7736360 Info

  • Phone Number7736360
  • CompanyCellco Partnership DBA Verizon Wireless
  • StateIllinois
  • CityChicago, IL
  • CountyCook
  • Prefix636
  • Area Code773
  • UsageCell Number

7736361755 USA Telephone Phone State > Illinois 773-636-1755, Chicago, IL, Cook

Chicago, IL

Chicago (/ʃɪˈkɑːɡoʊ/ or /ʃɪˈkɔːɡoʊ/) is the third most populous city in the United States, after New York City and Los Angeles. With 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in both the U.S. state of Illinois and the American Midwest. Its metropolitan area, sometimes called Chicagoland, is home to 9.5 million people and is the third-largest in the United States. Chicago is the seat of Cook County.

Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837, near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed, and experienced rapid growth in the mid-nineteenth century. Today, the city is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation, with O'Hare International Airport being the busiest airport in the world; it also has the largest number of U.S. highways, and railroad freight entering its region. In 2012, Chicago was listed as an alpha global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and ranks seventh in the world in the 2014 Global Cities Index. As of 2012, Chicago had the third largest gross metropolitan product in the United States, after the New York City and Los Angeles metropolitan areas, at a sum of US$571 billion.

In 2012, Chicago hosted 46.37 million international and domestic visitors, an overall visitation record. Chicago's culture includes contributions to the visual arts, novels, film, theater, especially improvisational comedy, and music, particularly jazz, blues, soul, and the creation of house music. The city has many nicknames, which reflect the impressions and opinions about historical and contemporary Chicago. The best-known include the "Windy City" and "Second City." Chicago has professional sports teams in each of the major professional leagues.



The name "Chicago" is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, translated as "wild onion" or "wild garlic", from the Miami-Illinois language. The first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as "Checagou" was by Robert de LaSalle around 1679 in a memoir. Henri Joutel, in his journal of 1688, noted that the wild garlic, called "chicagoua," grew abundantly in the area. During the mid-18th century, the area was inhabited by a Native American tribe known as the Potawatomi, who had taken the place of the Miami and Sauk and Fox peoples. The 1780s saw the arrival of the first known non-indigenous permanent settler in Chicago, Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, who was of African and European (French) descent. He is commonly known as the "Founder of Chicago."

In 1795, following the Northwest Indian War, an area that was to be part of Chicago was turned over to the United States for a military post by native tribes in accordance with the Treaty of Greenville. In 1803, the United States Army built Fort Dearborn, which was destroyed in the War of 1812, Battle of Fort Dearborn and later rebuilt. The Ottawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi tribes had ceded additional land to the United States in the 1816 Treaty of St. Louis. The Potawatomi were eventually forcibly removed from their land following the Treaty of Chicago in 1833.

Founding and 19th century

On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was organized with a population of around 200. Within seven years it would grow to a population of over 4,000. On June 15, 1835, the first public land sales commenced with Edmund Dick Taylor as U.S. receiver of public moneys. The City of Chicago was incorporated on Saturday, March 4, 1837 and went on to become the fastest growing city in the world for several decades.

As the site of the Chicago Portage, the city emerged as an important transportation hub between the eastern and western United States. Chicago's first railway, Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, opened in 1848, which also marked the opening of the Illinois and Michigan Canal. The canal allowed steamboats and sailing ships on the Great Lakes to connect to the Mississippi River.

A flourishing economy brought residents from rural communities and immigrants from abroad. Manufacturing and retail and finance sectors became dominant, influencing the American economy. The Chicago Board of Trade (established 1848) listed the first ever standardized 'exchange traded' forward contracts, which were called futures contracts.

In the 1850s Chicago gained national political prominence as the home of Senator Stephen Douglas, the champion of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and "popular sovereignty" approach to the issue of the spread of slavery. These issues also helped propel another Illinoisan, Abraham Lincoln, to the national stage. Lincoln was nominated in Chicago for the nation's presidency at the 1860 Republican National Convention and went on to defeat Douglas in the general election, setting the stage for the American Civil War.

To accommodate rapid population growth and demand for better sanitation, the city implemented various infrastructural improvements. In February 1856, the Chesbrough plan for the building of the United States' first comprehensive sewerage system was approved by the Common Council. The project raised much of central Chicago to a new grade. While raising Chicago, and at first improving the health of the city, the untreated sewage and industrial waste now flowed into the Chicago River, then into Lake Michigan, polluting the primary source of fresh water for the city. The city responded by tunneling two miles (3 km) out into Lake Michigan to newly built water cribs. In 1900, the problem of sewage contamination was largely resolved when the city completed a major engineering feat. It reversed the flow of the Chicago River so that the water flowed away from Lake Michigan rather than into it. This project began with the construction and improvement of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and was completed with the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal that connects to the Illinois River, which flows into the Mississippi River.

In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire broke out, destroying an area of about 4 miles long and 1 mile wide, a large section of the city at the time. Much of the city, including railroads and stockyards, survived intact, and from the ruins of the previous wooden structures arose more modern constructions of steel and stone which would set the precedent for worldwide construction. During its rebuilding period, Chicago constructed the world's first skyscraper in 1885, using steel-skeleton construction.

Chicago's flourishing economy attracted huge numbers of new immigrants from Europe and migrants from the Eastern United States. Of the total population in 1900 no less than 77% were foreign-born, or born in the United States of foreign parentage. Germans, Irish, Poles, Swedes and Czechs made up nearly two-thirds of the foreign-born population (by 1900, whites were 98.1% of the city's population).

Labor conflicts followed the industrial boom and the rapid expansion of the labor pool, including the Haymarket affair on May 4, 1886. Concern for social problems among Chicago's immigrant poor led Jane Addams to co‑found Hull House in 1889. Programs developed there became a model for the new field of social work.

During the 1870s and 1880s, Chicago attained national stature as the leader in the movement to improve public health. City, and later state laws, that upgraded standards for the medical profession and fought urban epidemics of cholera, smallpox, and yellow fever were not only passed, but also enforced. These in turn became templates for public health reform in many other cities and states.

The city invested in many large, well-landscaped municipal parks, which also included public sanitation facilities. The chief advocate and driving force for improving public health in Chicago was Dr. John H. Rauch, M.D., who established a plan for Chicago's park system in 1866, created Lincoln Park by closing a cemetery filled with festering, shallow graves, and helped establish a new Chicago Board of Health in 1867 in response to an outbreak of cholera. Ten years later he became the secretary and then the president of the first Illinois State Board of Health, which carried out most of its activities in Chicago.

In the 19th century, Chicago became the nation's railroad center, by 1910 over 20 railroads operated passenger service out of 6 different downtown terminals. In 1883, the standardized system of North American Time Zones was adopted by the general time convention of railway managers in Chicago. This gave the continent its uniform system for telling time.

In 1893, Chicago hosted the World's Columbian Exposition on former marshland at the present location of Jackson Park. The Exposition drew 27.5 million visitors, and is considered the most influential world's fair in history. The University of Chicago was founded in 1892 on the same South Side location. The term "midway" for a fair or carnival referred originally to the Midway Plaisance, a strip of park land that still runs through the University of Chicago campus and connects Washington and Jackson Parks.

20th and 21st centuries

The World War I period and the 1920s also saw a major expansion in industry. The availability of jobs attracted African-Americans from the Southern United States. Between 1910 and 1930, the African-American population of Chicago dramatically increased from 44,103 to 233,903. Arriving in the hundreds of thousands during the Great Migration, the newcomers had an immense cultural impact, called the Chicago Black Renaissance, part of the New Negro Movement, in art, literature, and music. Continuing racial tensions and violence, such as the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, also occurred.

The ratification of the 18th amendment to the Constitution in 1919 made the production and sale (including exportation) of alcoholic beverages illegal in the United States. This ushered in the beginning of what is known as the Gangster Era, a time that roughly spans from 1919 until 1933 when Prohibition was repealed. The 1920s saw gangsters, including Al Capone, Dion O'Banion, Bugs Moran and Tony Accardo battle law enforcement and each other on the streets of Chicago during the Prohibition era. Chicago was the location of the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929, where Al Capone sent men to gun down members of his rival gang, North Side, led by Bugs Moran.

In 1924, Chicago was the first American city to have a homosexual-rights organization, the Society for Human Rights. This organization produced the first American publication for gays, Friendship and Freedom. Police and political pressure soon caused it to disband.

In 1933, Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak was fatally wounded in Miami, Florida during a failed assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1933 and 1934, the city celebrated its centennial by hosting the Century of Progress International Exposition Worlds Fair. The theme of the fair was technological innovation over the century since Chicago's founding.

On December 2, 1942, physicist Enrico Fermi conducted the world's first controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project. This led to the creation of the atomic bomb by the United States, which it used in World War II in 1945.

Mayor Richard J. Daley, a Democrat, was elected in 1955, in the era of machine politics. Starting in the early 1960s due to blockbusting, many white residents, as in most American cities, left the city for the suburbs. Whole neighborhoods were completely changed based on race. Structural changes in industry, such as globalization and job outsourcing, caused heavy losses of jobs for lower skilled workers. In 1966, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Albert Raby led the Chicago Freedom Movement, which culminated in agreements between Mayor Richard J. Daley and the movement leaders.

Two years later, the city hosted the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention, which featured physical confrontations both inside and outside the convention hall, including full-scale riots, or in some cases police riots, in city streets. Major construction projects, including the Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower, which in 1974 became the world's tallest building), University of Illinois at Chicago, McCormick Place, and O'Hare International Airport, were undertaken during Richard J. Daley's tenure. In 1979, Jane Byrne, the city's first female mayor, was elected. She helped mitigate crime in the Cabrini-Green housing project and guide Chicago's school system out of a financial crisis.

In 1983, Harold Washington became the first black mayor of the city of Chicago. Washington's first term in office saw attention given to poor and previously neglected minority neighborhoods. He was re‑elected in 1987 but died of a heart attack a short time later. The balance of Washington's second term was served by 6th ward Alderman Eugene Sawyer.

Richard M. Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, was elected in 1989. His accomplishments included improvements to parks and creating incentives for sustainable development. After successfully standing for re-election five times, and becoming Chicago's longest serving mayor, Richard M. Daley declined to run for a seventh term.

On February 23, 2011, former Illinois Congressman and White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, won the mayoral election, beating five rivals with 55 percent of the vote, and was sworn in as Mayor on May 16, 2011.




Chicago is located in northeastern Illinois on the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan. It is the principal city in Chicago Metropolitan Area situated in the Midwestern United States and the Great Lakes region. Chicago rests on a continental divide at the site of the Chicago Portage, connecting the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes watersheds. The city lies beside huge freshwater Lake Michigan, and two rivers—the Chicago River in downtown and the Calumet River in the industrial far South Side—flow entirely or partially through Chicago. Chicago's history and economy are closely tied to its proximity to Lake Michigan. While the Chicago River historically handled much of the region's waterborne cargo, today's huge lake freighters use the city's Lake Calumet Harbor on the South Side. The lake also provides another positive effect, moderating Chicago's climate; making waterfront neighborhoods slightly warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

When Chicago was founded in 1833, most of the early building began around the mouth of the Chicago River, as can be seen on a map of the city's original 58 blocks. The overall grade of the city's central, built-up areas, is relatively consistent with the natural flatness of its overall natural geography, generally exhibiting only slight differentiation otherwise. The average land elevation is 579 ft (176 m) above sea level. The lowest points are along the lake shore at 578 ft (176 m), while the highest point, at 672 ft (205 m), is the morainal ridge of Blue Island in the city's far south side.

The Chicago Loop is the central business district, but Chicago is also a city of neighborhoods. Lake Shore Drive runs adjacent to a large portion of Chicago's lakefront. Some of the parks along the waterfront include Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park and Jackson Park. Twenty-four public beaches are also found across 26 miles (42 km) of the waterfront. Landfill extends into portions of the lake providing space for Navy Pier, Northerly Island, the Museum Campus, and large portions of the McCormick Place Convention Center. Most of the city's high-rise commercial and residential buildings can be found close to the waterfront.

An informal name for the entire Chicago metropolitan area is "Chicagoland". There is no precise definition for the term "Chicagoland", but it generally means the city and its suburbs combined together. The Chicago Tribune, which coined the term, includes the city of Chicago, the rest of Cook County, eight nearby Illinois counties: Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, Will and Kankakee, and three counties in Indiana: Lake, Porter and LaPorte. The Illinois Department of Tourism defines Chicagoland as Cook County without the city of Chicago, and only Lake, DuPage, Kane and Will counties. The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce defines it as all of Cook and DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.


Major sections of the city include the central business district, called The Loop, and the North, the South, and West Sides. The three sides of the city are represented on the Flag of Chicago by three horizontal white stripes. The North Side is the most densely populated residential section of the city and many high-rises are located on this side of the city along the lakefront. The South Side is the largest section of the city, encompassing roughly 60% of the city's land area. The South Side contains the University of Chicago and most of the facilities of the Port of Chicago.

In the late 1920s, sociologists at the University of Chicago subdivided the city into 77 distinct community areas, which can further be subdivided into over 200 informally defined neighborhoods.


Chicago's streets were laid out in a street grid that grew from the city's original townsite plat. Streets following the Public Land Survey System section lines later became arterial streets in outlying sections. As new additions to the city were platted, city ordinance required them to be laid out with eight streets to the mile in one direction and sixteen in the other direction. The grid's regularity would provide an efficient means to develop new real estate property. A scattering of diagonal streets, many of them originally native American trails, also cross the city (Elston, Milwaukee, Ogden, Lincoln, etc.). Many additional diagonal streets were recommended in the Plan of Chicago, but only the extension of Ogden Avenue was ever constructed.

Most of the city's residential streets tend to have a wide patch of grass and/or trees between the street and the sidewalk itself. This has the effect of keeping pedestrians walking on the sidewalk further away from the street traffic. Chicago's Western Avenue is the longest continuous urban street in the world. Other famous streets include North Michigan Avenue, North State Street, Clark, and Belmont Avenue. The City Beautiful movement inspired Chicago's boulevards and parkways.


The destruction caused by the Great Chicago Fire led to the largest building boom in the history of the nation. In 1885, the first steel-framed high-rise building, the Home Insurance Building, rose in the city as Chicago ushered in the skyscraper era, which would then be followed by many other cities around the world. Today, Chicago's skyline is among the world's tallest and most dense.

Some of the United States' tallest towers are located in Chicago; Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) is the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere after One World Trade Center, and Trump International Hotel and Tower is the third tallest in the country. The Loop's historic buildings include the Chicago Board of Trade Building, the Fine Arts Building, 35 East Wacker, and the Chicago Building, 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments by Mies van der Rohe. Many other architects have left their impression on the Chicago skyline such as Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan, Charles B. Atwood, John Root, and Helmut Jahn.

The Merchandise Mart, once first on the list of largest buildings in the world, currently listed as 44th largest (as of September 9, 2013), has its own zip code, and stands near the junction of the North and South branches of the Chicago River. Presently, the four tallest buildings in the city are Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower, also a building with its own zip code), Trump International Hotel and Tower, the Aon Center (previously the Standard Oil Building), and the John Hancock Center. Industrial districts, such as some areas on the South Side, the areas along the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, and Northwest Indiana are clustered.

Chicago gave its name to the Chicago School and was home to the Prairie School, two movements in architecture. Multiple kinds and scales of houses, townhouses, condominiums, and apartment buildings can be found throughout Chicago. Large swaths of the city's residential areas away from the lake are characterized by brick bungalows built from the early 20th century through the end of World War II. Chicago is also a prominent center of the Polish Cathedral style of church architecture. The Chicago suburb of Oak Park was home to famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who had designed The Robie House located near the University of Chicago.

Monuments and public art

Chicago is famous for its outdoor public art with donors establishing funding for such art as far back as Benjamin Ferguson's 1905 trust. A number of Chicago's public art works are by modern figurative artists. Among these are Chagall's Four Seasons; the Chicago Picasso; Miro's Chicago; Calder's Flamingo; Oldenburg's Batcolumn; Moore's Large Interior Form, 1953-54, Man Enters the Cosmos and Nuclear Energy; Dubuffet's Monument with Standing Beast, Abakanowicz's Agora; and, Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate which has become an icon of the city. Some events which shaped the city's history have also been memorialized by art works, including the Great Northern Migration (Saar) and the centennial of statehood for Illinois. Finally, two fountains near the Loop also function as monumental works of art: Plensa's Crown Fountain and Burnham and Bennett's Buckingham Fountain.

More representational and portrait statuary includes a number of works by Lorado Taft (Fountain of Time, The Crusader, Eternal Silence, and the Heald Square Monument completed by Crunelle), French's Statue of the Republic, Edward Kemys's Lions, Saint-Gaudens's Abraham Lincoln: The Man (aka Standing Lincoln) and Abraham Lincoln: The Head of State (aka Seated Lincoln), Brioschi's Christopher Columbus, Meštrović's The Bowman and The Spearman, Dallin's Signal of Peace, Fairbanks's The Chicago Lincoln, Boyle's The Alarm, Polasek's memorial to Masaryk, memorials along Solidarity Promenade to Kościuszko, Havliček and Copernicus by Chodzinski, Strachovský, and Thorvaldsen, a memorial to General Logan by Saint-Gaudens, and Kearney's Moose (W-02-03). A number of statues also honor recent local heroes such as Michael Jordan (by Amrany and Rotblatt-Amrany), Stan Mikita, and Bobby Hull outside of the United Center; Harry Caray (by Amrany and Cella) outside Wrigley field, Jack Brickhouse (by McKenna) next to the WGN studios, and Irv Kupcinet at the Wabash Avenue Bridge.

There are preliminary plans to erect a 1:1‑scale replica of Wacław Szymanowski's Art Nouveau statue of Frédéric Chopin found in Warsaw's Royal Baths along Chicago's lakefront in addition to a different sculpture commemorating the artist in Chopin Park for the 200th anniversary of Frédéric Chopin's birth.


The city lies within the humid continental climate zone (Köppen: Dfa ), and experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid, with a July daily average of 75.8 °F (24.3 °C). In a normal summer, temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on 21 days. Winters are cold and snowy with few sunny days, and the normal January high is just below freezing. Spring and autumn are mild seasons with low humidity. The city is part of the USDA Plant Hardiness zone 6a, transitioning to 5b in the suburbs.

According to the National Weather Service, Chicago's highest official temperature reading of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded on July 24, 1934, although Midway Airport reached 109 °F (43 °C) the same day. The lowest official temperature of −27 °F (−33 °C) was recorded on January 20, 1985, at O'Hare Airport. The city can experience extreme winter cold waves and summer heat waves that may last for several consecutive days. There are also many mild winter and summer days. Thunderstorms are not uncommon during the spring and summer months which may sometimes produce hail, high winds, and tornadoes.


During its first 100 years, Chicago was one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. When founded in 1833, fewer than 200 people had settled on what was then the American frontier. By the time of its first census, seven years later, the population had reached over 4,000. Within the span of forty years, the city's population grew from slightly under 30,000 in 1850 to over 1 million by 1890. By the close of the 19th century, Chicago was the fifth largest city in the world, and the largest of the cities that did not exist at the dawn of the century. Within sixty years of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the population went from about 300,000 to over 3 million, and reached its highest ever-recorded population of 3.6 million for the 1950 census.

From the last two decades of the 19th century, Chicago was the destination of waves of immigrants from Ireland, Southern, Central and Eastern Europe, including Italians, Jews, Poles, Bosnians and Czechs. To these ethnic groups, the basis of the city's industrial working class, were added an additional influx of African-Americans from the American South — with Chicago's black population doubling between 1910 and 1920 and doubling again between 1920 and 1930.

The great majority of American blacks moving to Chicago in these years were clustered in a so‑called "Black Belt" on the city's South Side. By 1930, two-thirds of Chicago's African-American population lived in sections of the city which were 90% black in racial composition. Chicago's South Side emerged as America's second largest urban black concentration, following New York's Harlem.

As of the 2010 census, there were 2,695,598 people with 1,045,560 households living in Chicago. More than half the population of the state of Illinois lives in the Chicago metropolitan area. Chicago is one of the United States' most densely populated major cities, and the largest city in the Great Lakes Megalopolis. The racial composition of the city was:

  • 45.0% White (31.7% non-Hispanic whites);
  • 32.9% Black or African American;
  • 13.4% from some other race;
  • 5.5% Asian (1.6% Chinese, 1.1% Indian, 1.1% Filipino, 0.4% Korean, 0.3% Pakistani, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.2% Japanese, 0.1% Thai);
  • 2.7% from two or more races;
  • 0.5% American Indian.

Chicago has a Hispanic or Latino population of 28.9%. (Its members may belong to any race; 21.4% Mexican, 3.8% Puerto Rican, 0.7% Guatemalan, 0.6% Ecuadorian, 0.3% Cuban, 0.3% Colombian, 0.2% Honduran, 0.2% Salvadoran, 0.2% Peruvian)

The city's former most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic white, declined from 59% in 1970 to 31.7% in 2010.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey data estimates for 2008-2012, the median income for a household in the city was $47,408, and the median income for a family was $54,188. Male full-time workers had a median income of $47,074 versus $42,063 for females. About 18.3% of families and 22.1% of the population lived below the poverty line.

According to the 2008-2012 American Community Survey, the ancestral groups having 10,000 or more persons in Chicago were:

Persons identifying themselves as "Other groups" were classified at 1.72 million, and unclassified or not reported were approximately 153,000.


Christianity is predominant among the city's population who worship. The Chicago metropolitan area also includes adherents of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and the Bahá'í, among others.

The wealth of Chicago's religious heritage is evident in its many noted examples of sacred architecture and institutions. Many of these religious edifices are Christian in origin, with Roman Catholic structures particularly prevalent. However, the city of Polish Cathedrals is rife with numerous historic synagogues, as well as the noteworthy sacred spaces of other religions. The Kehilath Anshe Ma'ariv Synagogue, now the Pilgrim Baptist Church was designed by Adler & Sullivan in 1890. The Fourth Presbyterian Church is one of the biggest Presbyterian congregations in the U.S. Chicago's northern suburb of Wilmette, Illinois, has the Bahá'í Temple, the only temple for the Bahá'í Faith in North America.

The city played host to the first two Parliament of the World's Religions in 1893 and 1993. Chicago contains many theological institutions, which include seminaries and colleges such as the Meadville Lombard Theological School, the Moody Bible Institute, the Chicago Theological Seminary, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and Catholic Theological Union. Chicago is the seat of several religious denominations, including the Assyrian Church of the East, the Evangelical Covenant Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Many international religious leaders have visited Chicago, including Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. Pope John Paul II visited Chicago in 1979 during his first trip ever to the United States after being elected to the papacy in 1978.


Chicago has the third largest gross metropolitan product in the United States—approximately $532 billion according to 2010 estimates, after only the urban agglomerations of New York City and Los Angeles, in the first and second place, respectively. The city has also been rated as having the most balanced economy in the United States, due to its high level of diversification. Chicago was named the fourth most important business center in the world in the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index. Additionally, the Chicago metropolitan area recorded the greatest number of new or expanded corporate facilities in the United States for six out of the seven years from 2001 to 2008. The Chicago metropolitan area has the third largest science and engineering work force of any metropolitan area in the nation. In 2009 Chicago placed 9th on the UBS list of the world's richest cities. Chicago was the base of commercial operations for industrialists John Crerar, John Whitfield Bunn, Richard Teller Crane, Marshall Field, John Farwell, Julius Rosenwald and many other commercial visionaries who laid the foundation for Midwestern and global industry.

Chicago is a major world financial center, with the second largest central business district in the United States. The city is the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (the Seventh District of the Federal Reserve). The city is also home to major financial and futures exchanges, including the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the "Merc"), which is owned, along with the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) by Chicago's CME Group. The CME Group, in addition, owns the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the Commodities Exchange Inc. (COMEX) and the Dow Jones Indexes. Perhaps due to the influence of the Chicago school of economics, the city also has markets trading unusual contracts such as emissions (on the Chicago Climate Exchange) and equity style indices (on the U.S. Futures Exchange). Chase Bank has its commercial and retail banking headquarters in Chicago's Chase Tower.

The city and its surrounding metropolitan area are home to the third largest labor pool in the United States with approximately 4.48 million workers, as of 2014. In addition, the state of Illinois is home to 66 Fortune 1000 companies, including those in Chicago. The city of Chicago also hosts 12 Fortune Global 500 companies and 17 Financial Times 500 companies. The city claims one Dow 30 company: aerospace giant Boeing, which moved its headquarters from Seattle to the Chicago Loop in 2001. Two more Dow 30 companies, Kraft Foods and McDonald's are in the Chicago suburbs, as are Sears Holdings Corporation and the technology spin-offs of Motorola. Chicago is also home to United Continental Holdings, with headquarters in the United Building and operations center at Willis Tower, and its United Airlines subsidiary.

Manufacturing, printing, publishing and food processing also play major roles in the city's economy. Several medical products and services companies are headquartered in the Chicago area, including Baxter International, Boeing, Abbott Laboratories, and the Healthcare Financial Services division of General Electric. In addition to aircraft maker Boeing, which located its headquarters in Chicago in 2001, and United Airlines in 2011, GE Transportation moved its offices to the city in 2013, as did ThyssenKrupp North America, and agriculture giant Archer Daniels Midland. Moreover, the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which helped move goods from the Great Lakes south on the Mississippi River, and of the railroads in the 19th century made the city a major transportation center in the United States. In the 1840s, Chicago became a major grain port, and in the 1850s and 1860s Chicago's pork and beef industry expanded. As the major meat companies grew in Chicago many, such as Armour and Company, created global enterprises. Though the meatpacking industry currently plays a lesser role in the city's economy, Chicago continues to be a major transportation and distribution center. Lured by a combination of large business customers, federal research dollars, and a large hiring pool fed by the area's universities, Chicago is also home to a growing number of web startup companies like CareerBuilder, Orbitz, 37signals, Groupon, and Feedburner.

Chicago has been a hub of the Retail sector since its early development in America, when it was the home of Montgomery Ward, Sears, and Marshall Field's. Today the Chicago metro area is the home of several retailers, including Walgreens, Sears, OfficeMax, Ace Hardware, Claire's, and Crate & Barrel.

Late in the 19th century, Chicago was part of the bicycle craze, as home to Western Wheel Company, which introduced stamping to the production process and significantly reduced costs, while early in the 20th century, the city was part of the automobile revolution, hosting the Brass Era car builder Bugmobile, which was founded there in 1907. Chicago was also home to the Schwinn Bicycle Company.

Chicago is a major world convention destination. The city's main convention center is McCormick Place. With its four interconnected buildings, it is the largest convention center in the nation and third largest in the world. Chicago also ranks third in the U.S. (behind Las Vegas and Orlando) in number of conventions hosted annually.

Culture and contemporary life

The city's waterfront location and nightlife has attracted residents and tourists alike. Over a third of the city population is concentrated in the lakefront neighborhoods of Rogers Park in the north to South Shore in the south. The city has many upscale dining establishments as well as many ethnic restaurant districts. These districts include the Mexican American neighborhoods, such as Pilsen along 18th street, and La Villita along 26th Street; the Puerto Rican enclave of Paseo Boricua in the Humboldt Park neighborhood; Greektown, along South Halsted Street, immediately west of downtown; Little Italy, along Taylor Street; Chinatown in Armour Square; Polish Patches in West Town; Little Seoul in Albany Park around Lawrence Avenue; Little Vietnam near Broadway in Uptown; and the Desi area, along Devon Avenue in West Ridge.

Downtown is the center of Chicago's financial, cultural, governmental and commercial institutions and home to Grant Park and many of the city's skyscrapers. Many of the city's financial institutions, such as the CBOT and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, are located within a section of downtown called "The Loop", which is an eight-block by five-block area of city streets that is encircled by elevated rail tracks. The term "The Loop" is largely used by locals to refer to the entire downtown area as well. The central area includes the Near North Side, the Near South Side, and the Near West Side, as well as the Loop. These areas contribute famous skyscrapers, abundant restaurants, shopping, museums, a stadium for the Chicago Bears, convention facilities, parkland, and beaches.

Lincoln Park is home to the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lincoln Park Conservatory. The River North Gallery District features the nation's largest concentration of contemporary art galleries outside of New York City. Lakeview is home to Boystown, which, along with Andersonville, are the best-known LGBT neighborhoods.

The South Side neighborhood of Hyde Park is home to the University of Chicago (U of C), ranked one of the world's top ten universities; and the Museum of Science and Industry. The 6-mile (9.7 km) long Burnham Park stretches along the waterfront of the South Side. Two of the city's largest parks are also located on this side of the city: Jackson Park, bordering the waterfront, hosted the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, and is home of the aforementioned museum; and slightly west sits Washington Park. The two parks themselves are connected by a wide strip of parkland called the Midway Plaisance, running adjacent to the U of C. The South Side hosts one of the city's largest parades, the annual African American Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic, which travels from Bronzeville to Washington Park. Ford Motor Company has an automobile assembly plant located in Hegewisch, and most of the facilities of the Port of Chicago are also on the South Side.

The West Side holds the Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest collections of tropical plants in any U.S. city. Prominent Latino cultural attractions found here include Humboldt Park's Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture and the annual Puerto Rican People's Parade, as well as the National Museum of Mexican Art and St. Adalbert's Church in Pilsen. The Near West Side holds the University of Illinois at Chicago and Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios.

Entertainment, the arts, and performing arts

Renowned Chicago theater companies include the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Victory Gardens Theater in Lincoln Park; the Goodman Theatre in the Loop; and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier. Broadway In Chicago offers Broadway-style entertainment at five theaters: the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre, Bank of America Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Auditorium Building of Roosevelt University, and Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. Polish language productions for Chicago's large Polish speaking population can be seen at the historic Gateway Theatre in Jefferson Park. Since 1968, the Joseph Jefferson Awards are given annually to acknowledge excellence in theater in the Chicago area. Chicago's theater community spawned modern improvisational theater, and includes the prominent groups The Second City and I.O. (formerly ImprovOlympic).

Classical music offerings include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), which performs at Symphony Center, and is recognized as one of the best orchestras in the world. Also performing regularly at Symphony Center is the Chicago Sinfonietta, a more diverse and multicultural counterpart to the CSO. In the summer, many outdoor concerts are given in Grant Park and Millennium Park. Ravinia Festival, located 25 miles (40 km) north of Chicago, is the summer home of the CSO, and is a favorite destination for many Chicagoans. The Civic Opera House is home to the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Lithuanian Opera Company of Chicago was founded by Lithuanian Chicagoans in 1956, and presents operas in Lithuanian.

The Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Festival Ballet perform in various venues, including the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. Chicago is home to several other contemporary and jazz dance troupes, such as the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Chicago Dance Crash.

Other live-music genre which are part of the city's cultural heritage include Chicago blues, Chicago soul, jazz, and gospel. The city is the birthplace of house music and is the site of an influential hip-hop scene. In the 1980s, the city was a center for industrial, punk and new wave. This influence continued into the alternative rock of the 1990s. The city has been an epicenter for rave culture, since the 1980s. A flourishing independent rock music culture brought forth Chicago indie. Annual festivals feature various acts, such as Lollapalooza and the Pitchfork Music Festival. A 2007 report on the Chicago music industry by the University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center ranked Chicago third among metropolitan U.S. areas in "size of music industry" and fourth among all U.S. cities in "number of concerts and performances."

Chicago has a distinctive fine art tradition. For much of the twentieth century, it nurtured a strong style of figurative surrealism, as in the works of Ivan Albright and Ed Paschke. In 1968 and 1969, members of the Chicago Imagists, such as Roger Brown, Leon Golub, Robert Lostutter, Jim Nutt, and Barbara Rossi produced bizarre representational paintings.

Chicago is home to a number of large, outdoor works by well-known artists. These include the Chicago Picasso, Miró's Chicago, Flamingo and Flying Dragon by Alexander Calder, Agora by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Monument with Standing Beast by Jean Dubuffet, Batcolumn by Claes Oldenburg, Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor, Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa, and the Four Seasons mosaic by Marc Chagall.

Chicago also has a nationally televised Thanksgiving parade that occurs annually. The McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade is seen across the nation on WGN-TV and WGN America, featuring a variety of diverse acts from the community, marching bands from across the country, and is the only parade in the city to feature inflatable balloons every year.


In 2012, Chicago attracted 34.07 million domestic leisure travelers, 10.92 million domestic business travelers and 1.369 million overseas visitors. These visitors contributed more than US$12.8 billion to Chicago's economy. Upscale shopping along the Magnificent Mile and State Street, thousands of restaurants, as well as Chicago's eminent architecture, continue to draw tourists. The city is the United States' third-largest convention destination. A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Chicago the fourth most walkable of fifty largest cities in the United States. Most conventions are held at McCormick Place, just south of Soldier Field. The historic Chicago Cultural Center (1897), originally serving as the Chicago Public Library, now houses the city's Visitor Information Center, galleries and exhibit halls. The ceiling of its Preston Bradley Hall includes a 38-foot (12 m) Tiffany glass dome. Grant Park holds Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain (1927), and the Art Institute of Chicago. The park also hosts the annual Taste of Chicago festival. In Millennium Park, there is the reflective Cloud Gate sculpture. Cloud Gate, a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park. Also, an outdoor restaurant transforms into an ice rink in the winter season. Two tall glass sculptures make up the Crown Fountain. The fountain's two towers display visual effects from LED images of Chicagoans' faces, along with water spouting from their lips. Frank Gehry's detailed, stainless steel band shell, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, hosts the classical Grant Park Music Festival concert series. Behind the pavilion's stage is the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, an indoor venue for mid-sized performing arts companies, including the Chicago Opera Theater and Music of the Baroque.

Navy Pier, located just east of Streeterville, is 3,000 ft (910 m) long and houses retail stores, restaurants, museums, exhibition halls and auditoriums. Its 150-foot (46 m) tall Ferris wheel is one of the most visited landmarks in the Midwest, attracting about 8 million people annually. Chicago was the first city in the world to ever erect a ferris wheel.

On June 4, 1998, the city officially opened the Museum Campus, a 10-acre (4.0 ha) lakefront park, surrounding three of the city's main museums, each of which is of national importance: the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium. The Museum Campus joins the southern section of Grant Park, which includes the renowned Art Institute of Chicago. Buckingham Fountain anchors the downtown park along the lakefront. The University of Chicago Oriental Institute has an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeological artifacts. Other museums and galleries in Chicago include the Chicago History Museum, the Driehaus Museum, the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Polish Museum of America, the Museum of Broadcast Communications, the Pritzker Military Library, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and the Museum of Science and Industry.

The Willis Tower (formerly named Sears Tower) is a popular destination for tourists. The Willis Tower has an observation deck open to tourists year round with high up views overlooking Chicago and Lake Michigan. The observation deck includes an enclosed glass balcony that extends 10 feet out on the side of the building. Tourists are able to look straight down.

In 2013, Chicago was chosen as one of the "Top Ten Cities in the United States" to visit for its restaurants, skyscrapers, museums, and waterfront, by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler.


Chicago lays claim to a large number of regional specialties, all of which reflect the city's ethnic and working class roots. Included among these are its nationally renowned deep-dish pizza; this style is said to have originated at Pizzeria Uno. The Chicago-style thin crust is also popular in the city.

The Chicago-style hot dog, typically a Vienna Beef dog, is loaded with an array of toppings that often includes neon green pickle relish, yellow mustard, pickled sport peppers, tomato wedges, dill pickle spear and topped off with celery salt on a S. Rosen's poppy seed bun. Enthusiasts of the Chicago-style dog frown upon the use of ketchup as a garnish, but may prefer to add giardiniera.

There are several distinctly Chicago sandwiches, among them the Italian beef sandwich, which is thinly sliced beef slowly simmered in au jus and served on an Italian roll with sweet peppers or spicy giardiniera. A popular modification is the Combo—an Italian beef sandwich with the addition of an Italian sausage. Another is the Maxwell Street Polish, a grilled or deep-fried kielbasa — on a hot dog roll, topped with grilled onions, yellow mustard, and hot sport peppers.

Ethnically originated creations include chicken Vesuvio, with roasted bone-in chicken cooked in oil and garlic next to garlicky oven-roasted potato wedges and a sprinkling of green peas. Another is the Puerto Rican-influenced jibarito, a sandwich made with flattened, fried green plantains instead of bread. There is also the tamale with chile, mother-in-law sandwich. The tradition of serving the Greek dish, saganaki while aflame, has its origins in Chicago's Greek community. The appetizer, which consists of a square of fried cheese, is doused with Metaxa and flambéed table-side by the server to shouts of 'Opa!'

The annual summer festival, the Taste of Chicago in Grant Park, highlights food in the city with many local restaurants taking part.

A number of well-known chefs have had restaurants in Chicago, including Charlie Trotter, Rick Tramonto, Grant Achatz, and Rick Bayless. In 2003, Robb Report named Chicago the country's "most exceptional dining destination."


Chicago literature finds its roots in the city's tradition of lucid, direct journalism, lending to a strong tradition of social realism. In the Encyclopedia of Chicago, Northwestern University Professor Bill Savage describes Chicago fiction as prose which tries to "capture the essence of the city, its spaces and its people." The challenge for early writers was that Chicago was a frontier outpost that transformed into a global metropolis in the span of two generations. Narrative fiction of that time, much of it in the style of "high-flown romance" and "genteel realism", needed a new approach to describe the urban social, political, and economic conditions of Chicago. Nonetheless, Chicagoans worked hard to create a literary tradition that would stand the test of time, and create a "city of feeling" out of concrete, steel, vast lake, and open prairie. Much notable Chicago fiction focuses on the city itself, with social criticism keeping exultation in check.

At least, three short periods in the history of Chicago have had a lasting influence on American Literature. These include from the time of the Great Chicago Fire to about 1900, what became known as the Chicago Literary Renaissance in the 1910s and early 1920s, and the period of the Great Depression through the 1940s.

What would become the influential Poetry magazine was founded in 1912 by Harriet Monroe, who was working as an art critic for the Chicago Tribune. The magazine discovered such poets as Gwendolyn Brooks, James Merrill, and John Ashbery. T. S. Eliot's first professionally published poem, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", was first published by Poetry. Contributors have included Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, and Carl Sandburg, among others. The magazine was instrumental in launching the Imagist and Objectivist poetic movements.


Chicago was named the "Best Sports City" in the United States by the Sporting News in 1993, 2006, and 2010. The city is home to two Major League Baseball (MLB) teams: the Chicago Cubs of the National League (NL), who play in Wrigley Field on the North Side; and the Chicago White Sox of the American League (AL), who play in U.S. Cellular Field on the South Side. Chicago is the only city that has had more than one MLB franchise every year since the AL began in 1901.

The Chicago Bears, one of the last two remaining charter members of the National Football League (NFL), has won nine NFL Championships, including Super Bowl XX. The other remaining charter franchise, the Chicago Cardinals, also started out in the city, but is now known as the Arizona Cardinals. The Bears play their home games at Soldier Field, named after "The men and women of the armed forces". It is located next to the shores of Lake Michigan, on Lake Shore Drive. Soldier Field was an aging stadium and was in dire need of renovation by the end of the 20th century. In 2003, the stadium re-opened after an extensive renovation, which increased the number of luxury boxes and dramatically improved the game day experience for Bears fans. However, because of this renovation, the stadium lost its National Historic Landmark designation on February 17, 2006.

The Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the most recognized basketball teams in the world. During the 1990s with Michael Jordan leading them, the Bulls took six NBA championships in eight seasons. They also boast the youngest player to win the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, Derrick Rose, who won it for the 2010–11 season.

The Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League (NHL) began play in 1926, and are one of the "Original Six" teams of the National Hockey League (NHL). The team has won five Stanley Cups, including in 2013. Both the Bulls and the Blackhawks play at the United Center on the Near West Side.

The Chicago Fire Soccer Club is a member of Major League Soccer (MLS) and plays at Toyota Park in suburban Bridgeview, after playing its first eight seasons at Soldier Field. The Fire have won one league title and four U.S. Open Cups, since their founding in 1997. In 1994, the United States hosted a successful FIFA World Cup with games played at Soldier Field.

The Chicago Sky is a professional basketball team based in Rosemont, Illinois, playing in the Eastern Conference in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). They play home games at the Allstate Arena. The team was founded before the 2006 WNBA season began. It is owned by Michael J. Alter (principal owner) and Margaret Stender (minority owner).

While six of the eight major franchises have won championships within recent years – the Bears (1985), the Bulls (91, '92, '93, '96, '97, and '98), the White Sox (2005), the Blackhawks (2010, 2013),the Fire (1998) and the Chicago Wolves (2008) — the Chicago Cubs are known for their drought of over 100 years without a championship (currently 106 years, as of the 2014 MLB season). The last time the Cubs were in a World Series was 1945. Some fans claim the Curse of the Billy Goat is responsible for the drought.

The Chicago Marathon has been held each year since 1977; except for 1987, when a half marathon was run in its place. The Chicago Marathon is one of six World Marathon Majors.

Five area colleges play in Division I conferences: the Chicago State Cougars (Western Athletic Conference); the DePaul Blue Demons (Big East Conference); the Loyola Ramblers (Missouri Valley Conference); the Northwestern Wildcats (Big Ten Conference); and the UIC Flames (Horizon League).


When Chicago was incorporated in 1837, it chose the motto Urbs in Horto, a Latin phrase which translates into English as "City in a Garden". Today, the Chicago Park District consists of more than 570 parks with over 8,000 acres (3,200 ha) of municipal parkland. There are 31 sand beaches, a plethora of museums, two world-class conservatories, and 50 nature areas. Lincoln Park, the largest of the city's parks, covers 1,200 acres (490 ha) and has over 20 million visitors each year, making it third in the number of visitors after Central Park in New York City, and the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C.

With berths for more than 6,000 boats, the Chicago Park District operates the nation's largest municipal harbor system. In addition to ongoing beautification and renewal projects for the existing parks, a number of new parks have been added in recent years, such as the Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown, DuSable Park on the Near North Side, and most notably, Millennium Park, which is in the northwestern corner of one of Chicago's oldest parks, Grant Park in the Chicago Loop.

The wealth of greenspace afforded by Chicago's parks is further augmented by the Cook County Forest Preserves, a network of open spaces containing forest, prairie, wetland, streams, and lakes that are set aside as natural areas which lie along the city's periphery, home to both the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe and the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield. In addition, Washington Park is one of the city's biggest parks as well; covering nearly as much as 400 acres (162 ha). The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in South Side Chicago.

Law and government


The government of the City of Chicago is divided into executive and legislative branches. The Mayor of Chicago is the chief executive, elected by general election for a term of four years, with no term limits. The mayor appoints commissioners and other officials who oversee the various departments. In addition to the mayor, Chicago's two other citywide elected officials are the clerk and the treasurer. The City Council is the legislative branch and is made up of 50 aldermen, one elected from each ward in the city. The council takes official action through the passage of ordinances and resolutions and approves the city budget.

The Chicago Police Department provides law enforcement for the City of Chicago and its residents. The Chicago Fire Department provides fire suppression and emergency medical services for the City of Chicago and its residents. Civil and criminal law cases are heard in the Cook County Circuit Court of the State of Illinois court system, or in the Northern District of Illinois, in the federal system. In the former, the public prosecutor is the Illinois State's Attorney, in the latter, the United States Attorney.


During much of the last half of the 19th century, Chicago's politics were dominated by a growing Democratic Party organization. During the 1880s and 1890s, Chicago had a powerful radical tradition with large and highly organized socialist, anarchist and labor organizations. For much of the 20th century, Chicago has been among the largest and most reliable Democratic strongholds in the United States; with Chicago's Democratic vote the state of Illinois has been "solid blue" in presidential elections since 1992. Even before then, it was not unheard of for Republican presidential candidates to win handily in downstate Illinois, only to lose statewide due to large Democratic margins in Chicago. The citizens of Chicago have not elected a Republican mayor since 1927, when William Thompson was voted into office. The strength of the party in the city is partly a consequence of Illinois state politics, where the Republicans have come to represent the rural and farm concerns while the Democrats support urban issues such as Chicago's public school funding. Chicago contains less than 25% of the state's population, but 8 of Illinois' 19 U.S. Representatives have part of Chicago in their districts.

Machine politics persisted in Chicago after the decline of similar machines in other large U.S. cities. During much of that time, the city administration found opposition mainly from a liberal "independent" faction of the Democratic Party. The independents finally gained control of city government in 1983 with the election of Harold Washington (in office 1983–1987). From 1989 until May 16, 2011, Chicago was under the leadership of its longest serving mayor, Richard M. Daley, the son of Richard J. Daley. On May 16, 2011, Rahm Emanuel was sworn in as the 55th mayor of Chicago. Because of the dominance of the Democratic Party in Chicago, the Democratic primary vote held in the spring is generally more significant than the general elections in November for U.S. House and Illinois State seats. The aldermanic, mayoral, and other city offices are filled through nonpartisan elections with runoffs as needed.


Chicago had a murder rate of 18.5 per 100,000 residents in 2012, ranking 16th among cities with 100,000 people or more. This was less in comparison to smaller American cities, including New Orleans, Newark, and Detroit, which saw 53 murders per 100,000 residents in 2012. Though it has a significantly lower murder rate than many smaller American cities, the two largest cities in the United States, New York City and Los Angeles, have lower rates and lower total homicides. According to reports in 2013, "[m]ost of Chicago's violent crime comes from gangs trying to maintain control of drug-selling territories", and is specifically related to the activities of the Sinaloa Cartel, which by 2006 had decided to seek to control illicit drug distribution, over against local street gangs. Violent crime rates vary significantly by area of the city, with more economically developed areas having low rates, but other sections have much higher rates of crime. In 2013, the violent crime rate was 910 per 100,000 people; the murder rate was 10.4 -- while high crime districts saw 38.9, low crime districts saw 2.5 murders per 100,000.

The total number of murders in Chicago peaked in 1974, with 970 murders when the city's population was over 3 million people (resulting in a murder rate of around 29 per 100,000), and came close to peaking again in 1992 with 943 murders, resulting in a murder rate of 34 per 100,000. Chicago, along with other major U.S. cities, experienced a significant reduction in violent crime rates through the 1990s, eventually recording 448 homicides in 2004, the lowest total since 1965 (15.65 per 100,000.) Chicago's homicide tally remained steady throughout 2005, 2006, and 2007 with 449, 452, and 435 respectively.

In 2008, murders rebounded to 510, breaking 500 for the first time since 2003. For 2009, the murder count was down about 10% for the year, to 458. 2010 saw Chicago's murder rate at its lowest levels since 1965. Overall, 435 homicides were recorded for the year (16.14 per 100,000), a 5% decrease from 2009. 2011 saw Chicago's murders at 431 for a murder rate of 15.94 per 100,000 for a drop of 1.2% from 2010.

2012 saw a spike in murders to 506. That year the city ranked 21st in the United States in numbers of homicides per person, while the first half of 2013 saw a significant drop per-person, in all categories of violent crime in Chicago, including homicide (down 26%). Chicago ended 2013 with 415 murders, the lowest number of murders since 1965, and overall crime rates dropped by 16 percent.

It is estimated that in 2012 shootings cost the city of Chicago $2.5 billion according to Jens Ludwig, director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab.


Schools and libraries

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the governing body of the school district that contains over 600 public elementary and high schools citywide, including several selective-admission magnet schools. There are ten selective enrollment high schools in the Chicago Public Schools. They are designed to meet the needs of Chicago's most academically advanced students. The schools offer a rigorous curriculum with mainly honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Northside College Preparatory High School is ranked number one in the city of Chicago. Walter Payton College Prep High School is ranked second. The oldest magnet school in the city, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, which was opened in 1975, is ranked number three. The magnet school with the largest enrollment is Lane Technical College Prep High School. Lane is one of the oldest schools in Chicago and in 2012 was designated a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Chicago high school rankings are determined by the average test scores on state achievement tests. The district, with an enrollment exceeding 400,545 students (2013-2014 20th Day Enrollment), ranks as the third largest in the U.S. On September 10, 2012, teachers for the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike for the first time since 1987 over pay, resources and other issues. According to data complied in 2014, Chicago's "choice system", where students who test or apply and may attend one of a number of public high schools (there are approximately 130), sorts students of different achievement levels into different schools (high performing, middle performing, and low performing schools).

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago operates the city's Catholic schools, including the Jesuit preparatory schools. Some of the more prominent Catholic schools are St. Rita of Cascia High School, De La Salle Institute, Josephinum Academy, DePaul College Prep, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Brother Rice High School, St. Ignatius College Preparatory School, Mount Carmel High School, Queen of Peace High School, Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School, Marist High School, St. Patrick High School and Resurrection High School.

In addition to Chicago's network of Lutheran schools, there are also several private schools run by other denominations and faiths, such as the Ida Crown Jewish Academy in West Ridge. Additionally, a number of private schools are run in a completely secular educational environment, such as the Latin School of Chicago in the Near North Side neighborhood, the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Hyde Park, the British School of Chicago and the Francis W. Parker School in Lincoln Park, the Lycée Français de Chicago in Uptown, the Feltre School in River North and the Morgan Park Academy. Chicago is also home of the private Chicago Academy for the Arts, a high school focused on six different categories of the arts. Also, Chicago is home of the public Chicago High School for the Arts, a high school focused on five categories (visual arts, theatre, musical theatre, dance, and music) of the arts.

The Chicago Public Library system operates 79 public libraries, including the central library, two regional libraries, and numerous branches distributed throughout the city.

Colleges and universities

Since the 1850s, Chicago has been a world center of higher education and research with several universities that are in the city proper or in the immediate environs. These institutions consistently rank among the top "National Universities" in the United States, as determined by U.S. News & World Report. Top universities in Chicago are: the University of Chicago; Northwestern University; Loyola University Chicago; Illinois Institute of Technology; DePaul University; and University of Illinois at Chicago. Other notable schools include: Chicago State University; the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago; East–West University; National Louis University; North Park University; Northeastern Illinois University; Columbia College Chicago; Robert Morris University; Roosevelt University; Saint Xavier University; Rush University; and Shimer College.

William Rainey Harper, the first president of the University of Chicago, was instrumental in the creation of the junior college concept, establishing nearby Joliet Junior College as the first in the nation in 1901. His legacy continues with the multiple community colleges in the Chicago proper, including the seven City Colleges of Chicago: Richard J. Daley College, Kennedy–King College, Malcolm X College, Olive–Harvey College, Truman College, Harold Washington College and Wilbur Wright College, in addition to the privately held MacCormac College.

Chicago also has a high concentration of post-baccalaureate institutions, graduate schools, seminaries, and theological schools, such as the Adler School of Professional Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, the Erikson Institute, The Institute for Clinical Social Work, the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, the Catholic Theological Union, the Moody Bible Institute, and the University of Chicago Divinity School.


The Chicago metropolitan area is the third-largest media market in North America, after New York City and Los Angeles. Each of the big four U.S. television networks, CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox, directly owns and operates a high-definition television station in Chicago (WBBM, WLS, WMAQ and WFLD, respectively). WGN‑TV, which is owned by the Tribune Company, is carried with some programming differences, as "WGN America" on cable and satellite TV nationwide and in parts of the Caribbean. The city is also the home of several talk shows, including former The Oprah Winfrey Show on WLS‑TV, while Chicago Public Radio produces programs such as PRI's This American Life and NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! Chicago's PBS station can be seen on WTTW, producer of shows such as Sneak Previews, The Frugal Gourmet, Lamb Chop's Play-Along and The McLaughlin Group, just to name a few and WYCC.

There are two major daily newspapers published in Chicago: the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, with the former having the larger circulation. There are also several regional and special-interest newspapers and magazines, such as Chicago, the Dziennik Związkowy (Polish Daily News), Draugas (the Lithuanian daily newspaper), the Chicago Reader, the SouthtownStar, the Chicago Defender, the Daily Herald, Newcity, StreetWise and the Windy City Times. The entertainment and cultural magazine Time Out Chicago and GRAB magazine are also published in the city, as well as local music magazine Chicago Innerview. In addition, Chicago is the recent home of satirical national news outlet, The Onion, as well as its sister pop-culture publication, The A.V. Club.

Chicago is a filming-friendly location. Since the 1980s, many motion pictures have been filmed in the city, most notably The Blues Brothers; Ferris Bueller's Day Off; Home Alone; The Fugitive; I, Robot; Wanted; Batman Begins; The Dark Knight; Transformers: Dark of the Moon; Divergent and Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Chicago has also been the setting for many popular television shows, including the situation comedies Perfect Strangers and its spinoff Family Matters, Married...with Children, The League, The Bob Newhart Show, and Shake It Up. The city served as the venue for the medical dramas ER and Chicago Hope, as well as the fantasy drama series Early Edition and the 2005–2009 drama Prison Break. Discovery Channel films two shows in Chicago: Cook County Jail and the Chicago version of Cash Cab. Chicago is currently the setting CBS's The Good Wife and Mike and Molly, Showtime's Shameless, and NBC's Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D..

Chicago has five 50,000 watt AM radio stations: the CBS Radio-owned WBBM and WSCR; the Tribune Broadcasting-owned WGN; the Cumulus Media-owned WLS; and the ESPN Radio-owned WMVP. Chicago is also home to a number of national radio shows, including Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont on Sunday evenings.

Chicago is also featured in a few video games, including Watch Dogs and Midtown Madness, a real-life, car-driving simulation game. In 2005, indie rock artist Sufjan Stevens created a concept album about Illinois titled Illinois; many of its songs were about Chicago and its history.



Chicago is a major transportation hub in the United States. It is an important component in global distribution, as it is the third largest inter-modal port in the world after Hong Kong and Singapore.


Seven mainline and four auxiliary interstate highways (55, 57, 65 (only in Indiana), 80 (also in Indiana), 88, 90 (also in Indiana), 94 (also in Indiana), 190, 290, 294, and 355) run through Chicago and its suburbs. Segments that link to the city center are named after influential politicians, with three of them named after former U.S. Presidents (Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Reagan) and one named after two-time Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson.

The Kennedy and Dan Ryan Expressways are the busiest state maintained routes in the entire state of Illinois.

Transit systems

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) coordinates the operation of the three service boards: CTA, Metra, and Pace.

  • The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) handles public transportation in the City of Chicago and a few adjacent suburbs outside of the Chicago city limits. The CTA operates an extensive network of buses and a rapid transit elevated and subway system known as the 'L' (for "elevated"), with lines designated by colors. These rapid transit lines also serve both Midway and O'Hare Airports. The CTA's rail lines consist of the Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Brown, Purple, Pink, and Yellow lines. Both the Red and Blue lines offer 24‑hour service which makes Chicago one of a handful of cities around the world (and one of two in the United States, the other being New York City) to offer rail service 24 hours a day, every day of the year, within the city's limits.
  • Metra, the nation's second-most used passenger regional rail network, operates an 11-line commuter rail service in Chicago and throughout the Chicago suburbs. The Metra Electric Line shares its trackage with Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District's South Shore Line, which provides commuter service between South Bend and Chicago.
  • Pace provides bus and paratransit service in over 200 surrounding suburbs with some extensions into the city as well. A 2005 study found that one quarter of commuters used public transit.

Greyhound Lines provides inter-city bus service to and from the city, and Chicago is also the hub for the Midwest network of Megabus (North America).

Passenger rail

Amtrak long distance and commuter rail services originate from Union Station. Chicago is one of the largest hubs of passenger rail service in the nation. The services terminate in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York City, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Portland, Seattle, Milwaukee, Quincy, St. Louis, Carbondale, Boston, Grand Rapids, Port Huron, Pontiac, Los Angeles, and San Antonio. An attempt was made in the early 20th century to link Chicago with New York City via the Chicago – New York Electric Air Line Railroad. Parts of this were built, but it was ultimately never completed.

Freight rail

Chicago is the largest hub in the railroad industry. Six of the seven Class I railroads meet in Chicago, with the exception being the Kansas City Southern Railway. As of 2002, severe freight train congestion caused trains to take as long to get through the Chicago region as it took to get there from the West Coast of the country (about 2 days). About one-third of the country's freight trains pass through the city, making it a major national bottleneck. Announced in 2003, the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) initiative is using about $1.5 billion in private railroad, state, local, and federal funding to improve rail infrastructure in the region to reduce freight rail congestion by about one third.


Chicago is served by O'Hare International Airport, the world's second busiest airport, on the far Northwest Side, and Midway International Airport on the Southwest Side. In 2005, O'Hare was the world's busiest airport by aircraft movements and the second busiest by total passenger traffic (due to government enforced flight caps). Both O'Hare and Midway are owned and operated by the City of Chicago. Gary/Chicago International Airport and Chicago Rockford International Airport, located in Gary, Indiana and Rockford, Illinois, respectively, can serve as alternate Chicago area airports, however they do not offer as many commercial flights as O'Hare and Midway. In recent years the state of Illinois has been leaning towards building an entirely new airport in the Illinois suburbs of Chicago. The City of Chicago is the world headquarters for United Airlines, the world's largest airline.

Port authority

The Port of Chicago consists of several major port facilities within the city of Chicago operated by the Illinois International Port District (formerly known as the Chicago Regional Port District). The central element of the Port District, Calumet Harbor, is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • Iroquois Landing Lakefront Terminal: at the mouth of the Calumet River, it includes 100 acres (0.40 km2) of warehouses and facilities on Lake Michigan with over 780,000 square meters (8,390,000 square feet) of storage.
  • Lake Calumet terminal: located at the union of the Grand Calumet River and Little Calumet River 6 miles (9.7 km) inland from Lake Michigan. Includes three transit sheds totaling over 29,000 square meters (315,000 square feet) adjacent to over 900 linear meters (3,000 linear feet) of ship and barge berthing.
  • Grain (14 million bushels) and bulk liquid (800,000 barrels) storage facilities along Lake Calumet.
  • The Illinois International Port district also operates Foreign trade zone No. 22, which extends 60 miles (97 km) from Chicago's city limits.


Electricity for most of northern Illinois is provided by Commonwealth Edison, also known as ComEd. Their service territory borders Iroquois County to the south, the Wisconsin border to the north, the Iowa border to the west and the Indiana border to the east. In northern Illinois, ComEd (a division of Exelon) operates the greatest number of nuclear generating plants in any US state. Because of this, ComEd reports indicate that Chicago receives about 75% of its electricity from nuclear power. Recently, the city started the installation of wind turbines on government buildings with the aim to promote the use of renewable energy.

Natural Gas is provided by Peoples Gas, a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group, which is headquartered in Chicago.

Domestic and industrial waste was once incinerated but it is now landfilled, mainly in the Calumet area. From 1995 to 2008, the city had a blue bag program to divert certain refuse from landfills. In the fall of 2007 the city began a pilot program for blue bin recycling similar to that of other cities due to low participation rates in the blue bag program. After completion of the pilot the city will determine whether to roll it out to all wards.

Health systems

Chicago is home to the Illinois Medical District, on the Near West Side. It includes Rush University Medical Center, the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, Jesse Brown VA Hospital, and John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, one of the busiest trauma centers in the nation.

Two of the country's premier academic medical centers reside in Chicago, including Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the University of Chicago Medical Center. The Chicago campus of Northwestern University includes the Feinberg School of Medicine; Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which is ranked as the best hospital in the Chicago metropolitan area by U.S. News & World Report for 2010–11; the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, which is ranked the best U.S. rehabilitation hospital by U.S. News & World Report; the new Prentice Women's Hospital; and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

The University of Illinois College of Medicine at UIC is the largest medical school in the United States (2,600 students including those at campuses in Peoria, Rockford and Urbana–Champaign).

In addition, the Chicago Medical School and Loyola University Chicago's Stritch School of Medicine are located in the suburbs of North Chicago and Maywood, respectively. The Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine is in Downers Grove.

The American Medical Association, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, American Osteopathic Association, American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, American College of Surgeons, American Society for Clinical Pathology, American College of Healthcare Executives and the American Hospital Association, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association are all based in Chicago.

Notable people

Sister cities

Chicago has 28 sister cities around the world. Like Chicago, many of them are or were the second most populous city or second most influential city of their country, or they are the main city of a country that has had large amounts of immigrants settle in Chicago. These relationships have sought to promote economic, cultural, educational, and other ties.

To celebrate the sister cities, Chicago hosts a yearly festival in Daley Plaza, which features cultural acts and food tastings from the other cities. In addition, the Chicago Sister Cities program hosts a number of delegation and formal exchanges. In some cases, these exchanges have led to further informal collaborations, such as the academic relationship between the Buehler Center on Aging, Health & Society at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University and the Institute of Gerontology of Ukraine (originally of the Soviet Union), that was originally established as part of the Chicago-Kiev sister cities program.

Sister cities

See also

  • List of cities with the most skyscrapers
  • List of fiction set in Chicago
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Central Chicago
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in North Side Chicago
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in South Side Chicago
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in West Side Chicago

Notes and references



External links

  • City of Chicago official website
  • City of Chicago data portal
  • Choose Chicago: City of Chicago's official tourism website
  • Chicago at DMOZ
  • Maps of Chicago from the American Geographical Society Library
  • Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) No. IL-10, "Chicago Cityscape, Chicago, Cook County, IL", 45 photos, 4 photo caption pages


Illinois (/ˌɪlɨˈnɔɪ/ IL-i-NOY) is a state in the Midwestern United States. It is the 5th most populous and 25th most extensive state, and is often noted as a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base and is a major transportation hub. The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean; as well as the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois River. For decades, O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and politics.

Although today the state's largest population center is around Chicago in the northern part of the state, the state's European population grew first in the west, with French Canadians who settled along the Mississippi River, and gave the area the name, Illinois. After the American Revolutionary War established the United States, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1810s via the Ohio River, and the population grew from south to north. In 1818, Illinois achieved statehood. After construction of the Erie Canal increased traffic and trade through the Great Lakes, Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River, at one of the few natural harbors on southern Lake Michigan. John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois' rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmlands, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. Railroads carried immigrants to new homes, as well as being used to ship their commodity crops out to markets.

By 1900, the growth of industrial jobs in the northern cities and coal mining in the central and southern areas attracted immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. Illinois was an important manufacturing center during both world wars. The Great Migration from the South established a large community of African Americans in Chicago, who created the city's famous jazz and blues cultures.

Three U.S. presidents have been elected while living in Illinois: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Barack Obama. Additionally, Ronald Reagan, whose political career was based in California, was the only US President born and raised in Illinois. Today, Illinois honors Lincoln with its official state slogan, Land of Lincoln, which has been displayed on its license plates since 1954. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is located in the state capital of Springfield.


"Illinois" is the modern spelling for the early French missionaries and explorers' name for the Illinois natives, a name that was spelled in many different ways in the early records.

American scholars previously thought the name "Illinois" meant "man" or "men" in the Miami-Illinois language, with the original iliniwek transformed via French into Illinois. This etymology is not supported by the Illinois language, as the word for 'man' is ireniwa and plural 'men' is ireniwaki. The name Illiniwek has also been said to mean "tribe of superior men", which is a false etymology. The name "Illinois" derives from the Miami-Illinois verb irenwe·wa "he speaks the regular way". This was taken into the Ojibwe language, perhaps in the Ottawa dialect, and modified into ilinwe· (pluralized as ilinwe·k). The French borrowed these forms, changing the /we/ ending to spell it as -ois, a transliteration for its pronunciation in French of that time. The current spelling form, Illinois, began to appear in the early 1670s, when French colonists had settled in the western area. The Illinois' name for themselves, as attested in all three of the French missionary-period dictionaries of Illinois, was Inoka, of unknown meaning and unrelated to the other terms.



American Indians of successive cultures lived along the waterways of the Illinois area for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. The Koster Site has been excavated and demonstrates 7,000 years of continuous habitation. Cahokia, the largest regional chiefdom and urban center of the Pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, was located near present-day Collinsville, Illinois. They built an urban complex of more than 100 platform and burial mounds, a 50 acres (20 ha) plaza larger than 35 football fields, and a woodhenge of sacred cedar, all in a planned design expressing the culture's cosmology. Monks Mound, the center of the site, is the largest precolumbian structure north of the Valley of Mexico. It is 100 feet (30 m) high, 951 feet (290 m) long, 836 feet (255 m) wide and covers 13.8 acres (5.6 ha). It contains about 814,000 cubic yards (622,000 m3) of earth. It was topped by a structure thought to have measured about 105 feet (32 m) in length and 48 feet (15 m) in width, covered an area 5,000 square feet (460 m2), and been as much as 50 feet (15 m) high, making its peak 150 feet (46 m) above the level of the plaza. The civilization vanished in the 15th century for unknown reasons, but historians and archeologists have speculated that the people depleted the area of resources. Many indigenous tribes engaged in constant warfare. According to Suzanne Austin Alchon, "At one site in the central Illinois River valley, one-third of all adults died as a result of violent injuries."

The next major power in the region was the Illinois Confederation or Illini, a political alliance. As the Illini declined during the Beaver Wars era, members of the Algonquian-speaking Potawatomi, Miami, Sauk, and other tribes including the Fox (Mesquakie), Ioway, Kickapoo , Mascouten, Piankashaw, Shawnee, Wea, and Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) came into the area from the east and north around the Great Lakes.

European exploration

French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet explored the Illinois River in 1673. In 1680, other French explorers constructed a fort at the site of present day Peoria, and in 1682, a fort atop Starved Rock in today's Starved Rock State Park. French Canadians came south to settle particularly along the Mississippi River, and Illinois was part of the French empire of La Louisiane until 1763, when it passed to the British with their defeat of France in the Seven Years' War. The small French settlements continued, although many French migrated west to Ste. Genevieve and St. Louis, Missouri to evade British rule.

A few British soldiers were posted in Illinois, but few British or American settlers moved there, as the Crown made it part of the territory reserved for Indians west of the Appalachians. In 1778, George Rogers Clark claimed Illinois County for Virginia. In a compromise, Virginia ceded the area to the new United States in 1783 and it became part of the Northwest Territory, to be administered by the federal government and later organized as states.

19th century

The Illinois-Wabash Company was an early claimant to much of Illinois. The Illinois Territory was created on February 3, 1809, with its capital at Kaskaskia, an early French settlement.

During the discussions leading up to Illinois' admission to the Union, the proposed northern boundary of the state was moved twice. The original provisions of the Northwest Ordinance had specified a boundary that would have been tangent to the southern tip of Lake Michigan. Such a boundary would have left Illinois with no shoreline on Lake Michigan at all. However, as Indiana had successfully been granted a 10-mile northern extension of its boundary to provide it with a usable lakefront, the original bill for Illinois statehood, submitted to Congress on January 23, 1818, stipulated a northern border at the same latitude as Indiana's, which is defined as 10 miles (16 km) north of the southernmost extremity of Lake Michigan. But the Illinois delegate, Nathaniel Pope, wanted more. Pope lobbied to have the boundary moved further north, and the final bill passed by Congress did just that; it included an amendment to shift the border to 42° 30' north, which is approximately 51 miles (82 km) north of the Indiana northern border. This shift added 8,500 square miles (22,000 km2) to the state, including the lead mining region near Galena. More importantly, it added nearly 50 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and the Chicago River. Pope and others envisioned a canal that would connect the Chicago and Illinois rivers, and thus, connect the Great Lakes to the Mississippi.

In 1818, Illinois became the 21st U.S. state. The capital remained at Kaskaskia, headquartered in a small building rented by the state. In 1819, Vandalia became the capital, and over the next 18 years, three separate buildings were built to serve successively as the capitol building. In 1837, the state legislators representing Sangamon County, under the leadership of state representative Abraham Lincoln, succeeded in having the capital moved to Springfield, where a fifth capitol building was constructed. A sixth capitol building was erected in 1867, which continues to serve as the Illinois capitol today.

Though it was ostensibly a "free state", there was slavery in Illinois. The ethnic French had owned black slaves as late as the 1820s, and American settlers had already brought slaves into the area from Kentucky. Slavery was nominally banned by the Northwest Ordinance, but that was not enforced for those already holding slaves. When Illinois became a sovereign state in 1818, the Ordinance no longer applied, and about 900 slaves were held in the state. As the southern part of the state, later known as "Egypt"or "Little Egypt", was largely settled by migrants from the South, the section was hostile to free blacks. Settlers were allowed to bring slaves with them for labor but, in 1822, state residents voted against making slavery legal. Still, most residents opposed allowing free blacks as permanent residents. Some settlers brought in slaves seasonally or as house servants. The Illinois Constitution of 1848 was written with a provision for exclusionary laws to be passed. In 1853, John A. Logan helped pass a law to prohibit all African Americans, including freedmen, from settling in the state.

In 1832, the Black Hawk War was fought in Illinois and current-day Wisconsin between the United States and the Sauk, Fox (Meskwaki) and Kickapoo Indian tribes. It represents the end of Indian resistance to white settlement in the Chicago region. The Indians had been forced to leave their homes and move to Iowa in 1831; when they attempted to return, they were attacked and eventually defeated by U.S. militia. The survivors were forced back to Iowa.

The winter of 1830–1831 is called the "Winter of the Deep Snow"; a sudden, deep snowfall blanketed the state, making travel impossible for the rest of the winter, and many travelers perished. Several severe winters followed, including the "Winter of the Sudden Freeze". On December 20, 1836, a fast-moving cold front passed through, freezing puddles in minutes and killing many travelers who could not reach shelter. The adverse weather resulted in crop failures in the northern part of the state. The southern part of the state shipped food north and this may have contributed to its name: "Little Egypt", after the Biblical story of Joseph in Egypt supplying grain to his brothers.

By 1839, the Mormons had founded a utopian city called Nauvoo. Located in Hancock County along the Mississippi River, Nauvoo flourished and soon rivaled Chicago for the position of the state's largest city. But in 1844, the Mormon leader Joseph Smith was murdered in the Carthage Jail, about 30 miles away from Nauvoo. Soon afterward, the Mormons' new leadership led the group out of Illinois in a mass exodus to present-day Utah; after close to six years of rapid development, Nauvoo rapidly declined afterward.

Chicago gained prominence as a Great Lakes port and then as an Illinois and Michigan Canal port after 1848, and as a rail hub soon afterward. By 1857, Chicago was Illinois' largest city. With the tremendous growth of mines and factories in the state in the 19th century, Illinois was the ground for the formation of labor unions in the United States. The Pullman Strike and Haymarket Riot, in particular, greatly influenced the development of the American labor movement. From Sunday, October 8, 1871, until Tuesday, October 10, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire burned in downtown Chicago, destroying 4 square miles (10 km2).

In 1847, after lobbying by Dorothea L. Dix, Illinois became one of the first states to establish a system of state-supported treatment of mental illness and disabilities, replacing local almshouses.

Civil War

During the American Civil War, Illinois ranked fourth in men who served (more than 250,000) in the Union Army, a figure surpassed by only New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Beginning with President Abraham Lincoln's first call for troops and continuing throughout the war, Illinois mustered 150 infantry regiments, which were numbered from the 7th to the 156th regiments. Seventeen cavalry regiments were also gathered, as well as two light artillery regiments. The town of Cairo, at the southern tip of the state at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, served as a strategically important supply base and training center for the Union army. For several months, both General Grant and Admiral Foote had headquarters in Cairo.

20th century

At the turn of the 20th century, Illinois had a population of nearly 5 million. Many people from other parts of the country were attracted to the state by employment caused by the then-expanding industrial base. Whites were 98% of the state's population. Bolstered by continued immigration from southern and eastern Europe, and by the African-American Great Migration from the South, Illinois grew and emerged as one of the most important states in the union. By the end of the century, the population had reached 12.4 million.

The Century of Progress World's Fair was held at Chicago in 1933. Oil strikes in Marion County and Crawford County lead to a boom in 1937, and, by 1939, Illinois ranked fourth in U.S. oil production. Illinois manufactured 6.1 percent of total United States military armaments produced during World War II, ranking seventh among the 48 states. Chicago became an ocean port with the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959. The seaway and the Illinois Waterway connected Chicago to both the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean. In 1960, Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's franchise in Des Plaines (which still exists as a museum, with a working McDonald's across the street).

Illinois had a prominent role in the emergence of the nuclear age. As part of the Manhattan Project, in 1942 the University of Chicago conducted the first sustained nuclear chain reaction. In 1957, Argonne National Laboratory, near Chicago, activated the first experimental nuclear power generating system in the United States. By 1960, the first privately financed nuclear plant in United States, Dresden 1, was dedicated near Morris. In 1967, Fermilab, a national nuclear research facility near Batavia, opened a particle accelerator, which was the world's largest for over 40 years. And, with eleven plants currently operating, Illinois leads all states in the amount of electricity generated from nuclear power.

In 1961, Illinois became the first state in the nation to adopt the recommendation of the American Law Institute and pass a comprehensive criminal code revision that repealed the law against sodomy. The code also abrogated common law crimes and established an age of consent of 18. The state's fourth constitution was adopted in 1970, replacing the 1870 document.

The first Farm Aid concert was held in Champaign to benefit American farmers, in 1985. The worst upper Mississippi River flood of the century, the Great Flood of 1993, inundated many towns and thousands of acres of farmland.


Illinois is located in the Midwest Region of the United States and is one of the nine states and Canadian Province of Ontario in the bi-national Great Lakes region of North America.


Illinois' eastern border with Indiana consists of a north-south line at 87° 31′ 30″ west longitude in Lake Michigan at the north, to the Wabash River in the south above Post Vincennes. The Wabash River continues as the eastern/southeastern border with Indiana until the Wabash enters the Ohio River. This marks the beginning of Illinois' southern border with Kentucky, which runs along the northern shoreline of the Ohio River. Most of the western border with Missouri and Iowa is the Mississippi River; Kaskaskia is an exclave of Illinois, lying west of the Mississippi and reachable only from Missouri. The state's northern border with Wisconsin is fixed at 42° 30' north latitude. The northeastern border of Illinois lies in Lake Michigan, within which Illinois shares a water boundary with the state of Michigan, as well as Wisconsin and Indiana.


Though Illinois lies entirely in the Interior Plains, it does have some minor variation in its elevation. In extreme northwestern Illinois, the Driftless Area, a region of unglaciated and therefore higher and more rugged topography, occupies a small part of the state. Charles Mound, located in this region, has the state's highest elevation above sea level at 1,235 feet (376 m). Other highlands include the Shawnee Hills in the south, and there is varying topography along its rivers; the Illinois River bisects the state northeast to southwest. The floodplain on the Mississippi River from Alton to the Kaskaskia River is known as the American Bottom.


Illinois has three major geographical divisions. Northern Illinois is dominated by Chicagoland, which is the city of Chicago and its suburbs, and the adjoining exurban area into which the metropolis is expanding. As defined by the federal government, the Chicago metro area includes several counties in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, and has a population of over 9.8 million people. Chicago itself is a cosmopolitan city, densely populated, industrialized, and the transportation hub of the nation, and settled by a wide variety of ethnic groups. The city of Rockford, Illinois' third largest city and center of the state's fourth largest metropolitan area, sits along Interstates 39 and 90 some 75 miles (121 km) northwest of Chicago. The Quad Cities region, located along the Mississippi River in northern Illinois, had a population of 381,342 in 2011.

The midsection of Illinois is a second major division, called Central Illinois. It is an area of mostly prairie and known as the Heart of Illinois. It is characterized by small towns and medium-small cities. The western section (west of the Illinois River) was originally part of the Military Tract of 1812 and forms the conspicuous western bulge of the state. Agriculture, particularly corn and soybeans, as well as educational institutions and manufacturing centers, figure prominently in Central Illinois. Cities include Peoria, Springfield, the state capital; Quincy; Decatur; Bloomington-Normal; and Champaign-Urbana.

The third division is Southern Illinois, comprising the area south of U.S. Route 50, including Little Egypt, near the juncture of the Mississippi River and Ohio River. Southern Illinois is the site of the ancient city of Cahokia, as well as the site of the first state capital at Kaskaskia, which today is separated from the rest of the state by the Mississippi River. This region has a somewhat warmer winter climate, different variety of crops (including some cotton farming in the past), more rugged topography (due to the area remaining unglaciated during the Illinoian Stage, unlike most of the rest of the state), as well as small-scale oil deposits and coal mining. The Illinois suburbs of St. Louis, such as East St. Louis are located in this region and collectively they are known as the Metro-East. The other somewhat significant concentration of population in Southern Illinois is the Carbondale-Marion-Herrin, Illinois Combined Statistical Area centered on Carbondale and Marion, a two-county area that is home to 123,272 residents. A portion of southeastern Illinois is part of the extended Evansville, Indiana Metro Area, locally referred to as the Tri-State with Indiana and Kentucky. Seven Illinois counties are in the area.

In addition to these three, largely latitudinally defined divisions, all of the region outside of the Chicago Metropolitan area is often called "downstate" Illinois. This term is flexible, but is generally meant to mean everything outside the Chicago-area. Thus, some cities in Northern Illinois, such as DeKalb, which is west of Chicago, and Rockford—which is actually north of Chicago—are considered to be "downstate".


Illinois has a climate that varies widely throughout the year. Because of its nearly 400-mile distance between its northernmost and southernmost extremes, as well as its mid-continental situation, most of Illinois has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa), with hot, humid summers and cold winters. The southernmost part of the state, from about Carbondale southward, borders on a humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa), with more moderate winters. Average yearly precipitation for Illinois varies from just over 48 inches (1,219 mm) at the southern tip to around 35 inches (889 mm) in the northern portion of the state. Normal annual snowfall exceeds 38 inches (965 mm) in the Chicago area, while the southern portion of the state normally receives less than 14 inches (356 mm). The all-time high temperature was 117 °F (47 °C), recorded on July 14, 1954, at East St. Louis, while the all time low temperature was −36 °F (−38 °C), recorded on January 5, 1999, at Congerville. A temperature of -37 °F (-39 °C), was recorded on January 15, 2009, at Rochelle.

Illinois averages around 51 days of thunderstorm activity a year, which ranks somewhat above average in the number of thunderstorm days for the United States. Illinois is vulnerable to tornadoes with an average of 35 occurring annually, which puts much of the state at around five tornadoes per 10,000 square miles (30,000 km2) annually. While tornadoes are no more powerful in Illinois than other states, the nation's deadliest tornadoes on record have occurred largely in Illinois because it is the most populous state in Tornado Alley. The Tri-State Tornado of 1925 killed 695 people in three states; 613 of the victims died in Illinois. Other significant high-casualty tornadoes include the 1896 St. Louis – East St. Louis tornado, which killed 111 people in East St. Louis and a May 1917 tornado that killed 101 people in Charleston and Mattoon. Modern developments in storm forecasting and tracking have caused death tolls from tornadoes to decline dramatically, with the 1967 Belvidere – Oak Lawn tornado outbreak (58 fatalities) and 1990 Plainfield tornado (29 fatalities) standing out as exceptions. On November 18, 2013, tornadoes touched down and ripped through Washington, Illinois. There were 7 fatalities.


The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Illinois was 12,882,135 on July 1, 2013, a 0.3% increase since the 2010 United States Census. Illinois is the most populous state in the Midwest region. Chicago, the third most populous city in the United States, is the center of the Chicago metropolitan area. Chicagoland, as this area is known locally, comprises only 8% of the land area of the state, but contains 65% of the state's residents.

According to the 2010 Census, the racial composition of the state was:

  • 71.5% White American (63.7% non-Hispanic white, 7.8% White Hispanic)
  • 14.5% Black or African American
  • 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native
  • 4.6% Asian American
  • 2.3% Multiracial American
  • 6.8% some other race

In the same year 15.8% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race).

The state's most populous ethnic group, non-Hispanic white, has declined from 83.5% in 1970 to 63.3% in 2011. As of 2011, 49.4% of Illinois's population younger than age 1 were minorities(note: children born to white Hispanics are counted as minority group).

At the 2007 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 1,768,518 foreign-born inhabitants of the state or 13.8% of the population, with 48.4% from Latin America, 24.6% from Asia, 22.8% from Europe, 2.9% from Africa, 1.2% from Northern America and 0.2% from Oceania. Of the foreign-born population, 43.7% were naturalized U.S. citizens and 56.3% were not U.S. citizens. In 2007, 6.9% of Illinois' population was reported as being under age 5, 24.9% under age 18 and 12.1% were age 65 and over. Females made up approximately 50.7% of the population.

According to the 2007 estimates, 21.1% of the population had German ancestry, 13.3% had Irish ancestry, 8% had British ancestry, 7.9% had Polish ancestry, 6.4% had Italian ancestry, 4.6% listed themselves as American, 2.4% had Swedish ancestry, 2.2% had French ancestry, other than Basque, 1.6% had Dutch ancestry, and 1.4% had Norwegian ancestry.

Chicago, along the shores of Lake Michigan, is the nation's third largest city. In 2000, 23.3% of Illinois' population lived in the city of Chicago, 43.3% in Cook County, and 65.6% in the counties of the Chicago metropolitan area: Will, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and McHenry counties, as well as Cook County. The remaining population lives in the smaller cities and rural areas that dot the state's plains. As of 2000, the state's center of population was at 41.278216°N 88.380238°W / 41.278216; -88.380238, located in Grundy County, northeast of the village of Mazon.

Urban areas

Chicago is the largest city in the state and the third most populous city in the United States, with its 2010 population of 2,695,598. The U.S. Census Bureau currently lists seven other cities with populations of over 100,000 within Illinois. Based upon the Census Bureau's official 2010 population: Aurora, a Chicago satellite town that eclipsed Rockford for the title of second most populous city in Illinois; its 2010 population was 197,899. Rockford, at 152,871, is the third largest city in the state, and is the largest city in the state not located within the Chicago suburbs. Joliet, located in metropolitan Chicago, is the fourth largest city in the state, with a population of 147,433. Naperville, a suburb of Chicago, is fifth with 141,853. Naperville and Aurora share a boundary along Illinois Route 59. Springfield, the state's capital, comes in as sixth most populous with 117,352 residents. Peoria, which decades ago was the second-most populous city in the state, is seventh with 115,007. The eighth largest and final city in the 100,000 club is Elgin, a northwest suburb of Chicago, with a 2010 population of 108,188.

The most populated city in the state south of Springfield is Belleville, with 44,478 people at the 2010 census. It is located in the Illinois portion of Greater St. Louis (often called the Metro-East area), which has a rapidly growing population of over 700,000 people.

Other major urban areas include the Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area, which has a combined population of almost 230,000 people, the Illinois portion of the Quad Cities area with about 215,000 people, and the Bloomington-Normal area with a combined population of over 165,000.

Major cities and towns


The official language of Illinois is English, although between 1923 and 1969 state law gave official status to "the American language." Nearly 80% of people in Illinois speak English natively, and most of the rest speak it fluently as a second language. A number of dialects of American English are spoken, ranging from Inland Northern American English and African American Vernacular English around Chicago, to Midland American English in Central Illinois to Southern American English in the far south.

Over 20% of Illinoians speak a language other than English at home, of which Spanish is by far the most widespread at more than 12% of the total population.


Roman Catholics constitute the single largest religious denomination in Illinois; they are heavily concentrated in and around Chicago, and account for nearly 30% of the state's population. However, taken together as a group, the various Protestant denominations comprise a greater percentage of the state's population than do Catholics. In 2010 Catholics in Illinois numbered 3,648,907. The largest Protestant denominations were the United Methodist Church with 314,461, and the Southern Baptist Convention, with 283,519 members. Muslims constituted the largest non-Christian group with 359,264 adherents. Chicago and its suburbs are also home to a large and growing population of Hindus, Muslims, Baha'is and Buddists. Illinois has the largest concentration of Muslims by state in the country with 2800 Muslims per 100,000 citizens.

Illinois played an important role in the early Latter Day Saint movement, with Nauvoo, Illinois, becoming a gathering place for Mormons in the early 1840s. Nauvoo was the location of the succession crisis, which led to the separation of the Mormon movement into several Latter Day Saint sects. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest of the sects to emerge from the Mormon schism, has over 55,000 adherents in Illinois today. The largest and oldest surviving Bahá'í House of Worship in the world is located in Wilmette, Illinois.


The dollar gross state product for Illinois was estimated to be US$652 billion in 2010. The state's 2010 per capita gross state product was estimated to be US$45,302, the state's per capita personal income was estimated to be US$41,411 in 2009, while the state's taxpayer burden in 2011 was estimated at US$38,500 per taxpayer.

As of March 2010, the state's unemployment rate was 11.5%, which fell to 9.9% by August 2011 and 6.6% by September, 2014.


Illinois' state income tax is calculated by multiplying net income by a flat rate. In 1990, that rate was set at 3%, but in 2010, the General Assembly voted in a temporary increase in the rate to 5%; the new rate went into effect on January 1, 2011, and is scheduled to return to 3% after four years. There are two rates for state sales tax: 6.25% for general merchandise and 1% for qualifying food, drugs, and medical appliances. The property tax is a major source of tax revenue for local government taxing districts. The property tax is a local — not state — tax, imposed by local government taxing districts, which include counties, townships, municipalities, school districts, and special taxation districts. The property tax in Illinois is imposed only on real property.


Illinois' major agricultural outputs are corn, soybeans, hogs, cattle, dairy products, and wheat. In most years, Illinois is either the first or second state for the highest production of soybeans, with a harvest of 427.7 million bushels (11.64 million metric tons) in 2008, after Iowa's production of 444.82 million bushels (12.11 million metric tons). Illinois ranks second in U.S. corn production with more than 1.5 billion bushels produced annually. With a production capacity of 1.5 billion gallons per year, Illinois is a top producer of ethanol; ranking third in the United States in 2011. Illinois is a leader in food manufacturing and meat processing. Although Chicago may no longer be "Hog Butcher for the World," the Chicago area remains a global center for food manufacture and meat processing, with many plants, processing houses, and distribution facilities concentrated in the area of the former Union Stock Yards. Illinois also produces wine, and the state is home to two American viticultural areas. In the area of The Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway, peach and apple are grown. The German immigrants from agricultural backgrounds who settled in Illinois in mid- to late 19th century are the in part responsible for the profusion of fruit orchards in that area of Illinois. Illinois' universities are actively researching alternative agricultural products as alternative crops.


Illinois is one of the nation's manufacturing leaders, boasting annual value added productivity by manufacturing of over $107 billion in 2006. As of 2011, Illinois is ranked as the 4th most productive manufacturing state in the country, behind California, Texas, and Ohio. About three-quarters of the state's manufacturers are located in the Northeastern Opportunity Return Region, with 38 percent of Illinois' approximately 18,900 manufacturing plants located in Cook County. As of 2006, the leading manufacturing industries in Illinois, based upon value-added, were chemical manufacturing ($18.3 billion), machinery manufacturing ($13.4 billion), food manufacturing ($12.9 billion), fabricated metal products ($11.5 billion), transportation equipment ($7.4 billion), plastics and rubber products ($7.0 billion), and computer and electronic products ($6.1 billion).


By the early 2000s, Illinois' economy had moved toward a dependence on high-value-added services, such as financial trading, higher education, law, logistics, and medicine. In some cases, these services clustered around institutions that hearkened back to Illinois' earlier economies. For example, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a trading exchange for global derivatives, had begun its life as an agricultural futures market. Other important non-manufacturing industries include publishing, tourism, and energy production and distribution.


Illinois is a net importer of fuels for energy, despite large coal resources and some minor oil production. Illinois exports electricity, ranking fifth among states in electricity production and seventh in electricity consumption.


The coal industry of Illinois has its origins in the middle 19th century, when entrepreneurs such as Jacob Loose discovered coal in locations such as Sangamon County. Jacob Bunn contributed to the development of the Illinois coal industry, and was a founder and owner of the Western Coal & Mining Company of Illinois. About 68% of Illinois has coal-bearing strata of the Pennsylvanian geologic period. According to the Illinois State Geological Survey, 211 billion tons of bituminous coal are estimated to lie under the surface, having a total heating value greater than the estimated oil deposits in the Arabian Peninsula. However, this coal has a high sulfur content, which causes acid rain unless special equipment is used to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions. Many Illinois power plants are not equipped to burn high-sulfur coal. In 1999, Illinois produced 40.4 million tons of coal, but only 17 million tons (42%) of Illinois coal was consumed in Illinois. Most of the coal produced in Illinois is exported to other states and countries. In 2008, Illinois exported 3 million tons of coal and was projected to export 9 million tons in 2011, as demand for energy grows in places such as China, India, elsewise in Asia and Europe. As of 2010, Illinois is was ranked third in recoverable coal reserves at producing mines in the Nation. Most of the coal produced in Illinois is exported to other states, while much of the coal burned for power in Illinois (21 million tons in 1998) is mined in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.

Mattoon was recently chosen as the site for the Department of Energy's FutureGen project, a 275 megawatt experimental zero emission coal-burning power plant that the DOE just gave a second round of funding. In 2010, after a number of setbacks, the city of Mattoon backed out of the project.


Illinois is a leading refiner of petroleum in the American Midwest, with a combined crude oil distillation capacity of nearly 900,000 barrels per day (140,000 m3/d). However, Illinois has very limited crude oil proved reserves that account for less than 1% of U.S. crude oil proved reserves. Residential heating is 81% natural gas compared to less than 1% heating oil. Illinois is ranked 14th in oil production among states, with a daily output of approximately 28,000 barrels (4,500 m3) in 2005.

Nuclear power

Nuclear power arguably began in Illinois with the Chicago Pile-1, the world's first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction in the world's first nuclear reactor, built on the University of Chicago campus. There are six operating nuclear power plants in Illinois: Braidwood; Byron; Clinton; Dresden; LaSalle; and Quad Cities. With the exception of the single-unit Clinton plant, each of these facilities has two reactors. Three reactors have been permanently shut down and are in various stages of decommissioning: Dresden-1 and Zion-1 and 2. Illinois ranked first in the nation in 2010 in both nuclear capacity and nuclear generation. Generation from its nuclear power plants accounted for 12 percent of the Nation’s total. In 2007, 48% of Illinois' electricity was generated using nuclear power. The Morris Operation is the only de facto high-level radioactive waste storage site in the United States.

Wind power

Illinois has seen growing interest in the use of wind power for electrical generation. Most of Illinois was rated in 2009 as "marginal or fair" for wind energy production by the U.S. Department of Energy, with some western sections rated "good" and parts of the south rated "poor". These ratings are for wind turbines with 50-metre (160 ft) hub heights; newer wind turbines are taller, enabling them to reach stronger winds farther from the ground. As a result, more areas of Illinois have become prospective wind farm sites. As of September 2009, Illinois had 1116.06 MW of installed wind power nameplate capacity with another 741.9 MW under construction. Illinois ranked ninth among U.S. states in installed wind power capacity, and sixteenth by potential capacity. Large wind farms in Illinois include Twin Groves, Rail Splitter, EcoGrove, and Mendota Hills.

As of 2007, wind energy represented only 1.7% of Illinois' energy production, and it was estimated that wind power could provide 5–10% of the state's energy needs. Also, the Illinois General Assembly mandated in 2007 that by 2025, 25% of all electricity generated in Illinois is to come from renewable resources.


Illinois is ranked second in corn production among U.S. states, and Illinois corn is used to produce 40% of the ethanol consumed in the United States. The Archer Daniels Midland corporation in Decatur, Illinois is the world's leading producer of ethanol from corn.

The National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC), the world's only facility dedicated to researching the ways and means of converting corn (maize) to ethanol is located on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the partners in the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), a $500 million biofuels research project funded by petroleum giant BP.

Arts and culture


Illinois has numerous museums; the greatest concentration of these is in Chicago. Numerous museums in the city of Chicago are considered some of the best in the world. These include the John G. Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Adler Planetarium, and the Museum of Science and Industry.

The modern Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield is the largest and most attended presidential library in the country. Other historical museums in the state include the Polish Museum of America in Chicago; Magnolia Manor in Cairo; the Elihu Benjamin Washburne; Ulysses S. Grant Homes, both in Galena; and the Chanute Air Museum, located on the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul.

The Chicago metropolitan area also has two zoos: The very large Brookfield Zoo, located approximately 13 miles west of the city center in suburban Brookfield, contains over 2300 animals and covers 216 acres (87 ha). The Lincoln Park Zoo is located in huge Lincoln Park on Chicago's North Side, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the Loop. The zoo covers over 35 acres (14 ha) within the park.


Illinois is a leader in music education having hosted the Midwest Clinic: An International Band and Orchestra Conference since 1946, as well being home to the Illinois Music Educators Association (IMEA), one of the largest professional music educator's organizations in the country. Each summer since 2004, Southern Illinois University Carbondale has played host to the Southern Illinois Music Festival, which presents dozens of performances throughout the region. Past featured artists include the Eroica Trio and violinist David Kim.


Major league teams

As one of the United States' major metropolises, all major sports leagues have teams headquartered in Chicago.

  • Two Major League Baseball teams are located in the state. The Chicago Cubs of the National League play in the second-oldest major league stadium (Wrigley Field) and are widely known for having the longest championship drought in all of major American sport: not winning the World Series since 1908. The Chicago White Sox of the American League won the World Series in 2005, their first since 1917. They play on the City's south side at U.S. Cellular Field.
  • The Chicago Bears football team has won nine total NFL Championships, the last occurring in Super Bowl XX in 1985.
  • The Chicago Bulls of the NBA is one of the most recognized basketball teams in the world, due largely to the efforts of Michael Jordan, who led the team to six NBA championships in eight seasons in the 1990s.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL began playing in 1926, as a member of the Original Six and have won five Stanley Cups, most recently in 2013.
  • The Chicago Fire soccer club is a member of MLS and is one of the league's most successful and best-supported, since its founding in 1997, winning one league and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups in that timespan.

Minor league teams

Many minor league teams also call Illinois their home. They include:

  • The Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL previously played in the Women's Professional Soccer League (WPS) and the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL)
  • The Chicago Wolves are an AHL team.
  • The Chicago Sky of the WNBA
  • The Chicago Bandits of the NPF, a female softball league; the Bandits won their first title in 2008
  • The Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League.
  • The Peoria Rivermen are an SPHL team.
  • The Rockford IceHogs are an AHL team.
  • The Kane County Cougars of the Midwest League.
  • The Southern Illinois Miners based out of Marion in the Southern part of the state
  • The Chicago Carnage of the MLRH is the most recent professional team in Chicago.

Former Chicago sports franchises

Folded teams

The city was formerly home to several other teams that either failed to survive, or that belonged to leagues that folded.

  • The Chicago Blitz, United States Football League
  • The Chicago Sting, Major Indoor Soccer League
  • The Chicago Cougars, World Hockey Association
  • The Chicago Rockers, Continental Basketball Association
  • The Chicago Skyliners, American Basketball Association
  • The Chicago Bruisers, Arena Football League
  • The Chicago Power, National Professional Soccer League
  • The Chicago Blaze, National Women's Basketball League.
  • The Chicago Machine, Major League Lacrosse
  • The Chicago Whales of the Federal Baseball League, a rival league to the National and American Leagues from 1914-1916
  • The Chicago Express of the ECHL
  • The Chicago Enforcers of the XFL, a Professional Football League owned by Vince McMahon

Relocated teams

The NFL's Arizona Cardinals, who currently play in Phoenix, Arizona, played in Chicago as the Chicago Cardinals, until moving to St. Louis, Missouri after the 1959 season. An NBA expansion team known as the Chicago Packers in 1961–62 and the Chicago Zephyrs the following year moved to Baltimore after the 1962–63 season. The franchise is now known as the Washington Wizards.

Professional sports teams outside of Chicago

The Rockford Lightning is one of the oldest CBA teams in the league. The Peoria Chiefs and Kane County Cougars are minor league baseball teams affiliated with MLB. The Schaumburg Boomers and Lake County Fielders are members of the North American League, and the Southern Illinois Miners, Gateway Grizzlies, Joliet Slammers, Windy City ThunderBolts and Normal CornBelters belong to the Frontier League.

In addition to the Chicago Wolves, the AHL also has the Rockford IceHogs serving as the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. The second incarnation of the Peoria Rivermen plays in the SPHL.

Motor racing

Motor racing oval tracks at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, the Chicago Motor Speedway in Cicero and the Gateway International Raceway in Madison, near St. Louis, have hosted NASCAR, CART, and IRL races, whereas the Sports Car Club of America, among other national and regional road racing clubs, have visited the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, the Blackhawk Farms Raceway in South Beloit and the former Meadowdale International Raceway in Carpentersville. Illinois also has several short tracks and dragstrips. The dragstrip at Gateway International Raceway and the Route 66 Raceway, which sits on the same property as the Chicagoland Speedway, both host NHRA drag races.

Parks and recreation

The Illinois state parks system began in 1908 with what is now Fort Massac State Park, becoming the first park in a system encompassing over 60 parks and about the same number of recreational and wildlife areas.

Areas under the protection and control of the National Park Service include: the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor near Lockport; the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail; the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield; the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail; the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail; and the American Discovery Trail.

Law and government

The government of Illinois, under the Constitution of Illinois, has three branches of government: Executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch is split into several statewide elected offices, with the Governor as chief executive. Legislative functions are granted to the Illinois General Assembly. The judiciary is composed of the Supreme Court and lower courts.

The Illinois General Assembly is the state legislature, composed of the 118-member Illinois House of Representatives and the 59-member Illinois Senate. The members of the General Assembly are elected at the beginning of each even-numbered year. The Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) are the codified statutes of a general and permanent nature.

The executive branch is composed of six elected officers and their offices as well as numerous other departments. The six elected officers are the: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer. The government of Illinois has numerous departments, agencies, boards and commissions, but the so-called code departments provide most of the state's services.

The Judiciary of Illinois is the unified court system of Illinois. It consists of the Supreme Court, Appellate Court, and Circuit Courts. The Supreme Court oversees the administration of the court system.

The administrative divisions of Illinois are counties, townships, precincts, cities, towns, villages, and special-purpose districts. The basic subdivision of Illinois are the 102 counties. 85 Of the 102 counties are in turn divided into townships and precincts. Municipal governments are the cities, villages, and incorporated towns. Some localities possess home rule, which allows them to govern themselves to a certain extent.


Party balance

Historically, Illinois was long a major swing state, with near-parity existing between the Republican and the Democratic parties. However, in recent elections, the Democratic Party has gained ground and Illinois has come to be seen as a "blue" state. Chicago and most of Cook County votes have long been strongly Democratic. However, the "collar counties" (the suburbs surrounding Chicago's Cook County, Illinois), can be seen as a Republican stronghold.

Republicans continue to prevail in the Chicago suburban "collar counties" surrounding Cook County, as well as rural northern and central Illinois; Republican support is also strong in southern Illinois, outside of the East St. Louis metropolitan area. From 1920 until 1972, the state was carried by the victor of each of these presidential elections - 14 elections. In fact, Illinois was long seen as a national bellwether, supporting the winner in every election in the 20th Century except for 1916 and 1976. By contrast, Illinois has trended more toward the Democratic party and such, has voted for their presidential candidates in the last six elections; in 2000, George W. Bush became the first Republican to win the presidency without carrying Illinois or Vermont. Native son and current president Barack Obama easily won the state's 21 electoral votes in 2008, with 61.9% of the vote.

History of corruption

Politics in the state have been infamous for highly visible corruption cases, as well as for crusading reformers, such as governors Adlai Stevenson and James R. Thompson. In 2006, former Governor George Ryan was convicted of racketeering and bribery, leading to a 6 and a half year prison sentence. In 2008, then-Governor Rod Blagojevich was served with a criminal complaint on corruption charges, stemming from allegations that he conspired to sell the vacated Senate seat left by President Barack Obama to the highest bidder. Subsequently, on December 7, 2011, Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison for those charges, as well as perjury while testifying during the case, totaling 18 convictions. In the late 20th century, Congressman Dan Rostenkowski was imprisoned for mail fraud; former governor and federal judge Otto Kerner, Jr. was imprisoned for bribery; and State Auditor of Public Accounts (Comptroller) Orville Hodge was imprisoned for embezzlement. In 1912, William Lorimer, the GOP boss of Chicago, was expelled from the U.S. Senate for bribery and in 1921, Governor Len Small was found to have defrauded the state of a million dollars.

US Presidents from Illinois

Three presidents have claimed Illinois as their political base: Lincoln, Grant, and Obama. Lincoln was born in Kentucky, but moved to Illinois at the age of 21; he served in the General Assembly and represented the 7th congressional district in the US House of Representatives before his election as President. Ulysses S. Grant was born in Ohio and had a military career that precluded settling down, but on the eve of the Civil War, and approaching middle age, Grant moved to Illinois and thus claimed it as his home when running for President. Barack Obama was born and raised in Hawaii (other than a four-year period of his childhood spent in Indonesia) and made Illinois his home and base after completing law school.

Only one person elected President of the United States was actually born in Illinois. Ronald Reagan was born in Tampico, raised in Dixon and educated at Eureka College. Reagan moved to Los Angeles as a young adult and later became Governor of California before being elected President.

Black US senators

Nine African-Americans have served as members of the United States Senate. Three of them have represented Illinois, the most of any single state: Carol Moseley-Braun, Barack Obama, and Roland Burris, who was appointed to replace Obama after his election to the presidency. Moseley-Braun was the first and to date only African-American woman to become a U.S. Senator.

Political families

Two families from Illinois have played particularly prominent roles in the Democratic Party, gaining both statewide and national fame.


The Stevenson family, rooted in central Illinois, has provided four generations of Illinois elected leadership.

  • Adlai Stevenson I (1835–1914) was a Vice President of the United States, as well as a Congressman
  • Lewis Stevenson (1868–1932), son of Adlai, served as Illinois Secretary of State.
  • Adlai Stevenson II (1900–1965), son of Lewis, served as Governor of Illinois and as the US Ambassador to the United Nations; he was also the Democratic party's presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956, losing both elections to Dwight Eisenhower.
  • Adlai Stevenson III (1930– ), son of Adlai II, served ten years as a United States Senator.


The Daley family's powerbase was in Chicago.

  • Richard J. Daley (1902–1976) served as Mayor of Chicago from 1955 to his death.
  • Richard M. Daley (1942– ), son of Richard J, was Chicago's longest serving mayor, in office from 1989–2011.
  • William M. Daley (1948– ), another son of Richard J, is a former White House Chief of Staff and has served in a variety of appointed positions.


Illinois State Board of education

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is autonomous of the governor and the state legislature, and administers public education in the state. Local municipalities and their respective school districts operate individual public schools but the ISBE audits performance of public schools with the Illinois School Report Card. The ISBE also makes recommendations to state leaders concerning education spending and policies.

Primary and secondary schools

Education is compulsory from ages 7 to 17 in Illinois. Schools are commonly but not exclusively divided into three tiers of primary and secondary education: elementary school, middle school or junior high school, and high school. District territories are often complex in structure. Many areas in the state are actually located in two school districts—one for high school, the other for elementary and middle schools. And such districts do not necessarily share boundaries. A given high school may have several elementary districts that feed into it, yet some of those feeder districts may themselves feed into multiple high school districts.

Colleges and universities

Using the criterion established by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, there are eleven "National Universities" in the state. As of 19 August 2010, five of these rank in the "first tier" (that is, the top quartile) among the top 500 National Universities in the United States, as determined by the U.S. News & World Report rankings: the University of Chicago (4), Northwestern University (12), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (41), Loyola University Chicago (106), and the Illinois Institute of Technology (113).

The University of Chicago is continuously ranked as one of the world's top ten universities on various independent university rankings and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign consistently ranks among the best engineering schools in the world and in United States.

Illinois also has more than 20 additional accredited four-year universities, both public and private, and dozens of small liberal arts colleges across the state. Additionally, Illinois supports 49 public community colleges in the Illinois Community College System.



Because of its central location and its proximity to the Rust Belt and Grain Belt, Illinois is a national crossroads for air, auto, rail, and truck traffic.


From 1962 until 1998, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) was the busiest airport in the world, measured both in terms of total flights and passengers. While it was surpassed by Atlanta's Hartsfield in 1998, with 59.3 million domestic passengers annually, along with 11.4 million international passengers in 2008, O'Hare remains one of the two or three busiest airports in the world, and some years still ranks number one in total flights. It is a major hub for United Airlines and American Airlines, and a major airport expansion project is currently underway. Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), which had been the busiest airport in the world until supplanted by O'Hare in 1962, is now the secondary airport in the Chicago metropolitan area. For a time in the late 1960s and 1970s, Midway was nearly vacant except for general aviation, but growth in the area, combined with political deadlock over the building of a new major airport in the region, has caused a resurgence for Midway. It is now a major hub for Southwest Airlines, and services many other airlines as well. Midway served 17.3 million domestic and international passengers in 2008.


Illinois has an extensive passenger and freight rail transportation network. Chicago is a national Amtrak hub and in-state passengers are served by Amtrak's Illinois Service, featuring the Chicago to Carbondale Illini and Saluki, the Chicago to Quincy Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr, and the Chicago to St. Louis Lincoln Service. Currently there is trackwork on the Chicago–St. Louis line to bring the maximum speed up to 110 mph (180 km/h), which would reduce the trip time by an hour and a half. Nearly every North American railway meets at Chicago, making it the largest and most active rail hub in the country. Extensive commuter rail is provided in the city proper and some immediate suburbs by the Chicago Transit Authority's 'L' system. The largest suburban commuter rail system in the United States, operated by Metra, uses existing rail lines to provide direct commuter rail access for hundreds of suburbs to the city and beyond.

In addition to the state's rail lines, the Mississippi River and Illinois River provide major transportation routes for the state's agricultural interests. Lake Michigan gives Illinois access to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

Interstate highway system

Illinois is among many US states with a well developed interstate highway system. Illinois has the distinction of having the most primary (two-digit) interstates pass through it among all the 50 states, tied with Pennsylvania with 12, as well as the 3rd most interstate mileage behind California and Texas.

Major U.S. Interstate highways crossing the state include: Interstate 24 (I-24), I-39, I-55, I-57, I-64, I-70, I-72, I-74, I-80, I-88, I-90, and I-94.

U.S. highway system

Among the U.S. highways that pass through the state, the primary ones are: U.S. Route 6 (US 6), US 12, US 14, US 20, US 24, US 30, US 34, US 35, US 40, US 41, US 45, US 50, US 52, US 54, US 60, and US 62.


See also

  • Outline of Illinois – organized list of topics about Illinois
  • Index of Illinois-related articles


Further reading

External links

  • State of Illinois official government website
  • The Official Website for International Visitors to Chicago
  • Illinois at DMOZ
  • Illinois Bureau of Tourism
  • Illinois: Science In Your Backyard – USGS
  • Illinois State Energy Profile – DOE, Energy Information Administration
  • Illinois: State Fact Sheets – USDA, Economic Research Service
  • Illinois State Guide – LOC, Virtual Programs & Services
  • Biographies Of Governors of Illinois: 1818 to 1885 – compiled by OnlineBiographies.info
  • Illinois Highways Page – by Richard Carlson
  • State of Illinois research information guide from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
  • Illinois State Agency Databases – compiled by the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT) of the American Library Association
  • Geographic data related to Illinois at OpenStreetMap


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posted by Evelyn in Phone Number 2015-03-14 12:26:46

We had a similar situation a few numbers. the man first said that he was James during the same call that he changed his name to Steve Parker. A woman called three weeks before and links one number that we tried but it was a wrong number. He said it was his wife who had bought our ring for american dollars 85 during the transit. She tried to call us why we call back etc. He did not back wondering why we call. He wanted to send american dollars 22 up somehow with him he was a long haul trucker and was always on the road that a resting place but we could not hit him. I was behind him and called him on it a little that we keep track of the number and come to find him scared him. Finally he got very angry and said we couldn t do anything for him but he quickly hung and afraid now runs. Hold call him again on this number it day and night call and we get questions where we can meet him for him James Steve Parker 618 580 capitals. Also by a number773 named 507 5307. Now call him the lousy scamming loser.

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Caller Type:
posted by Rache in Phone Number 2015-03-12 20:00:57

I stole a few things out of my garage including golf clubs pressure washer compressor. Saws etc. I put an ad in the newspaper San Antonio the next day and a man with the telephone number 773 403 called 9864 me this afternoon saying that he was a truck driver. He said that he have bought some of these devices by a single person at a gas station in San Antonio and that he is now in Oklahoma City and the stuff would mail back to me. He calls back and said the costs amounted to US american dollars 78 until it ship back to me. He said he had paid not the American dollar 78 but his friend in St. Louis named John Houston the shipper with his credit card and he wanted me to go to Western Union and send the money to his friend in St. Louis. Once confirmed he would before and send it. I have unfortunately know that it could be a scam. This guy had the courage to me the next day to call back and arrange me a message that he send to me for other friends to some of the other equipment was left behind. Of course I responded back caution this telephone number 773 403 9864 the idea of truck drivers and the request do not send money for shipping. It is a scam.

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