. Now they’re coming back. Unemployment has dropped and Chicago seems to be more of a destination. There is still rebuilding. The city is knocking down buildings and creating huge skyscrapers for condos. There is definitely opportunity for people to move here.”
Beloved for its Lake Michigan shoreline showcased by the Navy Pier and Grant Park, world-class museums and galleries, prestigious universities, Magnificent Mile shopping, Wrigley Field, architectural marvels, and, of course, its delicious deep-dish pizza (sorry New York!), Chicago has been a favorite destination of visitors for more than a century.
Chicago’s improved status as a top-two landing spot for potential residents arriving in U-Haul truck rentals is no surprise to Andree Dolan, VP of Communications and Programs for Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.
“Chicago has long held a reputation as an innovative, hard-working city that does business the right way,” Dolan said. “With its $720 billion economy, Illinois is an international center of global commerce, and Chicago is the business and cultural epicenter of Illinois. In fact, 385 companies either expanded or located in Chicago in 2014, resulting in the city being named Site Selection Magazine’s Top Metro in the U.S. for the second straight year.”
“Small businesses, which are the key to job growth and our region’s economic regeneration, have a positive outlook for the future. According to our recent Small Business Economic Outlook Survey, 71 percent plan to grow their business over the next year while 60 percent expect higher sales and/or revenue over the next year.”
Chicago, which just hosted the hugely successful NFL draft, remains a city where U-Haul “can’t build stores fast enough” to keep up with the growing consumer demand for do-it-yourself moving products and self-storage needs, according to Lee.
“Chicago never rests on what it has done but realizes it must constantly be innovative and cutting-edge,” said Robert M. O’Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy.
“This year, Grant Park will host, among many other events, Lollapalooza for its 11th year, the Windy City Wine Festival and Chicago Ale Fest and the Dew Tour, a national skateboarding and BMX competition. Chicago has worked hard to become one of America’s exciting top destination cities to live, work and visit. People are moving to Chicago because it is simply anamazing place to live.”