Illinois State University's campus is in the twin-city community of Bloomington-Normal near the center of the state, roughly two hours from Chicago and St. Louis. Interstates 74, 55, and 39; U.S. Route 150; and Illinois Route 9 intersect in Bloomington-Normal, creating a transportation hub. An Amtrak passenger station along the Chicago-St. Louis corridor is just two blocks from the University and daily flights are offered through the Central Illinois Regional Airport. The community is also home to GROWMARK, Illinois Farm Bureau, State Farm Insurance International Headquarters, Country Financial, Beer Nuts, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Illinois Wesleyan University, Lincoln College, and Heartland Community College.
The community has distinguished itself for its outstanding school systems and educational attainment, parks and recreation, health care, job growth, economic opportunity, and low crime. Movoto.com, a real-estate research blog, recently ranked Illinois' 50 most-populated cities looking at factors including crime, education, home values, amenities, cost of living and employment. Normal was considered the best place to live in downstate Illinois. Bloomington followed closely in the #2 position. Forbes in 2014 ranked Bloomington-Normal in the Top 50 in "Best Small Places for Business and Careers."
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