The cost of living in Champaign is slightly lower than the national and state averages. The low cost of living comes from inexpensive housing. The housing index in Champaign is 86, making it 14 percent cheaper than the national average. It is 17 percent cheaper than the state average. Transportation and groceries are also cheaper than national and state averages. Healthcare, however, is about 13 percent higher than the national average.
The 2010 census reports that Champaign's median household income is about $41,400. The per capita income was $24,855. Over 26 percent of the city's population lives below the poverty line. Despite this high poverty rate, Champaign's population grew by 20 percent between 2000 and 2010. It grew another 4.3 percent between 2010 and 2014.
Champaign, IL Job Opportunities
Champaign's largest employer is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The university employs about 11,000 people. The Champaign Unit 4 School District is the city's second-largest employer. This helps create employment opportunities for teachers and administrators.
Technology also plays an important role in Champaign's economy. Abbott Laboratories, Intelligent Medical Objects, Yahoo! and Riverbed Technology have offices in the area. This sector has created numerous computer programming, hardware development and sales jobs. Growth in the technology and information sectors accounts for much of the area's post-recession economic recovery.
Champaign, IL Employment Trends
Champaign, IL has a healthy unemployment rate. In April 2007, the city's unemployment rate was just 3.2 percent. During the same month, Illinois's unemployment rate was 4.8 percent. The Great Recession created higher unemployment, but the city's rate reached its peak at 9.2 percent in July 2011. The Illinois rate was nearly 10 percent.
Employment has improved in recent years. In April 2015, unemployment was at four percent, while the state's unemployment rate was six percent. This shows that the city and state have nearly returned to their pre-recession rates.