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Cost Of Living, Startup Activity Pacing Chicago's Tech Sector Explosion

Why did tech firms account for nearly a quarter of all downtown office leases last year? Because Chicago is one of the country's best performing markets for tech jobs! A new report from CBRE shows tech job growth in Chicago grew by 35% in a five-year period.

Chicago ranks 13th overall in CBRE's "Scoring Tech Talent" report and several factors give us reason to believe our ranking could rise in the future. Over 136,000 people are employed by tech firms in Chicago, ranking Our Town sixth nationally in terms of employment base. The city's cost of living continues to be a draw; Chicago's rent-to-tech ratio of 20.6% makes the city more affordable to live than New York City (33.2%), Los Angeles (27.6%) and Boston (25.3%). And educational activity has contributed to the growth of startups—colleges like Northwestern and UIC produced a combined 352 startups since 2010, towering over markets like Washington, DC; Austin; Dallas; and Atlanta.

The top five tech job markets: San Francisco; Washington, DC; Seattle; New York City; and Austin.