Illinois

Illinois

Overview
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm
Macrocosm and microcosm
Macrocosm and microcosm is an ancient Greek Neo-Platonic schema of seeing the same patterns reproduced in all levels of the cosmos, from the largest scale all the way down to the smallest scale...

 of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity
Agricultural productivity
Agricultural productivity is measured as the ratio of agricultural outputs to agricultural inputs. While individual products are usually measured by weight, their varying densities make measuring overall agricultural output difficult...

 in central and northern Illinois, and natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

s like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a broad economic base. Illinois is a major transportation hub. The Port of Chicago
Port of Chicago
The Port of Chicago consists of several major port facilities within the city of Chicago, Illinois operated by the Illinois International Port District . The central element of the Port District, Calumet Harbor, is maintained by the U.S...

 connects the state to other global ports from the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

, via the St.
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Encyclopedia
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm
Macrocosm and microcosm
Macrocosm and microcosm is an ancient Greek Neo-Platonic schema of seeing the same patterns reproduced in all levels of the cosmos, from the largest scale all the way down to the smallest scale...

 of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity
Agricultural productivity
Agricultural productivity is measured as the ratio of agricultural outputs to agricultural inputs. While individual products are usually measured by weight, their varying densities make measuring overall agricultural output difficult...

 in central and northern Illinois, and natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

s like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a broad economic base. Illinois is a major transportation hub. The Port of Chicago
Port of Chicago
The Port of Chicago consists of several major port facilities within the city of Chicago, Illinois operated by the Illinois International Port District . The central element of the Port District, Calumet Harbor, is maintained by the U.S...

 connects the state to other global ports from the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

, via the St. Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean; as well as the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 to the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

, via the Illinois River
Illinois River
The Illinois River is a principal tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately long, in the State of Illinois. The river drains a large section of central Illinois, with a drainage basin of . This river was important among Native Americans and early French traders as the principal water route...

. For decades, O'Hare International Airport
O'Hare International Airport
Chicago O'Hare International Airport , also known as O'Hare Airport, O'Hare Field, Chicago Airport, Chicago International Airport, or simply O'Hare, is a major airport located in the northwestern-most corner of Chicago, Illinois, United States, northwest of the Chicago Loop...

 has ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. As the "most average state", Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether
Bellwether
A bellwether is any entity in a given arena that serves to create or influence trends or to presage future happenings.The term is derived from the Middle English bellewether and refers to the practice of placing a bell around the neck of a castrated ram leading his flock of sheep.The movements of...

 both in social and cultural terms
Will it play in Peoria?
The saying, "Will it play in Peoria?" is traditionally used to ask whether a given product, person, promotional theme, or event will appeal to mainstream America, or across a broad range of demographic and psychographic groups....

 and politics.

In the 1810s, settlers began arriving from Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

. In 1818 Illinois achieved statehood. The state's population originally grew from south to north. Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River
Chicago River
The Chicago River is a system of rivers and canals with a combined length of that runs through the city of the same name, including its center . Though not especially long, the river is notable for being the reason why Chicago became an important location, as the link between the Great Lakes and...

, one of the few natural harbors on southern Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

. Railroads and John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow
Plough
The plough or plow is a tool used in farming for initial cultivation of soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. It has been a basic instrument for most of recorded history, and represents one of the major advances in agriculture...

 turned Illinois' rich prairie
Prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

 into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmlands, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany
German American
German Americans are citizens of the United States of German ancestry and comprise about 51 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population, the country's largest self-reported ancestral group...

 and Sweden
Swedish American
Swedish Americans are Americans of Swedish descent, especially the descendants of about 1.2 million immigrants from Sweden during 1885-1915. Most were Lutherans who affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ; some were Methodists...

. By 1900, the growth of industrial jobs in the northern cities and coal mining in the central and southern areas attracted immigrants from Eastern
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and Southern Europe. Illinois was an important manufacturing center during both world wars. The Great Migration
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

 established a large community of African Americans in Chicago that created the city's famous jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 and blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

 cultures.

Three U.S. Presidents
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 have been elected while living in Illinois—Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

, Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

, and Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

. Additionally, President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, whose political career was based in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, was the only US President actually 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
Vehicle registration plates of Illinois
The U.S. state of Illinois first required motorists to register their vehicles in 1907 and began issuing license plates to registrants in 1911. Plates were issued annually until 1978.-Early history:...

 since 1954.

Name



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

The name "Illinois" has traditionally been said to mean "man" or "men" in the Miami-Illinois language, with the original iliniwek transformed via French into Illinois. However, this etymology is not supported by the Illinois language itself, in which the word for 'man' is ireniwa and plural 'men' is ireniwaki. The name Illiniwek has also been said to mean "tribe of superior men", though this is nothing more than a false etymology
False etymology
Folk etymology is change in a word or phrase over time resulting from the replacement of an unfamiliar form by a more familiar one. Unanalyzable borrowings from foreign languages, like asparagus, or old compounds such as samblind which have lost their iconic motivation are...

. In fact the name "Illinois" derives from the Miami-Illinois verb irenwe·wa "he speaks the regular way". This was then taken into the Ojibwe language
Ojibwe language
Ojibwe , also called Anishinaabemowin, is an indigenous language of the Algonquian language family. Ojibwe is characterized by a series of dialects that have local names and frequently local writing systems...

, perhaps in the Ottawa dialect
Ottawa language
Ottawa is a dialect of the Ojibwe language, spoken by the Ottawa people in southern Ontario in Canada, and northern Michigan in the United States. Descendants of migrant Ottawa speakers live in Kansas and Oklahoma...

, and modified into ilinwe· (pluralized as ilinwe·k). These forms were then borrowed into French, where the /we/ ending acquired the spelling -ois. The current form, Illinois, began to appear in the early 1670s. The Illinois's 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.

Pre-European



Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 lived along the waterways of the Illinois area for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. The Koster Site has been excavated and demonstrated 7,000 years of continuous habitation. Cahokia
Cahokia
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the area of an ancient indigenous city located in the American Bottom floodplain, between East Saint Louis and Collinsville in south-western Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. The site included 120 human-built earthwork mounds...

, the largest regional chiefdom
Chiefdom
A chiefdom is a political economy that organizes regional populations through a hierarchy of the chief.In anthropological theory, one model of human social development rooted in ideas of cultural evolution describes a chiefdom as a form of social organization more complex than a tribe or a band...

 and urban center
Urban Center
The Urban Center is a gallery on Madison Avenue in New York City , which is run by the Municipal Art Society . The gallery serves to champion the fields of urban planning and design in New York, and is also the site of MAS' community development workshops, seminars, lectures, and other educational...

 of the Pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian era
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

 Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

, was located near present-day Collinsville, Illinois
Collinsville, Illinois
Collinsville is a city located mainly in Madison County, and partially in St. Clair County, both in Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 26,016. Collinsville is approximately 12 miles from St. Louis, Missouri and is considered part of that city's Metro-East area...

. They built more than 100 mounds and a woodhenge in a planned design expressing the culture's cosmology. 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
Illinois River
The Illinois River is a principal tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately long, in the State of Illinois. The river drains a large section of central Illinois, with a drainage basin of . This river was important among Native Americans and early French traders as the principal water route...

 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 among several tribes. There were about 25,000 Illinois Indians in 1700, but systematic attacks and warfare by the Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

 reduced their numbers by 90%. Gradually, members of the Potawatomi, Miami
Miami tribe
The Miami are a Native American nation originally found in what is now Indiana, southwest Michigan, and western Ohio. The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma is the only federally recognized tribe of Miami Indians in the United States...

, Sauk, and other tribes came in from the east and north. In the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, the Illinois and Potawatomi supported the American colonists' cause.

European exploration



French explorers Jacques Marquette
Jacques Marquette
Father Jacques Marquette S.J. , sometimes known as Père Marquette, was a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan...

 and Louis Jolliet
Louis Jolliet
Louis Jolliet , also known as Louis Joliet, was a French Canadian explorer known for his discoveries in North America...

 explored the Illinois River
Illinois River
The Illinois River is a principal tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately long, in the State of Illinois. The river drains a large section of central Illinois, with a drainage basin of . This river was important among Native Americans and early French traders as the principal water route...

 in 1673. In 1680, other French explorers constructed a fort at the site of present day Peoria
Peoria, Illinois
Peoria is the largest city on the Illinois River and the county seat of Peoria County, Illinois, in the United States. It is named after the Peoria tribe. As of the 2010 census, the city was the seventh-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 115,007, and is the third-most populated...

, and in 1682, a fort atop Starved Rock in today's Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park is a state park in Illinois, characterized by the many canyons within its 2360 acres. Located just southwest of the village of North Utica, in Deer Park Township, LaSalle County, Illinois, along the south bank of the Illinois River, the park hosts over two million visitors...

. As a result of this French exploration, Illinois was part of the French empire until 1763, when it passed to the British with their conquest of New France
New France
New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763...

. The small French settlements continued; a few British soldiers were posted in Illinois, but there were no British or American settlers. In 1778, George Rogers Clark
George Rogers Clark
George Rogers Clark was a soldier from Virginia and the highest ranking American military officer on the northwestern frontier during the American Revolutionary War. He served as leader of the Kentucky militia throughout much of the war...

 claimed the Illinois Country
Illinois Country
The Illinois Country , also known as Upper Louisiana, was a region in what is now the Midwestern United States that was explored and settled by the French during the 17th and 18th centuries. The terms referred to the entire Upper Mississippi River watershed, though settlement was concentrated in...

 for Virginia. The area was ceded by Virginia to the new United States in 1783 and became part of the Northwest Territory
Northwest Territory
The Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Northwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 13, 1787, until March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio...

.

19th century


The Illinois-Wabash Company
Illinois-Wabash Company
The Illinois-Wabash Company, formally known as the United Illinois and Wabash Land Company, was a company formed in 1779 from the merger of the Illinois Company and the Wabash Company. The two companies had been established in order to purchase land from Native Americans in the Illinois Country, a...

 was an early claimant to much of Illinois. The Illinois Territory
Illinois Territory
The Territory of Illinois was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 1, 1809, until December 3, 1818, when the southern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Illinois. The area was earlier known as "Illinois Country" while under...

 was created on February 3, 1809, with its capital at Kaskaskia
Kaskaskia, Illinois
Kaskaskia is a village in Randolph County, Illinois, United States. In the 2010 census the population was 14, making it the second-smallest incorporated community in the State of Illinois in terms of population. A major French colonial town of the Illinois Country, its peak population was about...

.

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 actually 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 (16.1 km) north of the southernmost extremity of Lake Michigan. But the Illinois delegate, Nathaniel Pope
Nathaniel Pope
Nathaniel Pope was a politician and jurist from the U.S. state of Illinois.-Early life, education, and career:...

, wanted more. Pope lobbied to have the boundary moved further north, and the final bill passed by Congress did just such; it included an amendment to shift the border to 42° 30' north, which is approximately 51 miles (82.1 km) north of the Indiana northern border. This shift added 8500 square miles (22,014.9 km²) to the state, including the lead mining region near Galena
Galena, Illinois
Galena is the county seat of, and largest city in, Jo Daviess County, Illinois in the United States, with a population of 3,429 in 2010. The city is a popular tourist destination known for its history, historical architecture, and ski and golf resorts. Galena was the residence of Ulysses S...

. More importantly, it added nearly 50 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and the Chicago River. Pope and others envisioned a canal which would connect the Chicago and Illinois rivers, and thusly, 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
Vandalia, Illinois
Vandalia is a city in Fayette County, Illinois, United States, northeast of St. Louis, on the Kaskaskia River. From 1819 to 1839 it served as the state capital of Illinois. Vandalia was the western terminus of the National Road. Today it is the county seat of Fayette County and the home of the...

 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
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

, where a fifth capitol building was constructed. A sixth capitol
Illinois State Capitol
The Illinois State Capitol, located in Springfield, Illinois, is the building that houses the executive and legislative branches of the government of the U.S. state of Illinois. The current building is the sixth capitol of the state since its admission as a state of the United States in 1818. The...

 building was erected in 1867, which continues to serve as the Illinois capitol today.

Though ostensibly a "free state", Illinois had slavery. The French owned black slaves as late as the 1820s. Slavery was nominally banned by the Northwest Ordnance, but that was not enforced. When Illinois became a sovereign state in 1818, the Ordnance no longer applied, and there were about 900 slaves there. As the southern part of the state, known as "Egypt", was largely settled by migrants from the South, the section was hostile to free blacks and allowed settlers to bring slaves with them for labor. Most citizens were opposed to allowing blacks as permanent residents, and efforts to make slavery official failed in 1822. Nevertheless, some slaves were brought in 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
John A. Logan
John Alexander Logan was an American soldier and political leader. He served in the Mexican-American War and was a general in the Union Army in the American Civil War. He served the state of Illinois as a state senator, congressman and senator and was an unsuccessful candidate for Vice President...

 helped pass a law to prohibit all African Americans, including freedmen
Freedman
A freedman is a former slave who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, slaves became freedmen either by manumission or emancipation ....

, from settling in the state.

In 1832, the Black Hawk War
Black Hawk War
The Black Hawk War was a brief conflict fought in 1832 between the United States and Native Americans headed by Black Hawk, a Sauk leader. The war erupted soon after Black Hawk and a group of Sauks, Meskwakis, and Kickapoos known as the "British Band" crossed the Mississippi River into the U.S....

 was fought in Illinois and current day Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 between the United States and the Sauk, Fox (Meskwaki)
Meskwaki
The Meskwaki are a Native American people often known to outsiders as the Fox tribe. They have often been closely linked to the Sauk people. In their own language, the Meskwaki call themselves Meshkwahkihaki, which means "the Red-Earths." Historically their homelands were in the Great Lakes region...

 and Kickapoo Indian tribes. The Indians withdrew to Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

; when they attempted to return, they were defeated by U.S. militia and 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
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 story of Joseph in Egypt supplying grain to his brothers.

By 1839, the Mormon
Mormon
The term Mormon most commonly denotes an adherent, practitioner, follower, or constituent of Mormonism, which is the largest branch of the Latter Day Saint movement in restorationist Christianity...

s had founded a utopian city called Nauvoo
Nauvoo, Illinois
Nauvoo is a small city in Hancock County, Illinois, United States. Although the population was just 1,063 at the 2000 census, and despite being difficult to reach due to its location in a remote corner of Illinois, Nauvoo attracts large numbers of visitors for its historic importance and its...

. Located in Hancock County
Hancock County, Illinois
Hancock County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 19,104, which is a decrease of 5.1% from 20,121 in 2000. Its county seat is Carthage. Hamilton is the largest city in Hancock County, with Carthage being the second largest...

, 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
Carthage Jail
Carthage Jail, located in Carthage, Illinois, was the location of the death of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and his brother Hyrum by a mob of approximately 150 men. Friends John Taylor and Willard Richards were also members of the incarcerated party, but were not...

, about 30 miles away from Nauvoo. Soon afterward, after close to six years of rapid development, Nauvoo saw a rapid decline after the Mormons' new leadership led them out of Illinois in a mass exodus to present-day Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

.

Chicago gained prominence as a Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 port and then as an Illinois and Michigan Canal
Illinois and Michigan Canal
The Illinois and Michigan Canal ran from the Bridgeport neighborhood in Chicago on the Chicago River to LaSalle-Peru, Illinois, on the Illinois River. It was finished in 1848 when Chicago Mayor James Hutchinson Woodworth presided over its opening; and it allowed boat transportation from the Great...

 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 played an important role in the formation of labor unions in the United States
Labor unions in the United States
Labor unions in the United States are legally recognized as representatives of workers in many industries. The most prominent unions are among public sector employees such as teachers and police...

. The Pullman Strike
Pullman Strike
The Pullman Strike was a nationwide conflict between labor unions and railroads that occurred in the United States in 1894. The conflict began in the town of Pullman, Illinois on May 11 when approximately 3,000 employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company began a wildcat strike in response to recent...

 and Haymarket Riot
Haymarket affair
The Haymarket affair was a demonstration and unrest that took place on Tuesday May 4, 1886, at the Haymarket Square in Chicago. It began as a rally in support of striking workers. An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at police as they dispersed the public meeting...

 in particular greatly influenced the development of the American labor movement
Labour movement
The term labour movement or labor movement is a broad term for the development of a collective organization of working people, to campaign in their own interest for better treatment from their employers and governments, in particular through the implementation of specific laws governing labour...

. From Sunday, October 8, 1871, until Tuesday, October 10, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire
Great Chicago Fire
The Great Chicago Fire was a conflagration that burned from Sunday, October 8, to early Tuesday, October 10, 1871, killing hundreds and destroying about in Chicago, Illinois. Though the fire was one of the largest U.S...

 burned in downtown Chicago, destroying 4 square miles (10.4 km²).

In 1847, after lobbying by Dorothea L. Dix
Dorothea Dix
Dorothea Lynde Dix was an American activist on behalf of the indigent insane who, through a vigorous program of lobbying state legislatures and the United States Congress, created the first generation of American mental asylums...

, Illinois became one of the first states to establish a system of state-supported treatment of mental illness and disabilities, replacing local almshouse
Almshouse
Almshouses are charitable housing provided to enable people to live in a particular community...

s.

Civil War


.

During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, over 250,000 Illinois men served in the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

, a figure surpassed by only New York, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, and Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

. Beginning with President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

'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
Cairo, Illinois
Cairo is the southernmost city in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the county seat of Alexander County. Cairo is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The rivers converge at Fort Defiance State Park, an American Civil War fort that was commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant...

 at the southern tip of the state served as a strategically important supply base and training center for the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 army. For several months, both General Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 and Admiral Foote
Andrew Hull Foote
Andrew Hull Foote was an American naval officer who was noted for his service in the American Civil War and also for his contributions to several naval reforms in the years prior to the war. When the war came, he was appointed to command of the Western Gunboat Flotilla, predecessor of the...

 had headquarters in Cairo.

20th century


At the turn of the 20th century, Illinois had a population of nearly 5 million. Bolstered by continued immigration from southern and eastern Europe, and by African-Americans from Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, and Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

, 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
Century of Progress
A Century of Progress International Exposition was the name of a World's Fair held in Chicago from 1933 to 1934 to celebrate the city's centennial. The theme of the fair was technological innovation...

 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. Chicago became an ocean port with the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway
Saint Lawrence Seaway
The Saint Lawrence Seaway , , is the common name for a system of locks, canals and channels that permits ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the North American Great Lakes, as far as Lake Superior. Legally it extends from Montreal to Lake Erie, including the Welland Canal...

 in 1959. The seaway and the Illinois Waterway
Illinois Waterway
The Illinois Waterway system consists of of water from the mouth of the Calumet River to the mouth of the Illinois River at Grafton, Illinois. It is a system of rivers, lakes, and canals which provide a shipping connection from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River. The...

 connected Chicago to both the Mississippi River and the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

. In 1960, Ray Kroc
Ray Kroc
Raymond Albert "Ray" Kroc was an American fast food businessman who joined McDonald's in 1954 and built it into the most successful fast food operation in the world. Kroc was included in Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century, and amassed a fortune during his lifetime...

 opened the first McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 franchise in Des Plaines
Des Plaines, Illinois
Des Plaines is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. It has adopted the official nickname of "City of Destiny." As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 58,720. It is a suburb of Chicago, and is next to O'Hare International Airport...

 (which still exists today as a museum, with a working McDonald's across the street).

No state has had a more prominent role than Illinois in the emergence of the nuclear age. As part of the Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

, the first sustained nuclear chain reaction
Nuclear chain reaction
A nuclear chain reaction occurs when one nuclear reaction causes an average of one or more nuclear reactions, thus leading to a self-propagating number of these reactions. The specific nuclear reaction may be the fission of heavy isotopes or the fusion of light isotopes...

 took place at the University of Chicago
Chicago Pile-1
Chicago Pile-1 was the world's first man-made nuclear reactor. CP-1 was built on a rackets court, under the abandoned west stands of the original Alonzo Stagg Field stadium, at the University of Chicago. The first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was initiated in CP-1 on December 2, 1942...

 in 1942. In 1957, Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory is the first science and engineering research national laboratory in the United States, receiving this designation on July 1, 1946. It is the largest national laboratory by size and scope in the Midwest...

, 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
Morris, Illinois
Morris is a city in Grundy County, Illinois, United States. The population was 13,636 at the 2010 census.Morris is home to the Dresden Nuclear Power Plant, which provides a substantial portion of the electricity supply for the Chicago metropolitan area...

. In 1967, Fermilab
Fermilab
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory , located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics...

, a national nuclear research facility near Batavia
Batavia, Illinois
Batavia was founded in 1833, and is the oldest city in Kane County, Illinois, with a small portion in DuPage County. During the Industrial Revolution, Batavia became known as ‘The Windmill City’ for being the largest windmill producer of the time...

, opened a particle accelerator
Particle accelerator
A particle accelerator is a device that uses electromagnetic fields to propel charged particles to high speeds and to contain them in well-defined beams. An ordinary CRT television set is a simple form of accelerator. There are two basic types: electrostatic and oscillating field accelerators.In...

 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.

The state's fourth constitution
Illinois Constitution
The Constitution of the State of Illinois is the governing document of the state of Illinois. There have been four Illinois Constitutions; the fourth and current version was adopted in 1970.-History:...

 was adopted in 1970, replacing the 1870 document. The first Farm Aid
Farm Aid
Farm Aid started as a benefit concert on September 22, 1985, in Champaign, Illinois, held to raise money for family farmers in the United States...

 concert was held in Champaign to benefit American farmers, in 1985. The worst upper Mississippi River
Upper Mississippi River
The Upper Mississippi River is the portion of the Mississippi River upstream of Cairo, Illinois, United States. From the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minnesota, the river flows approximately 2000 kilometers to Cairo, where it is joined by the Ohio River to form the Lower Mississippi...

 flood of the century, the Great Flood of 1993
Great Flood of 1993
The Great Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Flood of 1993 occurred in the American Midwest, along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers and their tributaries, from April to October 1993. The flood was among the most costly and devastating to ever occur in the United States, with $15 billion in damages...

, inundated many towns and thousands of acres of farmland.

Geography




Boundaries


Illinois' eastern border with Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

 consists of a north-south line at west longitude, from Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

 to the Wabash River
Wabash River
The Wabash River is a river in the Midwestern United States that flows southwest from northwest Ohio near Fort Recovery across northern Indiana to southern Illinois, where it forms the Illinois-Indiana border before draining into the Ohio River, of which it is the largest northern tributary...

, above Post Vincennes
Vincennes, Indiana
Vincennes is a city in and the county seat of Knox County, Indiana, United States. It is located on the Wabash River in the southwestern part of the state. The population was 18,701 at the 2000 census...

. The Wabash River continues as the eastern/southeastern border with Indiana, until the Wabash enters the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

. This marks the beginning of Illinois' southern border with Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, which runs along the northern shoreline of the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

. Its western border with Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 and Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

 is the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

. Its northern border with Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

 is fixed at north latitude. The northeastern border of Illinois actually lies within Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

, within which Illinois shares a water boundary with the state of Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

.

Topography


Though Illinois lies entirely in the Interior Plains
Interior Plains
The Interior Plains is a vast physiographic region that spreads across the Laurentian craton of central North America.-Geography:The Interior Plains are an extensive physiographic division encompassing 8 distinct physiographic provinces, the Interior Low Plateaus, Great Plains, Central Lowland,...

, 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
Charles Mound
Charles Mound is a gentle, high hill in northern Jo Daviess County, Illinois, near the small town of Scales Mound and northeast of Galena. It is the highest natural point in the state; thus, it is considered a highpoint.- Geography :...

, located in this region, has the state's highest elevation above sea level at 1,235 feet (376 m). The floodplain on the Mississippi River from Alton
Alton, Illinois
Alton is a city on the Mississippi River in Madison County, Illinois, United States, about north of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 27,865 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Metro-East region of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area in Southern Illinois...

 to the Kaskaskia River
Kaskaskia River
The Kaskaskia River is a tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately long, in central and southern Illinois in the United States. The second largest river system within Illinois, it drains a rural area of farms, as well as rolling hills along river bottoms of hardwood forests in its lower...

 is known as the American Bottom
American Bottom
The American Bottom is the flood plain of the Mississippi River in the Metro-East region of Southern Illinois, extending from Alton, Illinois, to the Kaskaskia River. It is also sometimes called "American Bottoms". The area is about , mostly protected from flooding by a levee and drainage canal...

.

Divisions


Illinois has three major geographical divisions. Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois is a region generally covering the northern third of the U.S. state of Illinois.-Economics:Northern Illinois is dominated by the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Rockford, and the Quad Cities, which contain a majority of Illinois' population and economic activity, including...

 is dominated by the Chicago metropolitan area; the city of Chicago, 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
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, and Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

. Chicago is a cosmopolitan city, densely populated, industrialized, the transportation hub of the nation, and settled by a wide variety of ethnic groups with a population of 9.8 million people. The city of Rockford
Rockford, Illinois
Rockford is a mid-sized city located on both banks of the Rock River in far northern Illinois. Often referred to as "The Forest City", Rockford is the county seat of Winnebago County, Illinois, USA. As reported in the 2010 U.S. census, the city was home to 152,871 people, the third most populated...

, the fourth largest metropolitan area, and the state's third largest city, sits along Interstates 39
Interstate 39
Interstate 39 is a highway in the midwestern United States. I-39 runs from Normal, Illinois at Interstate 55 to Highway 29 in Rothschild, Wisconsin, approximately six miles south of Wausau. I-39 was designed to replace US Highway 51, which in the early 1980s was one of the busiest two-lane...

 and 90
Interstate 90
Interstate 90 is the longest Interstate Highway in the United States at . It is the northernmost coast-to-coast interstate, and parallels US 20 for the most part. Its western terminus is in Seattle, at Edgar Martinez Drive S. near Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field, and its eastern terminus is in...

 some 75 miles (120.7 km) northwest of Chicago. The Quad Cities
Quad Cities
The Quad Cities is a group of five cities straddling the Mississippi River on the Iowa–Illinois boundary. These cities, Davenport and Bettendorf and Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline , are the center of the Quad Cities Metropolitan Area, which, as of 2010, had an estimated population of...

 region, located along the Mississippi River in northern Illinois, had a population of 379,066 in 2009.

Southward and westward, the second major division is Central Illinois
Central Illinois
Central Illinois is a region of the U.S. state of Illinois that consists of the entire central section of the state, divided in thirds from north to south. It is an area of mostly flat prairie. The western section was originally part of the Military Tract of 1812 and forms the distinctive western...

, an area of mostly prairie
Prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

. Known as the Heart of Illinois, it is characterized by small towns and mid-sized cities. The western section (west of the Illinois River) was originally part of the Military Tract of 1812
Military Tract of 1812
In May 1812, an act of Congress was passed which set aside bounty lands as payment to volunteer soldiers for the War against the British...

 and forms the conspicuous western bulge of the state. Agriculture, particularly corn
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 and soybean
Soybean
The soybean or soya bean is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses...

s, as well as educational institutions and manufacturing centers, figure prominently. Cities include Peoria
Peoria, Illinois
Peoria is the largest city on the Illinois River and the county seat of Peoria County, Illinois, in the United States. It is named after the Peoria tribe. As of the 2010 census, the city was the seventh-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 115,007, and is the third-most populated...

, the third largest metropolitan area in Illinois at 370,000; Springfield
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

, the state capital; Quincy
Quincy, Illinois
Quincy, known as Illinois' "Gem City," is a river city along the Mississippi River and the county seat of Adams County. As of the 2010 census the city held a population of 40,633. The city anchors its own micropolitan area and is the economic and regional hub of West-central Illinois, catering a...

; Decatur
Decatur, Illinois
Decatur is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois. The city, sometimes called "the Soybean Capital of the World", was founded in 1823 and is located along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. In 2000 the city population was 81,500,...

; Bloomington-Normal
Bloomington-Normal, Illinois
Bloomington-Normal refers to the twin municipalities of Bloomington and Normal in McLean County, in Central Illinois. The combined population of the two communities in a special census in 2006 was 125,000.-Sports:...

; and Champaign
Champaign, Illinois
Champaign is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, in the United States. The city is located south of Chicago, west of Indianapolis, Indiana, and 178 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. Though surrounded by farm communities, Champaign is notable for sharing the campus of the University of...

-Urbana
Urbana, Illinois
Urbana is the county seat of Champaign County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,250. Urbana is the tenth-most populous city in Illinois outside of the Chicago metropolitan area....

.

The third division is Southern Illinois, comprising the area south of U.S. Route 50
U.S. Route 50
U.S. Route 50 is a major east–west route of the U.S. Highway system, stretching just over from Ocean City, Maryland on the Atlantic Ocean to West Sacramento, California. Until 1972, when it was replaced by Interstate Highways west of the Sacramento area, it extended to San Francisco, near...

, including Little Egypt, near the juncture of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 and Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

. Southern Illinois is the site of the ancient city of Cahokia
Cahokia
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the area of an ancient indigenous city located in the American Bottom floodplain, between East Saint Louis and Collinsville in south-western Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. The site included 120 human-built earthwork mounds...

, as well as the site of the first state capital at Kaskaskia
Kaskaskia, Illinois
Kaskaskia is a village in Randolph County, Illinois, United States. In the 2010 census the population was 14, making it the second-smallest incorporated community in the State of Illinois in terms of population. A major French colonial town of the Illinois Country, its peak population was about...

, which today is separated from the rest of the state by the Mississippi River. This region can be distinguished from the other two by its warmer 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
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 comprise the second most populous metropolitan area in Illinois with over 700,000 inhabitants, and are known collectively as the Metro-East
Metro-East
Metro East is a region in Illinois that comprises the eastern suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, United States. It encompasses five Southern Illinois counties in the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area. The region's most populated city is Belleville at 45,000 residents...

. The other significant concentration of population in Southern Illinois is the Carbondale-Marion-Herrin, Illinois Combined Statistical Area centered on Carbondale
Carbondale, Illinois
Carbondale is a city in Jackson County, in the state of Illinois, within the Southern Illinois region. It is located at the junction of Illinois Route 13 and U.S. Route 51, southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, on the northern edge of the Shawnee National Forest...

 and Marion
Marion, Illinois
The city of Marion is the county seat of Williamson County, Illinois. The 2010 census counted 17,193 residents, making Marion the 25th most populated city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area, in Illinois, and the second most populous city in Southern Illinois, outside of the Metro-East, behind...

, a two-county area that is home to 123,272 residents. A portion of southeastern Illinois is part of the extended Evansville, Indiana
Evansville, Indiana
Evansville is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Indiana and the largest city in Southern Indiana. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 117,429. It is the county seat of Vanderburgh County and the regional hub for both Southwestern Indiana and the...

 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
Downstate Illinois
Downstate Illinois refers to all of Illinois outside of the Chicago metropolitan area. This term is flexible, but because it is generally meant to refer to everything outside the Chicago-area, some cities in Northern Illinois, such as Rockford and DeKalb, , are considered to be "downstate".The term...

" 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
DeKalb, Illinois
DeKalb is a city in DeKalb County, Illinois, United States. The population was 43,862 at the 2010 census, up from 39,018 at the 2000 census. The city is named after decorated German war hero Johann De Kalb, who died during the American Revolutionary War....

, which is west of Chicago, and Rockford
Rockford, Illinois
Rockford is a mid-sized city located on both banks of the Rock River in far northern Illinois. Often referred to as "The Forest City", Rockford is the county seat of Winnebago County, Illinois, USA. As reported in the 2010 U.S. census, the city was home to 152,871 people, the third most populated...

—which is actually north of Chicago—are considered to be "downstate".

Climate



Because of its nearly 400 mile distance from its northernmost and southernmost extremes, as well as its mid-continental situation, Illinois has a widely varying climate. Most of Illinois has a humid continental climate
Humid continental climate
A humid continental climate is a climatic region typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot summers and cold winters....

 (Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 Dfa), with hot, humid summers and cold winters. The southernmost part of the state, from about Carbondale
Carbondale, Illinois
Carbondale is a city in Jackson County, in the state of Illinois, within the Southern Illinois region. It is located at the junction of Illinois Route 13 and U.S. Route 51, southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, on the northern edge of the Shawnee National Forest...

 southward, borders on a humid subtropical climate
Humid subtropical climate
A humid subtropical climate is a climate zone characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters...

 (Koppen Cfa), with more moderate winters. Average yearly precipitation for Illinois varies from just over 48 inches (122 cm) at the southern tip to around 35 inches (89 cm) in the northern portion of the state. Normal annual snowfall exceeds 38 inches (97 cm) in the Chicago area, while the southern portion of the state normally receives less than 14 inches (36 cm). The all time high temperature was 117 °F (47 °C), recorded on July 14, 1954, at East St. Louis, Illinois
East St. Louis, Illinois
East St. Louis is a city located in St. Clair County, Illinois, USA, directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri in the Metro-East region of Southern Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 27,006, less than one-third of its peak of 82,366 in 1950...

, while the all time low temperature was -36 F, recorded on January 5, 1999, at Congerville, Illinois
Congerville, Illinois
Congerville is a village in Woodford County, Illinois, United States. The population was 466 as of the 2000 census. Congerville is part of the Peoria, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.-State Record:...

.

Illinois averages around 51 days of thunderstorm
Thunderstorm
A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm, a lightning storm, thundershower or simply a storm is a form of weather characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustic effect on the Earth's atmosphere known as thunder. The meteorologically assigned cloud type associated with the...

 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 10000 square miles (25,899.9 km²) annually. The deadliest tornadoes on record in the nation have occurred largely in Illinois, not because the tornadoes are more common or frequent in Illinois, but rather, because Illinois is simply the most populous state in Tornado Alley
Tornado Alley
Tornado Alley is a colloquial and popular media term that most often refers to the area of the United States where tornadoes are most frequent. Although an official location is not defined, the area between the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains is usually associated with it.The areas...

. The Tri-State Tornado
Tri-State Tornado
The Tri-State Tornado of Wednesday, March 18, 1925, was the deadliest tornado in U.S. history. With 695 confirmed fatalities, the tornado killed more than twice as many as the second deadliest, the 1840 Great Natchez Tornado...

 of 1925 killed 695 people in three states; 613 of the victims died in Illinois. Modern developments in storm tracking have caused death tolls from tornadoes to dramatically decline since the 1960s, with no major losses of life in the state since the 1967 tornado storm in northern Illinois.
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Cairo 41/25 47/29 57/39 69/50 77/58 86/67 90/71 88/69 81/61 71/49 57/39 46/30
Chicago 30/16 36/21 47/30 59/40 71/51 81/61 85/65 83/65 75/57 64/45 48/34 36/22
Edwardsville 36/19 42/24 52/34 64/45 75/55 84/64 89/69 86/66 79/58 68/46 53/35 41/25
Moline 30/12 36/18 48/29 62/39 73/50 83/60 86/64 84/62 76/53 64/42 48/30 34/18
Peoria 31/14 37/20 49/30 62/40 73/51 82/60 86/65 84/63 77/54 64/42 49/31 36/20
Rockford 27/11 33/16 46/27 59/37 71/48 80/58 83/63 81/61 74/52 62/40 46/29 32/17
Springfield 33/17 39/22 51/32 63/42 74/53 83/62 86/66 84/64 78/55 67/44 51/34 38/23

Demographics



In the 2010 Census, Illinois was found to have a population of 12,830,632, representing a slightly lower increase than had been anticipated in estimates from two years earlier. Illinois is the most populous state in the Midwest region
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

. Chicago, the third most populous city in the United States, is the center of the Chicago metropolitan area. Chicagoland
Chicagoland
The Chicago metropolitan area, or Chicagoland as it is commonly called within the area, is the metropolitan area associated with the city of Chicago, Illinois and its suburbs. It is the area that is closely linked to the city through social, economic, and cultural ties...

, as this area is known locally, comprises only 8% of the land area of the state, but contains 65% of the state's residents.

Specific demographic data from the 2010 Census is not subject to release until March 2011, but as of the 2007 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, 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
United States nationality law
Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution expressly gives the United States Congress the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. The Immigration and Naturalization Act sets forth the legal requirements for the acquisition of, and divestiture from, citizenship of...

 and 56.3% were not U.S. citizens. Additionally, the racial distributions were as follows: 65.0% White American
White American
White Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa...

, 15.0% African American, 14.9% Latino American
Hispanic and Latino Americans
Hispanic or Latino Americans are Americans with origins in the Hispanic countries of Latin America or in Spain, and in general all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino.1990 Census of Population and Housing: A self-designated classification for people whose origins...

, 4.3% Asian American, 0.3% American Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 and Alaska Natives
Alaska Natives
Alaska Natives are the indigenous peoples of Alaska. They include: Aleut, Inuit, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak, and a number of Northern Athabaskan cultures.-History:In 1912 the Alaska Native Brotherhood was founded...

, and 0.1% Native Hawaiians
Native Hawaiians
Native Hawaiians refers to the indigenous Polynesian people of the Hawaiian Islands or their descendants. Native Hawaiians trace their ancestry back to the original Polynesian settlers of Hawaii.According to the U.S...

 and Pacific Islander American
Pacific Islander American
Pacific Islander Americans, also known as Oceanian Americans, are residents of the United States with original ancestry from Oceania. They represent the smallest racial group counted in the United States census of 2000. They numbered 874,000 people or 0.3 percent of the United States population...

. 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
German American
German Americans are citizens of the United States of German ancestry and comprise about 51 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population, the country's largest self-reported ancestral group...

 ancestry, 13.3% had Irish
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

 ancestry, 7.9% had Polish
Polish American
A Polish American , is a citizen of the United States of Polish descent. There are an estimated 10 million Polish Americans, representing about 3.2% of the population of the United States...

 ancestry, 6.7% had English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

 ancestry, 6.4% had Italian
Italian American
An Italian American , is an American of Italian ancestry. The designation may also refer to someone possessing Italian and American dual citizenship...

 ancestry, 4.6% listed themselves as American, 2.4% had Swedish
Swedish American
Swedish Americans are Americans of Swedish descent, especially the descendants of about 1.2 million immigrants from Sweden during 1885-1915. Most were Lutherans who affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ; some were Methodists...

 ancestry, 2.2% had French
French American
French Americans or Franco-Americans are Americans of French or French Canadian descent. About 11.8 million U.S. residents are of this descent, and about 1.6 million speak French at home.An additional 450,000 U.S...

 ancestry, other than Basque
Basque people
The Basques as an ethnic group, primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country , a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.The Basques are known in the...

, 1.6% had Dutch ancestry, 1.4% had Norwegian
Norwegian American
Norwegian Americans are Americans of Norwegian descent. Norwegian immigrants went to the United States primarily in the later half of the 19th century and the first few decades of the 20th century. There are more than 4.5 million Norwegian Americans according to the most recent U.S. census, and...

 ancestry and 1.3% had Scottish
Scottish American
Scottish Americans or Scots Americans are citizens of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in Scotland. Scottish Americans are closely related to Scots-Irish Americans, descendants of Ulster Scots, and communities emphasize and celebrate a common heritage...

 ancestry. Also, 21.8% of the population age 5 years and over reported speaking a language other than English, with 12.8% of the population speaking Spanish, 5.6% speaking other Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

, 2.5% speaking Asian
Languages of Asia
There is a wide variety of languages spoken throughout Asia, comprising a number of families and some unrelated isolates. Many languages have a long tradition of writing.-Central and North Asian languages:*Turkic**Azeri**Kazak**Kyrgyz**Tatar**Turkish...

 and Austronesian languages
Austronesian languages
The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia that are spoken by about 386 million people. It is on par with Indo-European, Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic and Uralic as one of the...

, and 0.8% speaking other languages.

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
Center of population
In demographics, the center of population of a region is a geographical point that describes a centerpoint of the region's population...

 was at 41.278216°N 88.380238°W, located in Grundy County, northeast of the village of Mazon
Mazon, Illinois
Mazon is a village in Mazon Township, Grundy County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,015 at the 2010 census. The center of population of Illinois is located in Mazon. Illinois' State Fossil, the unique and bizarre Tully Monster was first found in nearby Mazon Creek...

.
Largest cities
Rank City Population County

Chicago


Springfield
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...


(State Capital)
1 Chicago 2,695,598 Cook
Cook County, Illinois
Cook County is a county in the U.S. state of Illinois, with its county seat in Chicago. It is the second most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County. The county has 5,194,675 residents, which is 40.5 percent of all Illinois residents. Cook County's population is larger than...

, DuPage
DuPage County, Illinois
As of the 2010 Census, the population of the county was 916,924, White Americans made up 77.9% of Dupage County's population; non-Hispanic whites represented 70.5% of the population. Black Americans made up 4.6% of the population. Native Americans made up 0.3% of Dupage County's population...

2 Aurora
Aurora, Illinois
Aurora is the second most populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois, and the 112th largest city in the United States. A suburb of Chicago, located west of the Loop, its population in 2010 was 197,899. Originally founded within Kane County, Aurora's city limits have expanded greatly over the past...

 
197,899 DuPage
DuPage County, Illinois
As of the 2010 Census, the population of the county was 916,924, White Americans made up 77.9% of Dupage County's population; non-Hispanic whites represented 70.5% of the population. Black Americans made up 4.6% of the population. Native Americans made up 0.3% of Dupage County's population...

 Kane
Kane County, Illinois
Kane County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 515,269, which is an increase of 27.5% from 404,119 in 2000. Its county seat is Geneva, and its largest city is Aurora.- Geography :...

 Kendall
Kendall County, Illinois
Kendall County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois, about 40 miles southwest of Chicago. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 114,736, which is an increase of 110% from 54,544 in 2000. It was the fastest-growing county in the United States between the years 2000 and...

 Will
Will County, Illinois
As of the census of 2000, there were 502,266 people, 167,542 households, and 131,017 families residing in the county. The population density was 600 people per square mile . There were 175,524 housing units at an average density of 210 per square mile...

 
3 Rockford
Rockford, Illinois
Rockford is a mid-sized city located on both banks of the Rock River in far northern Illinois. Often referred to as "The Forest City", Rockford is the county seat of Winnebago County, Illinois, USA. As reported in the 2010 U.S. census, the city was home to 152,871 people, the third most populated...

 
152,871 Winnebago
Winnebago, Illinois
Winnebago is a village in Winnebago County, Illinois, United States. It is part of the Rockford, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 3,101 at the 2010 census, up from 2,958 at the 2000 census.- History :...

 
4 Joliet
Joliet, Illinois
Joliet is a city in Will and Kendall Counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, located southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County. As of the 2010 census, the city was the fourth-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 147,433. It continues to be Illinois' fastest growing...

 
147,433 Will
Will County, Illinois
As of the census of 2000, there were 502,266 people, 167,542 households, and 131,017 families residing in the county. The population density was 600 people per square mile . There were 175,524 housing units at an average density of 210 per square mile...

 
5 Naperville
Naperville, Illinois
Naperville is a city in DuPage and Will Counties in Illinois in the United States, voted the second best place to live in the United States by Money Magazine in 2006. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 141,853. It is the fifth largest city in the state, behind Chicago,...

 
141,853 DuPage
DuPage County, Illinois
As of the 2010 Census, the population of the county was 916,924, White Americans made up 77.9% of Dupage County's population; non-Hispanic whites represented 70.5% of the population. Black Americans made up 4.6% of the population. Native Americans made up 0.3% of Dupage County's population...

, Will
Will County, Illinois
As of the census of 2000, there were 502,266 people, 167,542 households, and 131,017 families residing in the county. The population density was 600 people per square mile . There were 175,524 housing units at an average density of 210 per square mile...

 
6 Springfield
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

 
117,352 Sangamon
Sangamon County, Illinois
Sangamon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 197,465, which is an increase of 4.5% from 188,951 in 2000...

 
7 Peoria
Peoria, Illinois
Peoria is the largest city on the Illinois River and the county seat of Peoria County, Illinois, in the United States. It is named after the Peoria tribe. As of the 2010 census, the city was the seventh-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 115,007, and is the third-most populated...

 
115,007 Peoria
Peoria County, Illinois
Peoria County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 186,494, which is an increase of 1.7% from 183,433 in 2000. Its county seat is Peoria....

 
8 Elgin
Elgin, Illinois
Elgin is a city in northern Illinois located roughly northwest of Chicago on the Fox River. Most of Elgin lies within Kane County, Illinois, with a portion in Cook County, Illinois...

 
108,188 Cook
Cook County, Illinois
Cook County is a county in the U.S. state of Illinois, with its county seat in Chicago. It is the second most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County. The county has 5,194,675 residents, which is 40.5 percent of all Illinois residents. Cook County's population is larger than...

, Kane
Kane County, Illinois
Kane County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 515,269, which is an increase of 27.5% from 404,119 in 2000. Its county seat is Geneva, and its largest city is Aurora.- Geography :...

 
9 Waukegan
Waukegan, Illinois
Waukegan is a city and county seat of Lake County, Illinois. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 87,901. The 2010 population was 89,078. It is the ninth-largest city in Illinois by population...

 
89,078 Lake
Lake County, Illinois
Lake County is a county in the northeastern corner of the state of Illinois, on the shore of Lake Michigan. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 703,462, which is an increase of 9.2% from 644,356 in 2000. Its county seat is Waukegan. The county is part of the Chicago metropolitan area...

 
10 Cicero
Cicero, Illinois
Cicero is an incorporated town in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 83,891 at the 2010 census. Cicero is named for the town of Cicero, New York, which in turn was named for Marcus Tullius Cicero, the Roman statesman and orator....

 
85,616 Cook
Cook County, Illinois
Cook County is a county in the U.S. state of Illinois, with its county seat in Chicago. It is the second most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County. The county has 5,194,675 residents, which is 40.5 percent of all Illinois residents. Cook County's population is larger than...

 
11 Champaign
Champaign, Illinois
Champaign is a city in Champaign County, Illinois, in the United States. The city is located south of Chicago, west of Indianapolis, Indiana, and 178 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri. Though surrounded by farm communities, Champaign is notable for sharing the campus of the University of...

 
81,055 Champaign
Champaign County, Illinois
Champaign County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 201,081, which is an increase of 11.9% from 179,669 in 2000.. It is the 10th most populous county in Illinois...

 
12 Arlington Heights
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Arlington Heights is a village in Cook and Lake counties in the U.S. state of Illinois. A suburb of Chicago, it lies about 25 miles northwest of the city's downtown. The population was 75,101 at the 2010 census....

 
76,031 Cook
Cook County, Illinois
Cook County is a county in the U.S. state of Illinois, with its county seat in Chicago. It is the second most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County. The county has 5,194,675 residents, which is 40.5 percent of all Illinois residents. Cook County's population is larger than...

 
based on 2010 U.S. Census

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
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

 currently lists seven other cities with populations of over 100,000 within Illinois. Based upon the Census Bureau's official 2010 population,: Aurora
Aurora, Illinois
Aurora is the second most populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois, and the 112th largest city in the United States. A suburb of Chicago, located west of the Loop, its population in 2010 was 197,899. Originally founded within Kane County, Aurora's city limits have expanded greatly over the past...

, a Chicago satellite town
Satellite town
A satellite town or satellite city is a concept in urban planning that refers essentially to smaller metropolitan areas which are located somewhat near to, but are mostly independent of, larger metropolitan areas.-Characteristics:...

 which eclipsed Rockford
Rockford, Illinois
Rockford is a mid-sized city located on both banks of the Rock River in far northern Illinois. Often referred to as "The Forest City", Rockford is the county seat of Winnebago County, Illinois, USA. As reported in the 2010 U.S. census, the city was home to 152,871 people, the third most populated...

 for the title of "Second City" of Illinois in 2006; its 2010 population was 197,899. Rockford, at 152,871, is the third largest city in the state, and is also the largest city in the state not located within the Chicago metropolitan area. Joliet
Joliet, Illinois
Joliet is a city in Will and Kendall Counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, located southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County. As of the 2010 census, the city was the fourth-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 147,433. It continues to be Illinois' fastest growing...

, located southwest of Chicago, is the fourth largest city in the state, with a population of 147,433. Naperville
Naperville, Illinois
Naperville is a city in DuPage and Will Counties in Illinois in the United States, voted the second best place to live in the United States by Money Magazine in 2006. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 141,853. It is the fifth largest city in the state, behind Chicago,...

, a suburb of Chicago, is fifth with 141,853; Naperville and Aurora (the 2nd largest city) share a boundary along Illinois Route 59
Illinois Route 59
Illinois Route 59 is a north–south state highway in northeastern Illinois. It runs south from Illinois Route 83 in Antioch to Interstate Highway 55 in Shorewood, spanning the north–south width of Chicago's western suburbs...

. Springfield
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

, the state capital of Illinois, comes in sixth with 117,352. Peoria
Peoria, Illinois
Peoria is the largest city on the Illinois River and the county seat of Peoria County, Illinois, in the United States. It is named after the Peoria tribe. As of the 2010 census, the city was the seventh-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 115,007, and is the third-most populated...

, which decades ago was the second largest city in the state, comes in seventh with 115,007. The eighth largest and final city in the 100,000 club is Elgin
Elgin, Illinois
Elgin is a city in northern Illinois located roughly northwest of Chicago on the Fox River. Most of Elgin lies within Kane County, Illinois, with a portion in Cook County, Illinois...

, a northwest suburb of Chicago with a 2010 population of 108,188.

The most populated city in the state south of Springfield
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

 is Belleville
Belleville, Illinois
Belleville is a city in St. Clair County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city has a population of 44,478. It is the eighth-most populated city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area and the most populated city south of Springfield in the state of Illinois. It is the county...

, with 44,478 people at the 2010 census. It is located in the Illinois portion of Greater St. Louis (often called the Metro-East
Metro-East
Metro East is a region in Illinois that comprises the eastern suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, United States. It encompasses five Southern Illinois counties in the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area. The region's most populated city is Belleville at 45,000 residents...

 area), which has a rapidly growing population of over 700,000 people.

Other major urban areas include the Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area
Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area
The Champaign-Urbana metropolitan area, also known as Champaign-Urbana, is a metropolitan area in east-central Illinois. It is the 191st largest metropolitan area in the U.S. It is composed of three counties, Champaign, Ford, and Piatt...

, which has a combined population of almost 230,000 people, the Illinois portion of the Quad Cities
Quad Cities
The Quad Cities is a group of five cities straddling the Mississippi River on the Iowa–Illinois boundary. These cities, Davenport and Bettendorf and Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline , are the center of the Quad Cities Metropolitan Area, which, as of 2010, had an estimated population of...

 area with about 215,000 people, and the Bloomington-Normal
McLean County, Illinois
McLean County is a county in the U.S. state of Illinois. McLean County is included in the Bloomington–Normal, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 169,572, which is an increase of 12.7% from 150,433 in 2000. Its county seat is...

 area with a combined population of over 165,000.

Religion


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 2000 Catholics in Illinois numbered 3,874,933, the largest Protestant denominations were the United Methodist Church
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley...

, with 365,182 members, and the Southern Baptist Convention
Southern Baptist Convention
The Southern Baptist Convention is a United States-based Christian denomination. It is the world's largest Baptist denomination and the largest Protestant body in the United States, with over 16 million members...

, with 305,838. Jews constituted the largest non-Christian group with 270,000 adherents. Chicago and its suburbs are also home to a large and growing population of Hindu
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

s, Muslims, Baha'is and Sikh
Sikh
A Sikh is a follower of Sikhism. It primarily originated in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia. The term "Sikh" has its origin in Sanskrit term शिष्य , meaning "disciple, student" or शिक्ष , meaning "instruction"...

s.

Illinois played an important role in the early Latter Day Saint movement
Latter Day Saint movement
The Latter Day Saint movement is a group of independent churches tracing their origin to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 14 million members...

, with Nauvoo, Illinois
Nauvoo, Illinois
Nauvoo is a small city in Hancock County, Illinois, United States. Although the population was just 1,063 at the 2000 census, and despite being difficult to reach due to its location in a remote corner of Illinois, Nauvoo attracts large numbers of visitors for its historic importance and its...

, 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, claims 55,460 in Illinois today.

Economy



The dollar gross state product for Illinois was estimated to be billion in 2010. The state's 2010 per capita gross state product was estimated to be , and the state's per capita personal income
Personal income in the United States
Personal income is an individual’s total earnings from wages, investment interest, and other sources. In the United States the most widely cited personal income statistics are the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s personal income and the Census Bureau’s per capita money income...

 was estimated to be in 2009.

, the state's unemployment rate was 11.5%, which fell to 9.9% by August 2011.

Taxes


Illinois' state income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

 is calculated by multiplying net income
Net income
Net income is the residual income of a firm after adding total revenue and gains and subtracting all expenses and losses for the reporting period. Net income can be distributed among holders of common stock as a dividend or held by the firm as an addition to retained earnings...

 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
Sales tax
A sales tax is a tax, usually paid by the consumer at the point of purchase, itemized separately from the base price, for certain goods and services. The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale....

: 6.25% for general merchandise and 1% for qualifying food, drugs and medical appliances. The property tax
Property tax
A property tax is an ad valorem levy on the value of property that the owner is required to pay. The tax is levied by the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which the property is located; it may be paid to a national government, a federated state or a municipality...

 is the largest single tax in Illinois, and is the 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, township
Civil township
A civil township is a widely used unit of local government in the United States, subordinate to, and geographic divisions of, a county. Specific responsibilities and the degree of autonomy vary based on each state. Civil townships are distinct from survey townships, but in states that have both,...

s, municipalities, school district
School district
School districts are a form of special-purpose district which serves to operate the local public primary and secondary schools.-United States:...

s and special taxation districts. The property tax in Illinois is imposed only on real property
Real property
In English Common Law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is any subset of land that has been legally defined and the improvements to it made by human efforts: any buildings, machinery, wells, dams, ponds, mines, canals, roads, various property rights, and so forth...

.

Agriculture


Illinois' major agricultural outputs are corn
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, soybean
Soybean
The soybean or soya bean is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses...

s, hog
Pig
A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives...

s, cattle, dairy product
Dairy product
Dairy products are generally defined as foods produced from cow's or domestic buffalo's milk. They are usually high-energy-yielding food products. A production plant for such processing is called a dairy or a dairy factory. Raw milk for processing comes mainly from cows, and, to a lesser extent,...

s, 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 ton
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

s) in 2008, after Iowa's production of 444.82 million bushels (12.11 million metric tons
Tonne
The tonne, known as the metric ton in the US , often put pleonastically as "metric tonne" to avoid confusion with ton, is a metric system unit of mass equal to 1000 kilograms. The tonne is not an International System of Units unit, but is accepted for use with the SI...

). Illinois ranks second in U.S. corn production with more than 1.5 billion bushels produced annually. Illinois also produces wine
Illinois wine
Illinois wine refers to any wine that is made from grapes grown in the U.S. state of Illinois. In 2006, Shawnee Hills, in southern Illinois, was named the state's first American Viticultural Area. As of 2008, there were 79 wineries in Illinois, utilizing approximately of vines.-History:Grapes...

, and the state is home to two American viticultural area
American Viticultural Area
An American Viticultural Area is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau , United States Department of the Treasury....

s. Illinois' universities are actively researching alternative agricultural products as alternative crops.

Manufacturing


Illinois is one of the nation's manufacturing leaders, boasting annual value added productivity by manufacturing of over $107 billion in 2006. 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).

Services


By the early 2000s, Illinois' economy had moved toward a dependence on high-value-added services, such as financial trading, higher education, law, logistics
Logistics
Logistics is the management of the flow of goods between the point of origin and the point of destination in order to meet the requirements of customers or corporations. Logistics involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging, and...

, and medicine. In some cases, these services clustered around institutions that hearkened back to Illinois' earlier economies. For example, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
Chicago Mercantile Exchange
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is an American financial and commodity derivative exchange based in Chicago. The CME was founded in 1898 as the Chicago Butter and Egg Board. Originally, the exchange was a non-profit organization...

, a trading exchange for global derivatives
Derivative (finance)
A derivative instrument is a contract between two parties that specifies conditions—in particular, dates and the resulting values of the underlying variables—under which payments, or payoffs, are to be made between the parties.Under U.S...

, had begun its life as an agricultural futures market
Futures exchange
A futures exchange or futures market is a central financial exchange where people can trade standardized futures contracts; that is, a contract to buy specific quantities of a commodity or financial instrument at a specified price with delivery set at a specified time in the future. These types of...

. Other important non-manufacturing industries include publishing, tourism, and energy production and distribution.

Energy


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.

Coal


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
Pennsylvanian
The Pennsylvanian is, in the ICS geologic timescale, the younger of two subperiods of the Carboniferous Period. It lasted from roughly . As with most other geochronologic units, the rock beds that define the Pennsylvanian are well identified, but the exact date of the start and end are uncertain...

 geologic period. According to the Illinois State Geological Survey, 211 billion tons of bituminous coal
Bituminous coal
Bituminous coal or black coal is a relatively soft coal containing a tarlike substance called bitumen. It is of higher quality than lignite coal but of poorer quality than Anthracite...

 are estimated to lie under the surface, having a total heating value greater than the estimated oil deposits in the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

. However, this coal has a high sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

 content, which causes acid rain
Acid rain
Acid rain is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, meaning that it possesses elevated levels of hydrogen ions . It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Acid rain is caused by emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen...

 unless special equipment is used to reduce sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

 emissions
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

. Many Illinois power plants
Power station
A power station is an industrial facility for the generation of electric energy....

 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, while much of the coal burned for power in Illinois (21 million tons in 1998) is mined in the Powder River Basin
Powder River Basin
The Powder River Basin is a geologic region in southeast Montana and northeast Wyoming, about east to west and north to south, known for its coal deposits. The region supplies about 40 percent of coal in the United States. It is both a topographic drainage and geologic structural basin...

 of Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

.

Mattoon
Mattoon, Illinois
Mattoon is a city in Coles County, Illinois, United States. The population was 18,555 as of the 2010 census. It is a principal city of the Charleston–Mattoon Micropolitan Statistical Area.Mattoon was the site of the "Mad Gasser" attacks of the 1940s....

 was recently chosen as the site for the Department of Energy
United States Department of Energy
The United States Department of Energy is a Cabinet-level department of the United States government concerned with the United States' policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material...

's FutureGen
FutureGen
FutureGen is a US government project announced by President George W. Bush in 2003; its initial plan involved the construction of a near zero-emissions coal-fueled power plant to produce hydrogen and electricity while using carbon capture and storage....

 project, a 275 megawatt experimental zero emission
Zero emission
Zero emission refers to an engine, motor, or other energy source, that emits no waste products that pollutes the environment or disrupts the climate.-Zero emission engines:...

 coal-burning power plant which just received a second round of funding from the DOE.

Petroleum


Illinois is a leading refiner of petroleum in the American Midwest, with a combined crude oil distillation capacity of nearly 900000 oilbbl/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
Heating oil
Heating oil, or oil heat, is a low viscosity, flammable liquid petroleum product used as a fuel for furnaces or boilers in buildings. Home heating oil is often abbreviated as HHO...

. Illinois is ranked 14th in oil production among states, with a daily output of approximately 28000 barrels (4,451.6 m³) in 2005.

Nuclear power



Nuclear power
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

 arguably began in Illinois with the Chicago Pile-1
Chicago Pile-1
Chicago Pile-1 was the world's first man-made nuclear reactor. CP-1 was built on a rackets court, under the abandoned west stands of the original Alonzo Stagg Field stadium, at the University of Chicago. The first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was initiated in CP-1 on December 2, 1942...

, the world's first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction
Nuclear chain reaction
A nuclear chain reaction occurs when one nuclear reaction causes an average of one or more nuclear reactions, thus leading to a self-propagating number of these reactions. The specific nuclear reaction may be the fission of heavy isotopes or the fusion of light isotopes...

 in the world's first nuclear reactor, built on the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 campus. There are six operating nuclear power plant
Nuclear power plant
A nuclear power plant is a thermal power station in which the heat source is one or more nuclear reactors. As in a conventional thermal power station the heat is used to generate steam which drives a steam turbine connected to a generator which produces electricity.Nuclear power plants are usually...

s in Illinois: Braidwood
Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station
Braidwood Generating Station is located in Will County in northeastern Illinois, USA. The nuclear power plant serves Chicago and northern Illinois with electricity. The plant was originally built by Commonwealth Edison company, and subsequently transferred to Com Ed's parent company, Exelon...

; Byron
Byron Nuclear Generating Station
The Byron Nuclear Generating Station is a nuclear power plant located in Ogle County, Illinois, east of the Rock River. The reactor buildings were constructed by Babcock and Wilcox and house two Westinghouse pressurized water reactors, Unit 1 and Unit 2, which first began operation in...

; Clinton
Clinton Nuclear Generating Station
The Clinton Power Station is located near Clinton, Illinois, USA. The nuclear power station has a General Electric boiling water reactor on a site with an adjacent cooling reservoir, Clinton Lake. Due to inflation and cost overruns, Clinton's final construction cost exceeded $2.6 billion...

; Dresden
Dresden Nuclear Power Plant
Dresden Generating Station is the first privately financed nuclear power plant built in the United States. Dresden 1 was activated in 1960 and retired in 1978. Operating since 1970 are Dresden units 2 and 3, two General Electric boiling water reactors...

; LaSalle; and Quad Cities
Quad Cities Nuclear Generating Station
Quad Cities Generating Station is a two-unit nuclear power plant located near Cordova, Illinois, USA on the Mississippi River. The two General Electric boiling water reactors give the plant a total electric capacity of approximately 1,824 MW...

. 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
Zion Nuclear Power Station
Zion Nuclear Power Station was the third dual-reactor nuclear power plant in the Commonwealth Edison network and served Chicago and the northern quarter of Illinois. The plant was built in 1973, and the first unit started producing power in December, 1973. The second unit came online in September...

. , Illinois was ranked first among the 50 states both in nuclear capacity and nuclear generation. In 2007, 48% of Illinois' electricity was generated using nuclear power.

Wind power



Illinois has seen growing interest in the use of wind power
Wind power
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using wind turbines to make electricity, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships....

 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 metres (164 ft) hub heights; newer wind turbines are taller, enabling them to reach stronger winds farther from the ground
Wind profile power law
The wind profile power law is a relationship between the wind speeds at one height, and those at another.The power law is often used in wind power assessments where wind speeds at the height of a turbine must be estimated from near surface wind observations , or where wind speed data at various...

. 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
Nameplate capacity
Nameplate capacity, also known as the rated capacity, nominal capacity, installed capacity or maximum effect, refers to the intended technical full–load sustained output of a facility such as a power plant, a chemical plant, fuel plant, metal refinery, mine, and many others.For dispatchable power,...

 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 farm
Wind farm
A wind farm is a group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electric power. A large wind farm may consist of several hundred individual wind turbines, and cover an extended area of hundreds of square miles, but the land between the turbines may be used for agricultural or other...

s in Illinois include Twin Groves
Twin Groves Wind Farm
Twin Groves Wind Farm is a wind farm in the U.S. state of Illinois near the villages Arrowsmith, Saybrook, and Ellsworth in McLean County. It consists of 240 operating wind turbines. Each wind turbine stands 270 ft tall and has three 85 ft long blades. The wind farm was constructed from...

, Rail Splitter
Rail Splitter Wind Farm
The Rail Splitter Wind Farm is a 67-turbine wind farm in northern Logan County and southern Tazewell County in the U.S. state of Illinois. The turbines are expected to generate a maximum of 100.5 megawatts of electricity. The wind farm is owned and operated by Horizon Wind Energy...

, EcoGrove
Acciona Energy
Acciona Energy, a subsidiary of Acciona based in Madrid, is a Spanish company developing renewable energy projects, including small hydro, biomass, solar energy and thermal energy, and the marketing of biofuels. It also has assets in the field of co-generation and wind turbine manufacture...

, and Mendota Hills
Mendota Hills Wind Farm
The Mendota Hills Wind Farm is a wind farm in the U.S. state of Illinois near the village of Paw Paw in Lee County. It consists of 63 operating wind turbines. Each wind turbine stands 214 ft tall and has three 85 ft long blades. The wind farm was constructed from June 2003 to November 24, 2003...

.

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
Illinois General Assembly
The Illinois General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Illinois and comprises the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate. The General Assembly was created by the first state constitution adopted in 1818. Illinois has 59 legislative districts, with two...

 mandated in 2007 that by 2025, 25% of all electricity generated in Illinois is to come from renewable resource
Renewable resource
A renewable resource is a natural resource with the ability of being replaced through biological or other natural processes and replenished with the passage of time...

s.

Biofuels


Illinois is ranked second in corn
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 production among U.S. states, and Illinois corn is used to produce 40% of the ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

 consumed in the United States. The Archer Daniels Midland
Archer Daniels Midland
The Archer Daniels Midland Company is a conglomerate headquartered in Decatur, Illinois. ADM operates more than 270 plants worldwide, where cereal grains and oilseeds are processed into products used in food, beverage, nutraceutical, industrial and animal feed markets worldwide.ADM was named the...

 corporation in Decatur, Illinois
Decatur, Illinois
Decatur is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois. The city, sometimes called "the Soybean Capital of the World", was founded in 1823 and is located along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. In 2000 the city population was 81,500,...

 is the world's leading producer of ethanol from corn.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a large public research-intensive university in the state of Illinois, United States. It is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system...

 is one of the partners in the Energy Biosciences Institute
Energy Biosciences Institute
The Energy Biosciences Institute , formally announced on February 1, 2007, is an organization that will pursue research "to develop new sources of energy and reduce the impact of energy consumption on the environment." Funded primarily by BP, which has signed a contract to contribute 500 million...

 (EBI), a $500 million biofuels research project funded by petroleum giant BP
BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

.

Museums


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
Shedd Aquarium
The John G. Shedd Aquarium is an indoor public aquarium in Chicago, Illinois in the United States that opened on May 30, 1930. The aquarium contains over 25,000 fish, and was for some time the largest indoor aquarium in the world with of water. The Shedd Aquarium was the first inland aquarium with...

, the Field Museum of Natural History
Field Museum of Natural History
The Field Museum of Natural History is located in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It sits on Lake Shore Drive next to Lake Michigan, part of a scenic complex known as the Museum Campus Chicago...

, the Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of America's largest accredited independent schools of art and design, located in the Loop in Chicago, Illinois. It is associated with the museum of the same name, and "The Art Institute of Chicago" or "Chicago Art Institute" often refers to either...

, the Adler Planetarium
Adler Planetarium
The Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum in Chicago, Illinois was the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere and is the oldest in existence today. Adler was founded and built in 1930 by the philanthropist Max Adler, with the assistance of the first director of the planetarium, Philip Fox...

, and the Museum of Science and Industry
Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago)
The Museum of Science and Industry is located in Chicago, Illinois, USA in Jackson Park, in the Hyde Park neighborhood adjacent to Lake Michigan. It is housed in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition...

.

The state of the art Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum documents the life of the 16th U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln, and the course of the American Civil War. Combining traditional scholarship with 21st century showmanship techniques, the popular museum continues to rank as one of the most visited...

 in Springfield is the largest presidential library
Presidential library
In the United States, the Presidential library system is a nationwide network of 13 libraries administered by the Office of Presidential Libraries, which is part of the National Archives and Records Administration...

 in the country. Other historical museums in the state include Magnolia Manor
Magnolia Manor (Cairo, Illinois)
Magnolia Manor is a postbellum manor located in Cairo, Illinois, located in Alexander County. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since December 17, 1969....

 in Cairo
Cairo, Illinois
Cairo is the southernmost city in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the county seat of Alexander County. Cairo is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. The rivers converge at Fort Defiance State Park, an American Civil War fort that was commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant...

, the Elihu Benjamin Washburne
Elihu Benjamin Washburne House
The Elihu Benjamin Washburne House is a Greek Revival house in the city of Galena, Illinois, USA. Constructed in 1844–45, the building was built for and owned by Elihu B. Washburne a nationally significant politician and Galena resident. The Washburne House was added to the U.S...

 and Ulysses S. Grant Home
Ulysses S. Grant Home
The Ulysses S. Grant Home in Galena, Illinois is the former home of Ulysses S. Grant, the Civil War General and later 18th President of the United States. The home was given to Grant by residents of Galena as thanks for his war service in 1865, and has been maintained as a memorial to Grant since...

s, both in Galena
Galena, Illinois
Galena is the county seat of, and largest city in, Jo Daviess County, Illinois in the United States, with a population of 3,429 in 2010. The city is a popular tourist destination known for its history, historical architecture, and ski and golf resorts. Galena was the residence of Ulysses S...

, and the Polish Museum of America
Polish Museum of America
The Polish Museum of America is located in West Town, in what had been the historical Polish Downtown neighborhood of Chicago. It is home to a plethora of Polish artifacts, artwork, and embroidered folk costumes among its growing collection...

 in Chicago.

Music



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
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Southern Illinois University Carbondale is a public research university located in Carbondale, Illinois, United States. Founded in 1869, SIUC is the flagship campus of the Southern Illinois University system...

 has played host to the Southern Illinois Music Festival, which presents dozens of performances throughout the region. Past featured artists include the Eroica Trio
Eroica Trio
The Eroica Trio is an American piano trio consisting of Erika Nickrenz, piano; Susie Park, violin; and Sara Sant'Ambrogio, cello. Park joined the trio in September 2006 . The trio take their name from Beethoven's Eroica Symphony...

 and violinist David Kim
David Kim
David Kim is a violinist born in Carbondale, Illinois and was the only American to win a prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1986, where he got sixth prize. Since 1999, he has been the concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra...

.

Sports




Major league teams


As one of the United States' major metropolises, all major sports leagues have teams headquartered in Chicago.
  • Two Major League Baseball
    Major League Baseball
    Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

     teams are located in the state. The Chicago Cubs
    Chicago Cubs
    The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago . The Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National...

     of the National League
    National League
    The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League , is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball, and the world's oldest extant professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional...

     play in the second-oldest major league stadium (Wrigley Field
    Wrigley Field
    Wrigley Field is a baseball stadium in Chicago, Illinois, United States that has served as the home ballpark of the Chicago Cubs since 1916. It was built in 1914 as Weeghman Park for the Chicago Federal League baseball team, the Chicago Whales...

    ) and are widely known for having the longest championship drought in all of major American sport: not winning the World Series
    World Series
    The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

     since 1908
    1908 World Series
    The 1908 World Series matched the defending champion Chicago Cubs against the Detroit Tigers in a rematch of the 1907 Series. In this first-ever rematch of this young event, the Cubs won in five games for their second consecutive title....

    . The Chicago White Sox
    Chicago White Sox
    The Chicago White Sox are a Major League Baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois.The White Sox play in the American League's Central Division. Since , the White Sox have played in U.S. Cellular Field, which was originally called New Comiskey Park and nicknamed The Cell by local fans...

     of the American League
    American League
    The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League , is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major...

     won the World Series
    World Series
    The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

     in 2005
    2005 World Series
    The 2005 World Series, the 101st Major League Baseball championship series, saw the American League champion Chicago White Sox sweep the National League champion Houston Astros four games to none in the best-of-seven-games series, winning their third championship and first since 1917.Home-field...

    , their first since 1917
    1917 World Series
    In the 1917 World Series, the Chicago White Sox beat the New York Giants four games to two. The Series was played against the backdrop of World War I, which dominated the American newspapers that year and next....

    .
  • The Chicago Bears
    Chicago Bears
    The Chicago Bears are a professional American football team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

     football team has won nine total NFL Championships, the last occurring in Super Bowl XX
    Super Bowl XX
    Super Bowl XX was an American football championship game played on January 26, 1986 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana to decide the National Football League champion following the 1985 regular season...

     in 1986.
  • The Chicago Bulls
    Chicago Bulls
    The Chicago Bulls are an American professional basketball team based in Chicago, Illinois, playing in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association . The team was founded in 1966. They play their home games at the United Center...

     of the NBA
    National Basketball Association
    The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

     is one of the most recognized basketball teams
    Basketball
    Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

     in the world, due largely to the efforts of Michael Jordan
    Michael Jordan
    Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a former American professional basketball player, active entrepreneur, and majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats...

    , who led the team to six NBA championships in eight seasons in the 1990s.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks
    Chicago Blackhawks
    The Chicago Blackhawks are a professional ice hockey team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League . They have won four Stanley Cup championships since their founding in 1926, most recently coming in 2009-10...

     of the NHL
    National Hockey League
    The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

     began playing in 1926, as a member of the Original Six
    Original Six
    The Original Six is a term for the group of six teams that composed the National Hockey League for the 25 seasons between the 1942–43 season and the 1967 NHL Expansion. These six teams are the Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and the...

     and have won four Stanley Cup
    Stanley Cup
    The Stanley Cup is an ice hockey club trophy, awarded annually to the National Hockey League playoffs champion after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals. It has been referred to as The Cup, Lord Stanley's Cup, The Holy Grail, or facetiously as Lord Stanley's Mug...

    s, most recently in 2010
    2009–10 NHL season
    The 2009–10 NHL season was the 93rd season of operation of the National Hockey League , and the 100th season since the founding of the predecessor National Hockey Association . It ran from October 1, 2009, including four games in Europe on October 2 and 3—until April 11, 2010, with the 2010...

    .
  • The Chicago Fire
    Chicago Fire (soccer)
    Chicago Fire Soccer Club is an American professional soccer club based in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, Illinois. The team competes in Major League Soccer , the top soccer league in the United States and Canada...

     soccer club is a member of MLS
    Major League Soccer
    Major League Soccer is a professional soccer league based in the United States and sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation . The league is composed of 19 teams — 16 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada...

     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 Cup
    Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
    The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is a knockout tournament in American soccer. The tournament is the oldest ongoing American soccer competition and is presently open to all United States Soccer Federation affiliated teams, from amateur adult club teams to the professional clubs of Major League...

    s in that timespan.
  • The Chicago Carnage  of the MLRH
    Major League Roller Hockey
    Major League Roller Hockey is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a professional inline hockey league of 15 franchised member clubs, all of which are located in the United States. Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, MLRH is the only full contact professional inline...

     is the most recent professional team in Chicago.

Minor league teams


Many minor league
Minor league
Minor leagues are professional sports leagues which are not regarded as the premier leagues in those sports. Minor league teams tend to play in smaller, less elaborate venues, often competing in smaller cities. This term is used in North America with regard to several organizations competing in...

 teams also call Chicago their home. These include
  • The Chicago Rush
    Chicago Rush
    The Chicago Rush is an arena football team based in Rosemont, Illinois. It is a member of the Central Division of the National Conference of the Arena Football League. The team was founded in 2001 and is co-owned by Mike Ditka, the Hall of Fame player and coach.The Rush have qualified for the...

     of the Arena Football League, who won ArenaBowl XX
    ArenaBowl XX
    ArenaBowl XX, held on Sunday, June 11, 2006, was played to determine the championship of the 2006 season of the Arena Football League. For the second consecutive year, the game was played at the neutral site of the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. It pitted the National Conference...

     in 2006.
  • The Chicago Wolves
    Chicago Wolves
    The Chicago Wolves are a professional hockey team playing in the American Hockey League. They are the top affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL. The Wolves play home games at the Allstate Arena in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois...

     is an AHL
    American Hockey League
    The American Hockey League is a 30-team professional ice hockey league based in the United States and Canada that serves as the primary developmental circuit for the National Hockey League...

     team.
  • The Chicago Sky
    Chicago Sky
    The Chicago Sky is a professional basketball team based in Rosemont, Illinois, playing in the Eastern Conference in the Women's National Basketball Association . The team was founded before the 2006 WNBA season began. The team is owned by Michael J. Alter and Margaret Stender...

     of the WNBA
    Women's National Basketball Association
    The Women's National Basketball Association is a women's professional basketball league in the United States. It currently is composed of twelve teams. The league was founded on April 24, 1996 as the women's counterpart to the National Basketball Association...

  • The Chicago Bandits
    Chicago Bandits
    The Chicago Bandits are a women's professional softball team based in Rosemont, Illinois. Since the 2005 season, they have played as a member of National Pro Fastpitch . The Bandits won the 2008 NPF championship, defeating the Washington Glory in the final game of the championship series...

     of the NPF
    National Pro Fastpitch
    National Pro Fastpitch , formerly the Women's Pro Softball League , is the only professional women's softball league in the United States. The WPSL was founded in 1997 and folded in 2001. The NPF revived the league in 2004 and currently features four teams: USSSA Pride, Akron Racers, Chicago...

    , a female softball league; the Bandits won their first title in 2008
  • The Chicago Red Stars
    Chicago Red Stars
    The Chicago Red Stars are a American professional soccer club that is based in the Chicago suburb of Lisle, Illinois that participates in the Women's Premier Soccer League. From 2009-2010, the Red Stars played their home games at Toyota Park in the Womens Professional Soccer...

      of the WPS
    Women's Professional Soccer
    Women's Professional Soccer is the top level professional women's soccer league in the United States. It began play on March 29, 2009. The league was composed of seven teams for its first two seasons and fielded 6 teams for the 2011 season, with continued plans for future expansion...

    , a female soccer league

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
    Chicago Blitz
    The Chicago Blitz were a professional American football team that played in the United States Football League in the mid 1980s. They played at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.- Team history :...

    , United States Football League
    United States Football League
    The United States Football League was an American football league which was in active operation from 1983 to 1987. It played a spring/summer schedule in its first three seasons and a traditional autumn/winter schedule was set to commence before league operations ceased.The USFL was conceived in...

  • The Chicago Sting
    Chicago Sting
    The Chicago Sting was an American professional soccer team based in Chicago, Illinois. The Sting played in the North American Soccer League from 1975 to 1984 and in the Major Indoor Soccer League from in the 1982-83 season and again from 1984 to 1988...

    , Major Indoor Soccer League
  • The Chicago Cougars
    Chicago Cougars
    The Chicago Cougars were an original franchise in the World Hockey Association from 1972 to 1975. The Cougars played their home games in the dilapidated International Amphitheatre. During the 1974 Avco Cup Finals against Gordie Howe and the Houston Aeros, the team's two home games were played at...

    , World Hockey Association
    World Hockey Association
    The World Hockey Association was a professional ice hockey league that operated in North America from 1972 to 1979. It was the first major competition for the National Hockey League since the collapse of the Western Hockey League in 1926...

  • The Chicago Rockers, Continental Basketball Association
    Continental Basketball Association
    The Continental Basketball Association was a professional men's basketball league in the United States, which has been on hiatus since the 2009 season.- History :...

  • The Chicago Skyliners
    Las Vegas Rattlers
    The Las Vegas Rattlers were an American Basketball Association team based in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.- 2000-2001: Chicago Skyliners :The Chicago Skyliners were one of the charter franchises of the American Basketball Association team based in Chicago, Illinois. The team began play in the fall of...

    , American Basketball Association
    American Basketball Association (2000–present)
    The American Basketball Association, often abbreviated as ABA, is a semi-professional men's basketball league that was founded in 1999. The current ABA has no affiliation with the original American Basketball Association that merged with the National Basketball Association in 1976...

  • The Chicago Bruisers
    Chicago Bruisers
    The Chicago Bruisers were a charter member of the Arena Football League, playing in the four-team "demonstration season" of 1987. They played their home games in the former Rosemont Horizon, now the Allstate Arena, home of the Chicago Rush.-History:...

    , Arena Football League
  • The Chicago Power
    Chicago Power
    The Chicago Power were an indoor soccer club based in Chicago, Illinois that competed in the American Indoor Soccer Association and National Professional Soccer League.After the 1995/96 season, the team became the Edmonton Drillers.-Year-by-year:...

    , National Professional Soccer League
  • The Chicago Blaze, National Women's Basketball League
    National Women's Basketball League
    The National Women's Basketball League, often abbreviated to the NWBL, was an organization governing professional basketball leagues for women in the United States. The league was founded in 1997 and began play in the Fall of that year. The league used to have its own season during the off-season...

    .

Relocated teams


The NFL's Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football team based in Glendale, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. They are currently members of the Western Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

, who currently play in Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

, played in Chicago as the Chicago Cardinals, until moving to St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 after the 1959 season.

Professional sports teams outside of Chicago


Chicago is not the only place in Illinois where professional sports are played. The Rockford Lightning
Rockford Lightning
The Rockford Lightning were a basketball team that played in the Continental Basketball Association. They were based in Rockford, Illinois. The Lightning were the oldest team in the CBA, originally existing as the Lancaster Red Roses from Lancaster, Pennsylvania...

 is one of the oldest CBA
Continental Basketball Association
The Continental Basketball Association was a professional men's basketball league in the United States, which has been on hiatus since the 2009 season.- History :...

 teams in the league. The Peoria Chiefs
Peoria Chiefs
The Peoria Chiefs are a Class A minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Chicago Cubs, from Peoria, Illinois. They play in the Midwest League....

 and Kane County Cougars
Kane County Cougars
The Kane County Cougars are a Class A minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Kansas City Royals, that plays in the Midwest League. Their home games are played in Geneva, Illinois, about 35 miles west of Chicago....

 are minor league baseball teams affiliated with MLB. The Schaumburg Flyers
Schaumburg Flyers
The Schaumburg Flyers were a professional baseball team based in Schaumburg, Illinois, in the United States. The Flyers were to be a charter member of the North American League, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball, however, the team folded in March of 2011, before they began play in...

 and Lake County Fielders
Lake County Fielders
The Lake County Fielders are a professional minor league baseball team based in Zion, Illinois, located in Lake County in the northern reaches of the Chicago area...

 are members of the North American League
North American League
The North American League is an independent baseball league that began play in the 2011 season...

, and the Southern Illinois Miners
Southern Illinois Miners
The Southern Illinois Miners are a professional baseball team based in Marion, Illinois, in the United States. The Miners are a member of the West Division of the Frontier League, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball...

, Gateway Grizzlies
Gateway Grizzlies
The Gateway Grizzlies are a professional baseball team based in the St. Louis suburb of Sauget, Illinois, in the United States. The Grizzlies are a member of the West Division of the Frontier League, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball...

, Joliet Slammers
Joliet Slammers
The Joliet Slammers are a professional baseball team based in Joliet, Illinois, that play in the independent Frontier League. They play their home games at Silver Cross Field in Joliet. They replaced the Joliet JackHammers of the Northern League after the franchise was crippled by numerous...

, Windy City ThunderBolts
Windy City ThunderBolts
The Windy City ThunderBolts are a professional baseball team based in the Chicago suburb of Crestwood, Illinois, in the United States. The ThunderBolts are a member of the East Division of the Frontier League, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball...

 and Normal CornBelters
Normal CornBelters
The Normal CornBelters are a professional baseball team based in Normal, Illinois, which is part of the Bloomington-Normal metropolitan area. They began play in May 2010 as a member of the Frontier League, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball...

 belong to the Frontier League
Frontier League
The Frontier League, based in Sauget, Illinois, is a professional, independent baseball organization located in the Midwestern United States, Western Pennsylvania, and Southern Ontario. It operates mostly in cities not served by Major or Minor League Baseball teams and is not affiliated with either...

.

In addition to the Chicago Wolves, the AHL also has two teams in Illinois outside of Chicago: the Rockford IceHogs
Rockford IceHogs
This article is about the former UHL franchise. For the current American Hockey League franchise, see Rockford IceHogs.The Rockford IceHogs were a professional ice hockey team in Rockford, Illinois USA. They were a member of the United Hockey League from 1999 to 2007. The IceHogs played their home...

 serves as the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Peoria Rivermen
Peoria Rivermen
The Peoria Rivermen are a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League. They play in Peoria, Illinois, USA at the Carver Arena.-History:...

 is the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.

Motor racing


Illinois has a long tradition of motor racing. Oval tracks at the Chicagoland Speedway
Chicagoland Speedway
Chicagoland Speedway is a tri-oval speedway in Joliet, Illinois, USA, southwest of Chicago. The speedway opened in 2001 and currently hosts NASCAR racing including the opening event in the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Until 2011, the speedway also hosted the IZOD IndyCar Series, recording...

 in Joliet
Joliet, Illinois
Joliet is a city in Will and Kendall Counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, located southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County. As of the 2010 census, the city was the fourth-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 147,433. It continues to be Illinois' fastest growing...

, the Chicago Motor Speedway
Chicago Motor Speedway
The Chicago Motor Speedway at Sportsman's Park located in Cicero, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, was built in 1999 by a group including Chip Ganassi, owner of Chip Ganassi Racing. In 2002 the oval shaped track suspended operations due to financial conditions in the motorsports industry. The...

 in Cicero
Cicero, Illinois
Cicero is an incorporated town in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The population was 83,891 at the 2010 census. Cicero is named for the town of Cicero, New York, which in turn was named for Marcus Tullius Cicero, the Roman statesman and orator....

 and the Gateway International Raceway
Gateway International Raceway
Gateway Motorsports Park is a race track in Madison, Illinois, USA, just east of St. Louis, Missouri. After being shuttered by former owner Dover Motorsports Inc., on Nov. 3, 2010, it was announced Sept. 8, 2011, that the facility would re-open and host an NHRA Full Throttle Series event Oct. 5-7,...

 in Madison
Madison, Illinois
Madison is a city in Madison County and partially in St. Clair County, Illinois, United States. The population was 4,545 at the 2000 census. It is home to Gateway International Raceway and the first Bulgarian Orthodox church in the United States.-Geography:...

, near St. Louis, have hosted NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

, CART
Champ Car
Champ Car was the name for a class and specification of open wheel cars used in American Championship Car Racing for many decades, primarily for use in the Indianapolis 500 auto race...

 and IRL races, whereas the Sports Car Club of America
Sports Car Club of America
The Sports Car Club of America is a club and sanctioning body supporting road racing, rallying, and autocross in the United States. Formed in 1944, it runs many programs for both amateur and professional racers.-History:...

, among other national and regional road racing
Road racing
Road racing is a general term for most forms of motor racing held on paved, purpose-built race tracks , as opposed to oval tracks and off-road racing...

 clubs, have visited the Autobahn Country Club
Autobahn Country Club
Autobahn Country Club is a road racing complex located near Joliet, Illinois. The facility includes a configurable main track with a north track, a south track, a full track of , and a kart track....

 in Joliet, the Blackhawk Farms Raceway
Blackhawk Farms Raceway
Blackhawk Farms is a private circuit racetrack located outside South Beloit, Illinois, on a farm on the border between Wisconsin and Illinois. Blackhawk Farms was established in 1967, about a decade after nearby Road America.-History:...

 in South Beloit
South Beloit, Illinois
South Beloit is a city located in Winnebago County, Illinois, United States. It is part of the Rockford, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area...

 and the former Meadowdale International Raceway
Meadowdale International Raceway
Meadowdale International Raceway was a race track located in Carpentersville, Illinois. It was used for motor racing from 1958 to 1968.-The track's first life:...

 in Carpentersville
Carpentersville, Illinois
Carpentersville is a village in Kane County, Illinois, United States. The population was 30,586 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Carpentersville is located at ....

. Illinois also has several short tracks
Short track motor racing
In North American auto racing, particularly with regard to NASCAR, a short track is a racetrack of less than one mile in length. Short track racing, often associated with fairgrounds and similar venues, is where stock car racing first got off the back roads and into organized and regulated...

 and dragstrip
Dragstrip
A dragstrip is a facility for conducting automobile and motorcycle acceleration events such as drag racing. Although a quarter mile is the best known measure for a drag track, many tracks are eighth mile tracks...

s. The dragstrip at Gateway International Raceway and the Route 66 Raceway
Route 66 Raceway
Route 66 Raceway is a motorsports facility located in Joliet, Illinois. The facility consists of a dragstrip and a dirt oval. The drag strip hosts several drag racing events including the NHRA. The dirt oval hosts many weekly dirt racing events...

, which sits on the same property as the Chicagoland Speedway, both host NHRA drag races.

Parks and recreation



The Illinois state parks
Illinois state parks
The Illinois state park 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....

' system began in 1908 with what is now Fort Massac
Fort Massac
Fort Massac is a colonial and early National-era fort on the Ohio River in Massac County, Illinois, United States.Legend has it that, as early as 1540, the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his soldiers constructed a primitive fortification here to defend themselves from native attack...

 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
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 include: the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor
Illinois and Michigan Canal
The Illinois and Michigan Canal ran from the Bridgeport neighborhood in Chicago on the Chicago River to LaSalle-Peru, Illinois, on the Illinois River. It was finished in 1848 when Chicago Mayor James Hutchinson Woodworth presided over its opening; and it allowed boat transportation from the Great...

 near Lockport
Lockport, Illinois
Lockport is a city in Will County, Illinois, United States, that incorporated in 1853. Lockport is located in northeastern Illinois, 30 miles southwest of Chicago, and north of Joliet, at locks connecting Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal with the Des Plaines River via the Lockport...

; the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is a route across the United States commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806. It is part of the National Trails System of the United States...

; the Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Lincoln Home National Historic Site preserves the Springfield, Illinois home where Abraham Lincoln lived from 1844 to 1861, before becoming the 16th President of the United States...

 in Springfield; the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
Mormon Trail
The Mormon Trail or Mormon Pioneer Trail is the 1,300 mile route that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traveled from 1846 to 1868...

; the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears is a name given to the forced relocation and movement of Native American nations from southeastern parts of the United States following the Indian Removal Act of 1830...

; and the American Discovery Trail
American Discovery Trail
The American Discovery Trail is a coast-to-coast hiking and biking trail across the mid-tier of the United States. It starts on the Delmarva Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and ends on the northern California coast on the Pacific Ocean, and is signed on over of trail. This includes the doubled...

.

In March 2011, Illinois ranked as a bottom-seven "Worst" state (tied with Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

) in the American State Litter Scorecard. The Land of Lincoln suffers from overall poor effectiveness and quality of its statewide public space cleanliness—due to state and related eradication standards and performance indicators.

Governance



While the organization of the central government of Illinois is largely the same as every other state (having three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial), below this top level, the substructure of Illinois' government is extremely complex, arguably the most complex of all fifty states.

State government structure


Legislative functions are granted to the Illinois General Assembly
Illinois General Assembly
The Illinois General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Illinois and comprises the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate. The General Assembly was created by the first state constitution adopted in 1818. Illinois has 59 legislative districts, with two...

, composed of the 118-member Illinois House of Representatives
Illinois House of Representatives
The Illinois House of Representatives is the lower house of the Illinois General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Illinois. The body was created by the first Illinois Constitution adopted in 1818. The state House of Representatives is made of 118 representatives elected from...

 and the 59-member Illinois Senate
Illinois Senate
The Illinois Senate is the upper chamber of the Illinois General Assembly, the legislative branch of the government of the state of Illinois in the United States. The body was created by the first state constitution adopted in 1818. The Illinois Senate is made up of 59 senators elected from...

. The executive branch is led by the Governor of Illinois
Governor of Illinois
The Governor of Illinois is the chief executive of the State of Illinois and the various agencies and departments over which the officer has jurisdiction, as prescribed in the state constitution. It is a directly elected position, votes being cast by popular suffrage of residents of the state....

, but four other executive officials are separately elected by the people. The judiciary is composed of the Supreme Court of Illinois
Supreme Court of Illinois
The Supreme Court of Illinois is the state supreme court of Illinois. The court's authority is granted in Article VI of the current Illinois Constitution, which provides for seven justices elected from the five appellate judicial districts of the state: Three justices from the First District and...

 and the lower appellate
Appellate court
An appellate court, commonly called an appeals court or court of appeals or appeal court , is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal...

 and circuit courts
Illinois Circuit Courts
The Illinois Circuit Courts are state courts of the U.S. state of Illinois. They are trial courts of original jurisdiction. There are 23 judicial circuits in the state, each comprising one or more of Illinois' 102 counties. Five circuits comprise solely of a single county - Cook, Will, DuPage,...

.

Illinois' uniquely complex local government structure


Illinois has more units of local government than any other state—over 8,000 in all. The basic subdivision of Illinois is like almost every other state, the county, and Illinois has 102 of these. About half of these counties, in turn, are divided into townships, which is much the same as many other Midwestern states. And finally, Illinois has a number of cities, villages, and towns commensurate with a state of its size. But the counties, townships, and municipal governments in Illinois make up only about 1/4 of all of the governmental units in the state. The reason Illinois has so many units of government is because so many single-purpose governmental entities have been created. The following is just a partial list of the types of single-purpose governmental units in Illinois.
  • Illinois has school districts which do not share boundaries with either counties nor townships. While this is not unique to Illinois, what would strike observers from many other states as odd, is that there are many places where a given piece of land sits within two school districts—one high school district, and another elementary district—each of which has its own school board and its own taxing authority.
  • Another common political unit is the library district. Library districts are run by library boards; such boards are elected bodies and have the power to levy taxes in their district. Library boards in some districts are elected at the general election, but in other districts may be held in conjunction with local elections, or even, as stand-alone elections. The boundaries of these library districts occasionally coincide with those of another governmental entity, such as a township, but more often, they are set independently.
  • Another unit of government with taxation authority is the sanitary district, a euphemism for "sewage district". (Many Illinoisians first learned of the existence of these entities when, in 1978, a sanitary district board member named Alex Seith captured the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate against the veteran senator Charles Percy and nearly upset him in the general election.) The largest of the sanitary districts in the state is the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
    Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
    The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago , originally known as the Sanitary District of Chicago is a special-purpose district, chartered to operate in northern Illinois since 1889...

     (né Sanitary District of Chicago), which oversaw the reversal of the course of the Chicago River
    Chicago River
    The Chicago River is a system of rivers and canals with a combined length of that runs through the city of the same name, including its center . Though not especially long, the river is notable for being the reason why Chicago became an important location, as the link between the Great Lakes and...

    .


There are additional units of government that oversee watershed
Watershed
-Hydrology and geomorphology:* Watershed: drainage divide - * Watershed: drainage basin - -Medical:* Watershed area , an area with overlapping blood supply...

s, land use, and many other functions that in another state would be handled by the county or city governments.

Homerule


The Constitution of 1970 created, for the first time in Illinois, a type of "home rule", which allows cities of certain sizes to opt out of certain types of state laws.

Law enforcement



The complexity and overlapping jurisdictions of Illinois' law enforcement agencies is not unlike that of the overlapping taxing authorities noted above. At the state level, there are at least eleven law enforcement agencies. At the county level, there are sheriffs
Sheriffs in the United States
In the United States, a sheriff is a county official and is typically the top law enforcement officer of a county. Historically, the sheriff was also commander of the militia in that county. Distinctive to law enforcement in the United States, sheriffs are usually elected. The political election of...

, forest preserve police and other specialized police forces. At the local level, most cities and many villages have municipal police forces, park district police forces, and even local specialized police forces. Many colleges also have their own campus police
Campus police
Campus Police or University police in the United States and Canada are often sworn police officers employed by a public school district, college or university to protect the campus and surrounding areas and the people who live on, work on and visit it....

 that are often sworn police officers.

In 2000, Illinois was ranked 4th in the U.S. in the number of full-time sworn officers with 321 per 100,000 persons, behind Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 (415), New York (384), and New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 (345). In this ranking, only New York had a higher total population than Illinois. Illinois is also near the top of most law enforcement numbers lists, such as number of agencies per state, number of agencies with special jurisdictions, and number of local police agencies. Even taking into account that Illinois is the fifth most populous state, many of the ratios are higher than more populated states. There is much overlap in jurisdiction amongst the different law enforcement agencies.

Politics




Party balance


Historically, Illinois was long a major swing state
Swing state
In United States presidential politics, a swing state is a state in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state's electoral college votes...

, with near-parity existing between the Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 and the Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 parties. However, in recent elections, the Democratic Party has slowly gained ground, and Illinois has come to be seen as more of a "blue" state. Chicago and most of Cook County votes have long been strongly Democratic. In addition, Democratic voters have moved to the traditionally Republican "collar counties
Collar counties
The collar counties are the five counties of Illinois that border on Chicago's Cook County. The collar counties are tied to Chicago economically, but, like many suburban areas in the United States, have very different political leanings than does the core city...

" (the suburbs surrounding Chicago's Cook County, Illinois
Cook County, Illinois
Cook County is a county in the U.S. state of Illinois, with its county seat in Chicago. It is the second most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County. The county has 5,194,675 residents, which is 40.5 percent of all Illinois residents. Cook County's population is larger than...

), which are becoming increasingly diverse.

Republicans continue to prevail in rural northern and central Illinois; Republican support is strong in southern Illinois outside of the East St. Louis
East St. Louis, Illinois
East St. Louis is a city located in St. Clair County, Illinois, USA, directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri in the Metro-East region of Southern Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 27,006, less than one-third of its peak of 82,366 in 1950...

 metropolitan area. Illinois has voted for Democratic presidential candidates in the last five elections. State resident Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 easily won the state's 21 electoral votes in 2008, by a margin of 25 percentage points with 61.9% of the vote. And though the Republicans' electoral performance in the 2010 mid-year elections marked some improvement, the trend in Illinois politics for the long term appears to be more blue than red.

History of corruption


Politics in the state, particularly those of the Chicago machine
Cook County Democratic Organization
The Cook County Democratic Organization is one of the most powerful political machines in American history. Historically called the "Chicago Democratic machine", or simply the "Chicago Machine", the organization has dominated Chicago politics since the 1930s...

, have been famous for highly visible corruption cases, as well as for crusading reformers, such as governors Adlai Stevenson (D) and James R. Thompson
James R. Thompson
James Robert Thompson, Jr. , also known as Big Jim Thompson, was the 37th and longest serving Governor of the US state of Illinois...

 (R). In 2006, former Governor George Ryan
George Ryan
George Homer Ryan, Sr. was the 39th Governor of the U.S. state of Illinois from 1999 until 2003. He is a member of the Republican Party. Ryan became nationally known when in 2000 he imposed a moratorium on executions and "raised the national debate on capital punishment"...

 (R) was convicted of racketeering and bribery. In 2008, then-Governor Rod Blagojevich
Rod Blagojevich
Rod R. Blagojevich is an American politician who served as the 40th Governor of Illinois from 2003 to 2009. A Democrat, Blagojevich was a State Representative before being elected to the United States House of Representatives representing parts of Chicago...

 (D) 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
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 (D) to the highest bidder. In the late 20th century, Congressman Dan Rostenkowski
Dan Rostenkowski
Daniel David "Dan" Rostenkowski was a United States Representative from Illinois, serving from 1959 to 1995. Raised in a blue-collar neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago, Rostenkowski rose to become one of the most powerful legislators in Washington. He was a member of the Democratic Party...

 (D) was imprisoned for mail fraud; former governor and federal judge Otto Kerner, Jr.
Otto Kerner, Jr.
Otto Kerner, Jr. was the 33rd Governor of Illinois from 1961 to 1968. He is best known for chairing the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders and for accepting bribes....

 (D) was imprisoned for bribery; and State Auditor of Public Accounts (Comptroller) Orville Hodge
Orville Hodge
Orville Enoch Hodge was the Auditor of Public Accounts of the state of Illinois from 1952 to 1956...

 (R) 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
Len Small
Lennington Small was the 26th Governor of Illinois, serving from 1921 to 1929. He also served as a member of the Illinois state senate from the 16th District from 1901 to 1903 and was Illinois state treasurer, 1905–07 and 1917-19.Small was born in Kankakee County, Illinois.Lennington Small was...

 (R) 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
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, but moved to Illinois at the age of 21; he served in the General Assembly
Illinois General Assembly
The Illinois General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Illinois and comprises the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate. The General Assembly was created by the first state constitution adopted in 1818. Illinois has 59 legislative districts, with two...

 and represented the 7th congressional district in the US House of Representatives before his election as President. Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 was born in Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 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
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 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
Law school
A law school is an institution specializing in legal education.- Law degrees :- Canada :...

.

Only one person elected President of the United States was actually born in Illinois. Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 was born in Tampico
Tampico, Illinois
Tampico is a village located in Tampico Township, Whiteside County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census the village had a total population of 790, up from 772 at the 2000 census. U.S. President Ronald Reagan was born there and lived there for two brief periods of his...

, raised in Dixon
Dixon, Illinois
Dixon is a city in Lee County, Illinois, United States. The population was 15,733 as of the 2010 census, down from 15,941 at the 2000 census. Named for its founder, John Dixon , it is the county seat of Lee County. Located on the Rock River, Dixon was the boyhood home of former U.S...

 and educated at Eureka College
Eureka College
Eureka College is a liberal arts college in Eureka, Illinois related by covenant to the Christian Church and founded in 1855. It has a strong focus on the mutual development of intellect and character. Stated core values are learning, service and leadership...

. Reagan moved to Los Angeles as a young adult and later became Governor of California
Governor of California
The Governor of California is the chief executive of the California state government, whose responsibilities include making annual State of the State addresses to the California State Legislature, submitting the budget, and ensuring that state laws are enforced...

 before being elected President.

Though never elected president, Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson, who was born and raised in central Illinois, was the Democratic nominee for president in 1952 and 1956.

Black senators


Since the adoption of the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 in 1789, only six African-Americans have served as members of the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

, and half of them represented Illinois: Carol Moseley-Braun
Carol Moseley Braun
Carol Elizabeth Moseley Braun is an American feminist politician and lawyer who represented Illinois in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1999. She was the first and to date only African-American woman elected to the United States Senate, the first woman to defeat an incumbent senator in an...

, Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, and Roland Burris
Roland Burris
Roland Wallace Burris is a former United States Senator from the state of Illinois and a member of the Democratic Party....

, who was appointed to replace Obama after his election to the presidency.

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
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

 in the state. Local municipalities and their respective school district
School district
School districts are a form of special-purpose district which serves to operate the local public primary and secondary schools.-United States:...

s operate individual public schools but the ISBE audits performance of public schools with the Illinois School Report Card
Illinois School Report Card
The Illinois School Report Card is a measurement of school performance administered by the Illinois State Board of Education. Each public school district in Illinois, including special charter districts, must submit to parents, taxpayers, the Governor, the General Assembly and the State Board of...

. 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
Middle school
Middle School and Junior High School are levels of schooling between elementary and high schools. Most school systems use one term or the other, not both. The terms are not interchangeable...

 or junior high school
Middle school
Middle School and Junior High School are levels of schooling between elementary and high schools. Most school systems use one term or the other, not both. The terms are not interchangeable...

 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
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an act of the United States Congress, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center, whose primary activities of research and writing have resulted in published reports on every level...

, there are eleven "National Universities" in the state. , 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
U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is an American news magazine published from Washington, D.C. Along with Time and Newsweek it was for many years a leading news weekly, focusing more than its counterparts on political, economic, health and education stories...

rankings: the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 (8), Northwestern University
Northwestern University
Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, USA. Northwestern has eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools offering 124 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees....

 (12), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a large public research-intensive university in the state of Illinois, United States. It is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system...

 (39), Illinois Institute of Technology
Illinois Institute of Technology
Illinois Institute of Technology, commonly called Illinois Tech or IIT, is a private Ph.D.-granting university located in Chicago, Illinois, with programs in engineering, science, psychology, architecture, business, communications, industrial technology, information technology, design, and law...

 (106), and Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University Chicago
Loyola University Chicago is a private Jesuit research university located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1870 under the title St...

 (119).

Illinois also has more than 20 additional accredited
Educational accreditation
Educational accreditation is a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of educational institutions or programs are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met...

 four-year universities, both public and private, and dozens of small liberal arts college
Liberal arts college
A liberal arts college is one with a primary emphasis on undergraduate study in the liberal arts and sciences.Students in the liberal arts generally major in a particular discipline while receiving exposure to a wide range of academic subjects, including sciences as well as the traditional...

s across the state. Additionally, Illinois supports 49 public community college
Community college
A community college is a type of educational institution. The term can have different meanings in different countries.-Australia:Community colleges carry on the tradition of adult education, which was established in Australia around mid 19th century when evening classes were held to help adults...

s in the Illinois Community College System
Illinois Community College System
The Illinois Community College System consists of 39 public community college districts, composed of 48 community colleges and one multi-college center where 3 of the community colleges offer additional classes...

.

Transportation



Because of its central location and its proximity to the Rust Belt
Rust Belt
The Rust Belt is a term that gained currency in the 1980s as the informal description of an area straddling the Midwestern and Northeastern United States, in which local economies traditionally garnered an increased manufacturing sector to add jobs and corporate profits...

 and Grain Belt, Illinois is a national crossroads for air, auto, rail and truck traffic.

Airports


From 1962 until 1998, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport
O'Hare International Airport
Chicago O'Hare International Airport , also known as O'Hare Airport, O'Hare Field, Chicago Airport, Chicago International Airport, or simply O'Hare, is a major airport located in the northwestern-most corner of Chicago, Illinois, United States, northwest of the Chicago Loop...

 (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
Airline hub
An airline hub is an airport that an airline uses as a transfer point to get passengers to their intended destination. It is part of a hub and spoke model, where travelers moving between airports not served by direct flights change planes en route to their destinations...

 for United Airlines
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

 and American Airlines
American Airlines
American Airlines, Inc. is the world's fourth-largest airline in passenger miles transported and operating revenues. American Airlines is a subsidiary of the AMR Corporation and is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas adjacent to its largest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport...

, 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
General aviation
General aviation is one of the two categories of civil aviation. It refers to all flights other than military and scheduled airline and regular cargo flights, both private and commercial. General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to large, non-scheduled cargo jet flights...

, 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
Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines Co. is an American low-cost airline based in Dallas, Texas. Southwest is the largest airline in the United States, based upon domestic passengers carried,...

, and services many other airlines as well. Midway served 17.3 million domestic and international passengers in 2008.

Rail


Illinois has an extensive passenger and freight rail transportation network. Chicago is a national Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 hub and in-state passengers are served by Amtrak's Illinois Service
Illinois Service
The Illinois Service, branded as Amtrak Illinois, is a United States passenger rail network that consists of five trains operated by Amtrak along three corridors to provide frequent daily service between Chicago and other cities in the U.S. state of Illinois, plus St. Louis, Missouri...

, featuring the Chicago to Carbondale Illini
Illini (Amtrak)
The Illini is a 310-mile passenger train operated by Amtrak that runs between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois. The train is a part of the Illinois Service rail network and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation and by local governments along the route...

 and Saluki
Saluki (Amtrak)
The Saluki is a 310-mile passenger train line operated by Amtrak running between Chicago and Carbondale, Illinois. The train is a part of the Illinois Service rail network and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation...

, the Chicago to Quincy Carl Sandburg
Carl Sandburg (Amtrak)
The Carl Sandburg is a 258-mile passenger train operated by Amtrak that runs between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois. This train began operation on October 30, 2006 and is an addition to the existing Illinois Service rail network created in 1971 and partially funded by the Illinois Department of...

 and Illinois Zephyr
Illinois Zephyr
The Illinois Zephyr is a 258-mile passenger train operated by Amtrak that runs between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois. The train is a part of the Illinois Service rail network and is partially funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation...

, 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 mi/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
Chicago Transit Authority
Chicago Transit Authority, also known as CTA, is the operator of mass transit within the City of Chicago, Illinois and some of its surrounding suburbs....

's 'L'
Chicago 'L'
The L is the rapid transit system serving the city of Chicago and some of its surrounding suburbs. It is operated by the Chicago Transit Authority...

 system. The largest suburban commuter rail system in the United States, operated by Metra
Metra
Metra is the commuter rail division of the Illinois Regional Transportation Authority. The system serves Chicago and its metropolitan area through 240 stations on 11 different rail lines. Throughout the 21st century, Metra has been the second busiest commuter rail system in the United States by...

, 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
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 and Illinois River
Illinois River
The Illinois River is a principal tributary of the Mississippi River, approximately long, in the State of Illinois. The river drains a large section of central Illinois, with a drainage basin of . This river was important among Native Americans and early French traders as the principal water route...

 provide major transportation routes for the state's agricultural interests. Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...

 gives Illinois access to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Saint Lawrence Seaway
Saint Lawrence Seaway
The Saint Lawrence Seaway , , is the common name for a system of locks, canals and channels that permits ocean-going vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the North American Great Lakes, as far as Lake Superior. Legally it extends from Montreal to Lake Erie, including the Welland Canal...

.

Interstate highway system


Illinois' central location and large population are the reasons that Illinois carries the distinction of having the most primary (2-digit) Interstates pass through it among the 50 states.

Major U.S. Interstate highways crossing the state include:
I-24
Interstate 24
Interstate 24 is an Interstate Highway in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States. It runs diagonally from Interstate 57 to Chattanooga, Tennessee, at Interstate 75....

, I-39
Interstate 39
Interstate 39 is a highway in the midwestern United States. I-39 runs from Normal, Illinois at Interstate 55 to Highway 29 in Rothschild, Wisconsin, approximately six miles south of Wausau. I-39 was designed to replace US Highway 51, which in the early 1980s was one of the busiest two-lane...

, I-55
Interstate 55
Interstate 55 is an Interstate Highway in the central United States. Its odd number indicates that it is a north–south Interstate Highway. I-55 goes from LaPlace, Louisiana at Interstate 10 to Chicago at U.S. Route 41 , at McCormick Place. A common nickname for the highway is "double...

, I-57
Interstate 57
Interstate 57 is an Interstate Highway in Missouri and Illinois that parallels the old Illinois Central rail line for much of its route. It goes from Miner, Missouri, at Interstate 55 to Chicago, Illinois, at Interstate 94. I-57 essentially serves as a shortcut route for travelers headed between...

, I-64
Interstate 64
Interstate 64 is an Interstate Highway in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States. Its western terminus is at I-70, U.S. 40, and U.S. 61 in Wentzville, Missouri. Its eastern terminus is at an interchange with I-264 and I-664 at Bowers Hill in Chesapeake, Virginia. As I-64 is concurrent with...

, I-70
Interstate 70
Interstate 70 is an Interstate Highway in the United States that runs from Interstate 15 near Cove Fort, Utah, to a Park and Ride near Baltimore, Maryland. It was the first Interstate Highway project in the United States. I-70 approximately traces the path of U.S. Route 40 east of the Rocky...

, I-72
Interstate 72
Interstate 72 is an Interstate Highway in the midwestern United States. Its western terminus is in Hannibal, Missouri, at an intersection with U.S. Route 61; its eastern terminus is at Country Fair Drive in Champaign, Illinois. In 2006, the Illinois General Assembly dedicated all of Interstate 72...

, I-74
Interstate 74
Interstate 74 is an Interstate Highway in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States. Its western end is at an intersection with Interstate 80 in Davenport, Iowa; the eastern end of its Midwest segment is at an intersection with Interstate 75 in Cincinnati, Ohio...

, I-80
Interstate 80
Interstate 80 is the second-longest Interstate Highway in the United States, following Interstate 90. It is a transcontinental artery running from downtown San Francisco, California to Teaneck, New Jersey in the New York City Metropolitan Area...

, I-88
Interstate 88 (west)
Interstate 88 is an intrastate Interstate Highway in the state of Illinois. It runs from an interchange with Interstate 80 near Silvis and Moline to an interchange with Interstates 290 and 294 in Hillside, near Chicago...

, I-90
Interstate 90
Interstate 90 is the longest Interstate Highway in the United States at . It is the northernmost coast-to-coast interstate, and parallels US 20 for the most part. Its western terminus is in Seattle, at Edgar Martinez Drive S. near Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field, and its eastern terminus is in...

, and I-94
Interstate 94
Interstate 94 is the northernmost east–west Interstate Highway, connecting the Great Lakes and Intermountain regions of the United States. I-94's western terminus is in Billings, Montana at a junction with Interstate 90; its eastern terminus is the U.S...

.

See also




External links