DuPage County, Illinois is one of the fastest-growing regions in the United States. And if you’re searching for business relocation sites or a new business location, this thriving, diverse community should be at the top of your list.
Located just west of Chicago, DuPage County is comprised of 39 municipalities across 336 square miles. The region, which has grown significantly since a surge in the technology sector in the 1980s, is home to nearly one million residents, as well as more than 595,000 jobs and 90,000 businesses.
Although DuPage has its roots in manufacturing, the region’s modern economy is characterized by its diversity. Today, DuPage is a global hotspot for sectors like professional, scientific and technical services; transportation, logistics and warehousing; and healthcare. However, no industry represents more than 10% of the County’s GDP.
What draws businesses to DuPage County? You could say it’s the transportation infrastructure, or the diverse economy, or the low taxes, or the high quality of life. But none of those paints the full picture. In reality, businesses are drawn to DuPage because it offers the right blend of strategic advantages that, when combined, create the conditions where good businesses thrive.
Let’s take a quick look at some of DuPage County’s strategic advantages:
Access to anywhere in the world (or right next door) with a robust transportation network
When searching for a new business site, we recommend starting by researching a location’s access to a transportation infrastructure. Whether your business needs to move product or you simply want clients, leadership and employees to be able to easily reach your site, access to transportation is one of the key benefits a region can offer.
Just 20 miles west of Chicago, DuPage County is located at the heart of one of the world’s largest freight gateways, offering businesses access to multiple modes of transportation, including:
- Three international airports: O’Hare, Midway and DuPage. O’Hare alone is responsible for moving nearly one third of the United States’ total cargo, valued at $170 billion.
- Seven major interstates.
- Twenty-eight of the top 30 cities in the Midwest within an eight-hour drive.
- The nation’s busiest rail gateway.
- Close proximity to North America’s largest inland port.
- One hundred twenty-seven square miles of prime real estate that will soon offer direct access to O’Hare through the region’s Western Access initiative.
A collaborative, business-friendly environment
In DuPage, public- and private-sector leaders work together to enact smart, pro-business legislation, keep property taxes low, foster new business opportunities, and build, maintain and promote the advantages that make our region a premier choice for businesses from a wide range of industries.
Start-ups and other small businesses can find additional support through Innovation DuPage, an incubator program that provides workshops, networking opportunities, tech resources, and more.
To learn more about DuPage County’s business climate, download an up-to-date economic indicators report here.
A high quality of life that helps businesses attract and retain talented workers
DuPage County helps businesses meet their workforce goals by providing an exceptional environment for people to live and work. The area features amenities for families and young professionals alike, with safe neighborhoods, excellent schools, low crime rates, and a thriving arts and culture scene. (In fact, over the last 10 years, the region has seen a 20% increase in the number of arts, entertainment and recreation establishments.)
Here, opportunities to connect with nature are always right around the corner, with more than 60 forest preserves featuring 25,000 acres of land. For cyclists, hikers and runners, the 55-mile Illinois Prairie Path offers a beautiful way to experience DuPage and surrounding counties.
DuPage is also home to a zoo, several botanical gardens, and numerous museums. Some of the most popular sites include Naper Settlement (a 12-acre recreation of a 19th-century village) and Morton Arboretum (a 17,000-acre “tree museum” that celebrates nature alongside stunning works of art).
For families, education is front and center. The 43 public school districts within DuPage regularly win School Search and Bright Red Apple awards, boasting a 93% graduation rate. Forty-five percent of residents going on to attain a bachelor’s degree or higher.
A highly educated and skilled workforce—both within the community and right next door
DuPage is home to a highly educated and skilled workforce. Here, one in four adult residents have a graduate degree, giving the region the highest educational attainment in Illinois. Within DuPage, 51% of residents over 25 have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, 93% have a high-school degree or higher, and 20% have a postgraduate degree.
DuPage businesses can also draw from a huge talent pool right next door. Chicago has a vast network of skilled professionals, and the area’s robust public transportation network – which includes PACE, the 7th largest bus service in North America, as well as the Metra train system, which has 495 miles of rail and 23 stops in DuPage – makes for an easy commute.
A diverse and resilient economy
Like a good investment portfolio, DuPage isn’t dominated by any one business or industry. Instead, the region is characterized by an ecosystem of businesses hailing from a wide range of industries—from aerospace and horticulture to food production and data centers.
This resiliency means that the DuPage economy isn’t contingent on the success or failure of a single business or industry.
During the early months of COVID-19, the value of this economic diversity was made especially clear. Even as several local industries were forced to hit the brakes, others continued functioning and even expanded their work, upholding the region’s economy in a way an economic monoculture couldn’t.
Access to energy that’s affordable, reliable and clean
One of the key factors a business moving to a new location should consider is the cost and reliability of local utilities—and this is another area where DuPage excels.
Businesses in DuPage benefit from highly affordable and reliable access to energy due to ComEd, which provides electric power to the region. ComEd has consistently ranked among the top 1% of energy companies in the nation because of its high reliability and low cost. ComEd’s rates are among the most competitive in the U.S.
But cost and reliability aren’t everything. To help businesses achieve their sustainability goals and reduce our region’s environmental impact, ComEd offers options that allow businesses to obtain up to 100% renewable energy. Today, due in large part to ComEd’s programs, Illinois has the sixth-lowest electricity-generated carbon emissions in the country.
Keep exploring DuPage County, Illinois
Want to learn more about DuPage County? Take a look at our list of The Top DuPage Workplaces of 2021, dive into the history of the I-88 Corridor, or learn how global industry leader Ball Horticultural is literally coloring our world from DuPage.