Life in Southern Illinois
Southern Illinois is a hidden treasure in America’s heartland with a lot of personality and a hometown feel. It is growing and expanding with additional attractions coming to the region; however, it will never lose the personal touch that affects everyone living in this wonderful area.
Population & Cost of Living
The Southern Illinois area including 13 counties have the total population of 288,681. The average cost of living is significantly lower, about 15%, than what you would see in the big metropolitan cities. The median home value of a house in Southern Illinois is around $130,000.
Southern Illinois is a beautiful place to witness the seasons changing. Average rainfall is 40 inches, snowfall 6 inches, temperature in winter averages 35 degrees and in summer 72 degrees.
The school systems in Southern Illinois are definitely something to boast about.
In the region parents can choose from excellent, diverse public or private schools – many newly constructed with above average assessment scores. Teaching experience in this district averages at 13 years and over 52% of teachers hold a Master’s degree or higher.
Additionally, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, a teaching and research institution, offers over 200 undergraduate majors/minors and 60 graduate programs as well as 18 intercollegiate sports in a highly competitive conference.
Arts & Culture
Shryock Auditorium, a 1,2000-seat theater, hosts musicals, plays and dance performances, in addition to being the home of the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Other area venues present annual art exhibits, lecture series and headline concerts.
Local shopping includes many quality, national stores and, in southern Illinois, you are only two hours from St. Louis, less than one hour from Kentucky, two hours from Evansville, Indiana, three hours from Nashville or Memphis and six hours from Chicago.
Southern Illinois is home to an independent professional baseball team, the Southern Illinois Miners. Their two picnic gardens are popular for pre-game gatherings and a Fun Zone features six oversized inflatable games for kids.
Recognized as an American Viticulture Area, southern Illinois is a top tourist destination for its wineries. The entire region features more than 18 wineries and 55 vineyards. The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail encompasses these award-winning wineries, offering tasting, picnicking and overnight bed and breakfast opportunities.
There are over 25 public and private golf courses in the area. Two of the most popular include Hickory Ridge Golf Course, rated a 4-star course by Golf Digest for the past six consecutive years; and Kokopelli Golf Club, a championship-level course designed by internationally-recognized architect Steve Smyers.
Twenty-one state parks and 13 federal recreation areas are located within easy driving distance, providing ample opportunities for boating, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and cycling. Also, Rend Lake is a short drive from Carbondale, which was named one of the Seven Wonders of Illinois. Rend Lake has many attractions like fishing, hunting, camping, or if you like to stay in, there is the Southern Illinois Art and Artisan Center close by.