Champaign-Urbana is an agricultural center and home to the University of Illinois. As one of the Big 10 university towns, it has a clean, agricultural environment that is well-rounded by its college presence. It offers a wide range of entertainment including top sporting events, a mix of restaurants, and good museums. According to Sperling’s ranking of “Most Competitive Colleges”, Champaign-Urbana ranks 44 out of 100.
The area consists mainly of level prairie land surrounded by farmland, but towards the east, it starts to undulate, particularly just east of the Indiana border near the Wabash River. In an attempt to preserve its agricultural roots, suburban enclaves have been developed outside the preserved farmland belt.
Champaign-Urbana has a continental climate varying between warm, intermittently wet, and humid summers and variable winters with alternating periods of mild temperatures with cold and snow cover. The first freeze cover normally occurs in late October and the last in late April. The area experiences some kind of precipitation of rain, sleet, hail or snow for 72 days on average per year. The rainfall is 39 inches and 19 inches of snow falls per year on average. Temperatures during July summer highs are around 85 degrees and 17 degrees during winter lows in January.
Anchored by agriculture and a number of technology and research companies (some of them affiliated to the university), the area has a strong economic base. The town does not have much outdoor recreation despite strong arts amenities and entertainment. For a major college town, the cost of living is reasonable and employment is stable. However, some crime issues and a recent decline in future job projections have caused the overall ranking to decline. The unemployment rate in the Champaign-Urbana Metro Area is 5.3% compared to the US average of 5.2%. but it has seen a 1.5% job market increase and job growth. Over the next ten years, job growth is estimated at 37.7%, which is, however, still lower than the US average for future job growth of 38.0%. The average household income is $48,182 compared to the US average of $53,482 per year while the individual average income is $26,452 compared to the US average of $28,555 per year. The income tax rate is 3.8% on average.
The population is 238,984 with a median age of 30.6 and 2.4 people per household. 43.2% of the population is married, 9.% are divorced, 30.4% of marrieds have children and 15.5% of singles have children. 73% of the population is white, 10.8% black, 8.4% Asian, and 0.1% Native American. 5% claim Hispanic Ethnicity and 0.1% claim other.