Why Life Is Good in Springfield and the Sangamon County Area

The Springfield, Illinois area is teeming with career opportunities, unique things to do, history and culture — and a cost of living that can't be beat.

By
Sarah Kuta
On Thursday, January 2, 2020 - 15:16
Springfield IL Abe Lincoln house

You may know Springfield, Illinois as the place where Abraham Lincoln lived and worked before becoming our 16th president. But in addition to presidential history, this vibrant capital city offers residents an incredible quality of life. 

From arts and culture to business innovation and higher education, Springfield has it all — and then some.

“Springfield sets itself apart by not only being about one thing or having a single vibe,” says Gordon Davis, co-founder of Whimsy Tea Company in Springfield. “It’s far too often just thought of as Lincoln town, but it is also so much more. We have an incredibly vibrant art scene, our local music scene is amazing, we have history in spades and we are surrounded with natural beauty as well. If you are looking for something, we either have it or the community will help you build it.”

Intrigued? Here are seven reasons people love living in Springfield — and why you might want to join them...

Quality of Life

The majority of Sangamon County’s nearly 200,000 residents live in Springfield, which, at a population of 115,000, feels like just the right size — not too big, not too small. People here support each other in whatever ways they can, which contributes to a tight-knit community and an overall great quality of life. 

“The community becomes part of your family,” says Riley Craig-Shaffer, owner of Bow & Arrow Salon. “They know you, they know your story. It’s a community of like-minded people who come together.”

Springfield Farmers Market
Photo courtesy of Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau

Whether you’re in search of a downtown apartment, a country home or something in between, Sangamon County has fantastic options. Residents who live in the county’s more rural areas get to enjoy open space and the freedom to farm and garden without being too far removed from amenities like restaurants, shopping and culture. Hankering for a perfectly poured latte or want to catch an afternoon movie? It’s an easy 15-minute drive to all the perks of the city.

In addition, the average commute time in Springfield is less than 20 minutes — 17.6 minutes, to be exact — so residents can spend more time with their friends and family, doing the things they love.

Route 66 Mother Road Festival
Photo courtesy of Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau

More for Your Money  

Your money goes further in Springfield, which offers residents an affordable cost of living and high wages. With a median home value of around $110,000 and a median rent price of $850, Springfield’s housing market offers a great bang for your buck. On top of that, the city’s average annual salary across all professions is an impressive $50,560, while its average annual hourly rate is $24.31.

Arts and Culture

Think you have to go to a big, coastal city to find amazing arts and culture? Think again. Springfield has an incredibly rich arts and culture scene, complete with art galleries and collectives, theater, comedy and music. You can also catch Broadway shows, top-notch ballet performances and symphony orchestra concerts here. There’s so much to see and do in Springfield that your only struggle will be deciding how to spend your free time.

Springfield Il music festival
Photo courtesy of Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau

History Everywhere

Springfield is like a living, breathing history museum. Everywhere you turn, you’ll find historic sites and landmarks. The historic downtown district, for instance, includes places where President Abraham Lincoln worked, lived and spent much of his time. The city is also home to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, as well as several war memorials and National Historic Sites.

Springfield IL
Photo courtesy of Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Forward 

But don’t worry — Springfield isn’t stuck in the past. It also has all the modern amenities you could ever dream of, from breweries and wineries to sports leagues and tons of outdoor recreation options. The city is also home to cutting-edge medical facilities and providers, including Memorial Health System, Hospital Sisters Health System, SIU Medicine and Springfield Clinic, the second largest multi-specialty physician group in Illinois. Startups are also thriving here, thanks to groups like Innovate Springfield, a business incubator located downtown.

Education Opportunities

Springfield is home to first-rate education opportunities, from preschool all the way to graduate school. 

For instance, Springfield Public Schools set students up for success with impressive student-to-teacher ratios (18:1 for elementary schools, 20:1 for secondary schools), high-quality teachers (52 percent have a master’s degree or higher) and tons of AP courses and other rigorous offerings at the high school level.

When it comes to higher education, Springfield is also a college town. The University of Illinois Springfield; Southern Illinois University, School of Medicine; Lincoln Land Community College and Midwest Technical Institute all call this region home.

Springfield IL half marathon
Photo courtesy of Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau

Easy Access 

Springfield is the perfect home base, but for those times when you want to get out and explore, there are tons of other road trip-worthy spots nearby. In Springfield, you’re just a few hours’ drive from other major metro areas like Chicago, Nashville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Des Moines, Madison, Milwaukee and Louisville.

This article was sponsored by the Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Kuta is an award-winning Colorado writer and editor. She regularly writes about travel, nature, education, personal finance and other topics.