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Chicago SkylineChicago is the largest city in both Illinois and the Midwest, and the third most populous city in the United States, with over 2.8 million residents. Its metropolitan area, commonly named "Chicagoland," is the 26th most populous in the world, home to an estimated 9.7 million people spread across the U.S. states of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Chicago is primarily located within Cook County, with the exception of a small northwestern portion of the city at O'Hare International Airport that is located within DuPage County.

Chicago was founded in 1833, near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed. The Potawatomi were forcibly removed from their land following the Treaty of Chicago. The city became a major transportation and telecommunications hub in North America. Today, the city retains its status as a major hub, both for industry and infrastructure, with O'Hare International Airport being the second busiest airport in the world. In 2008, the city hosted 45.6 million domestic and overseas visitors.

In modern times, the city has taken on an additional dimension as a center for business and finance and is listed as one of the world's top ten Global Financial Centers. Chicago is a stronghold of the Democratic Party and has been home to many influential politicians, including the current President of the United States, Barack Obama. The World Cities Study Group at Loughborough University rated Chicago as an "alpha world city" due to Chicago's important role in the global economic system. In a 2010 survey collaboration between Foreign Policy and A.T Kearney ranking the world's top global cities, Chicago ranked 6th behind Paris and Hong Kong and above Los Angeles and Singapore. The ranking asseses five dimensions: value of capital markets, diversity of human capital, international information resources, international cultural resources, and political influence.

Globally recognized, Chicago has numerous nicknames, which reflect the impressions and opinions about historical and contemporary Chicago. The best known include: "Chi-town," "Windy City," "Second City," and the "City of Big Shoulders." Chicago has also been called "the most American of big cities."

Chicago Geography
Chicago is located in northeastern Illinois at the southwestern tip of Lake Michigan. It sits on a continental divide at the site of the Chicago Portage, connecting the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes watersheds. The city lies beside freshwater Lake Michigan, and two rivers—the Chicago River in downtown and the Calumet River in the industrial far South Side—flow entirely or partially through Chicago. The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal connects the Chicago River with the Des Plaines River, which runs to the west of the city. Chicago's history and economy are closely tied to its proximity to Lake Michigan. While the Chicago River historically handled much of the region's waterborne cargo, today's huge lake freighters use the city's Lake Calumet Harbor on the South Side. The lake also provides another positive effect, moderating Chicago's climate; making waterfront neighborhoods slightly warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

When Chicago was founded in 1833, most of the early building began around the mouth of the Chicago River, as can be seen on a map of the city's original 58 blocks. The overall grade of the city's central, built-up areas, is relatively consistent with the natural flatness of its overall natural geography, generally exhibiting only slight differentiation otherwise. The average land elevation is 579 ft above sea level. The lowest points are along the lake shore at 577 ft, while the highest point, at 735 ft, is a landfill located in the Hegewisch community area on the city's far south side.

Chicago Neighborhoods
Chicago, informally has four main sections: Downtown (which contains the Loop), the North Side, the South Side, and the West Side. These can further be informally subdived or grouped. In the late 1920s, sociologists at the University of Chicago subdivided the city into 77 distinct community areas.

Downtown is the center of Chicago's cultural, commercial and financial institutions, and home to Grant Park and many of the city's skyscrapers. Many of the city's financial institutions are located within a section of downtown called "The Loop," which is an eight block by five block square of city streets that are encircled by elevated rail tracks.

The North Side is the most densely populated residential section of the city and many high-rises are located on this side of the city along the lakefront. Lincoln Park is a 1,200-acre park stretching for 5.5 mi along the waterfront and is also home to the Lincoln Park Zoo. The River North neighborhood features the nation's largest concentration of contemporary art galleries outside of New York City. As a Polonia center, due to the city having a very large Polish population, Chicago celebrates every Labor Day weekend at the Taste of Polonia Festival in the Jefferson Park area.

The South Side is home to the University of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry. It also hosts one of the city's largest parades, the annual African American Bud Billiken Day parade. Parkland stretches along the waterfront of the South Side. Two of the city's largest parks are located here: Jackson Park, bordering the waterfront, hosted the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 and is home of the aforementioned museum. Slightly west sits Washington Park. The two parks themselves are connected by a separate strip of parkland called Midway Plaisance. Also, the U.S. automaker, Ford Motor Company, has an assembly plant located on the South Side.

The West Side holds the Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest collections of tropical plants of any U.S. city. Cultural attractions include Humboldt Park's Puerto Rican Day Parade, Institute of Puerto Rican Arts, and the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. The Near West Side holds the television production company of Harpo Studios.

Chicago Culture
The city's lakefront allure and nightlife has attracted residents and tourists alike. Over one-third of the city population is concentrated in the lakefront neighborhoods (from Rogers Park in the north to South Shore in the south). Two North Side neighborhoods in particular, Lakeview and the Andersonville area of the Edgewater neighborhood, are home to many LGBT businesses and organizations. The area surrounding the North Side intersections of Halsted, Belmont, and Clark is a gay district known as "Boystown." The city has many upscale dining establishments as well as many ethnic restaurant districts. These include the Mexican villages, such as Pilsen on 18th street and La Villita on 26th street, the Puerto Rican enclave Paseo Boricua in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, "Greektown" on South Halsted, "Little Italy" on Taylor Street, just west of Halsted, "Chinatown" on the near South Side, Polish fare reigns at Belmont-Central, "Little Seoul" on and around Lawrence Avenue, a cluster of Vietnamese restaurants on Argyle Street and South Asian (Indian/Pakistani) on Devon Avenue.

Chicago Economy
Chicago has the third largest gross metropolitan product in the United States—approximately $506 billion according to 2007 estimates. The city has also been rated as having the most balanced economy in the United States, due to its high level of diversification. Chicago was named the fourth most important business center in the world in the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index. Additionally, the Chicago metropolitan area recorded the greatest number of new or expanded corporate facilities in the United States for six out of the seven years from 2001 to 2008. The Chicago metropolitan area has the third largest science and engineering work force of any metropolitan area in the nation. In 2009, Chicago placed 9th on the UBS list of the world's richest cities. Chicago was the base of commercial operations for industrialists John Crerar, John Whitfield Bunn, Richard Teller Crane, Marshall Field, John Farwell, Morris Selz, and many other commercial visionaries who laid the foundation for Midwestern and global industry.

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

The city and its surrounding metropolitan area are home to the second largest labor pool in the United States with approximately 4.25 million workers.

Manufacturing, printing, publishing and food processing also play major roles in the city's economy. Several medical products and services companies are headquartered in the Chicago area, including Baxter International, Abbott Laboratories, and the Healthcare Financial Services division of General Electric. Moreover, the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which helped move goods from the Great Lakes south on the Mississippi River, and of the railroads in the 19th century made the city a major transportation center in the United States. In the 1840s, Chicago became a major grain port, and in the 1850s and 1860s Chicago's pork and beef industry expanded. As the major meat companies grew in Chicago many, such as Armour and Company, created global enterprises. Though the meatpacking industry currently plays a lesser role in the city's economy, Chicago continues to be a major transportation and distribution center.

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

Chicago is a major world convention destination. The city's main convention center is McCormick Place. With its four interconnected buildings, it is the largest convention center in the nation and third largest in the world. Chicago also ranks third in the U.S. (behind Las Vegas and Orlando) in number of conventions hosted annually. In addition, Chicago is home to eleven Fortune 500 companies, while the entire Chicago metropolitan area hosts 32 Fortune 500 companies.[78] The state of Illinois is home to 66 Fortune 1000 companies, including those in Chicago. The city of Chicago also hosts 12 Fortune Global 500 companies and 17 Financial Times 500 companies. The city claims one Dow 30 company: aerospace giant Boeing, which moved its headquarters from Seattle to the Chicago Loop in 2001. The Globalization and World Cities Research Network at Loughborough University in England classified Chicago as an "alpha world city" in a 2008 study.


Chicago IL Area Information

Chicago IL Community Characteristics and Facts
  • Total Crime Risk: 238.0 (100 = National Average)
  • Population: 2,887,897
  • Population Growth Since 2000: -0.28%
  • Annual Max Avg. Temperature: 59 F
  • Annual Min Avg. Temperature: 40 F
  • Male Median Age: 30.7 years
  • Female Median Age: 33.3 years
  • Median Household Income: $50,897
  • Highest Education Level Attained: High School 24%, Bachelors 17.68%, Grad School 11.39%

Community Demographics

Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Demographic Information FAQ

Chicago Crime Rate Indexes Graph

Chicago IL Crime Rate Indexes


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2010 Population Growth and Population Statistics Chicago, IL Illinois
Total Population 2,887,897 12,951,671
Square Miles 225.39 55,583.58
Population Density 12,813.10 233.00
Population Change Since 1990 3.75% 13.30%
Population Change Since 2000 -0.28% 4.29%
Forecasted Population Change by 2014 3.55% 2.83%
Population Male 1,417,647 49.09% 6,402,795 49.44%
Population Female 1,470,250 50.91% 6,548,876 50.56%
Median Age 32.00 34.80

Chicago IL Population Growth and Population Statistics


Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Demographic Information FAQ

2010 Weather Summary Chicago, IL Illinois
Weather Index 22 59
Annual Maximum Avg. Temperature 59.0 °F 61.0 °F
Annual Minimum Avg. Temperature 40.0 °F 42.0 °F
Annual Avg. Temperature 49.0 °F 51.1 °F
Annual Heating Degree Days (Tot Degrees < 65) 6,536 6,050
Annual Cooling Degree Days (Tot Degrees > 65) 752 1,011
Percent of Possible Sunshine 54 57
Mean Sky Cover (Sunrise to Sunset - Out of 10) 7 6
Mean Number of Days Clear (Out of 365 Days) 84 99
Mean Number of Days Rain (Out of 365 Days) 126 115
Mean Number of Days Snow (Out of 365 Days) 12 8
Avg. Annual Precipitation (Total Inches) 36.00" 36.00"
Avg. Annual Snowfall (Total Inches) 38.00" 27.00"

Chicago IL Weather, Forecast, Temperature and Precipitation


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Chicago Population by Age Graph

Chicago IL Population by Age


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Chicago Quality of Life Indexes Graph

Chicago IL Quality of Life Indexes


Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Demographic Information FAQ



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