Illinois Geography, Population, Business and History

Illinois, abbreviated IL and Ill., Is a state of the United States. It is located in the Midwest, southwest of Lake Michigan, and borders north to Wisconsin, southeast to Indiana, south to Kentucky, and west to Missouri and Iowa.

Illinois has a land area of ​​149,997 km2 and, with 12,802,023 residents, is the sixth most populous state in the United States (US Census, 2017). Illinois was listed as the 21st state of the United States on December 3, 1818. The state is often called The Prairie State, the capital is Springfield, largest city is Chicago.

The name was given to the state of Illinois, a common term for a group of linguistically and culturally closely related indigenous peoples in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

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Geography and climate

Illinois is located almost entirely within the vast prairie area, and is a distinctly plains country. The state’s highest point, Charles Mound, 376 meters above sea level, is in the far north, near the Wisconsin border. The land slopes steadily to the south to a height of 85 meters. The bedrock consists of flat layers, covered by moors – and loose material. The waterways extend west to the Mississippi, forming the border with Iowa and Missouri; the largest river is the Illinois River. In the east, the rivers flow to Wabash, a bee to Ohio.

The climate is continental, with hot summers and, especially in the north, severe winters. The average temperature for January is in the north of approx. –6 °C, south 3 °C, July temperatures of 23 and 27 °C, respectively. Chicago has an average temperature of -4 °C in January, 24 °C in July. The annual rainfall varies between 800 mm and 1200 mm in the north and 1100 and 1600 mm in the south.


The great wave of European immigration began around 1840 and culminated in the time around the First World War. The influx of blacks from the southern states, especially to Chicago, increased during the interwar years, reaching a peak in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1990, they made up nearly 15 percent of the state’s residents and 40 percent of Chicago’s. Today, 61.3 percent of citizens are considered white (US Census, 2017), many of whom are of Italian, Polish and German descent. 14.6 percent are Black / African American and 17.3 percent Hispanic. About 1.4 percent of the population of Illinois has Norwegian ancestry.

Over 88.5 per cent of the population lives in urban areas. The largest city is Chicago with 2,716,450 residents (US Census, 2017). The metropolitan area of ​​Chicago-Naperville (metropolitan area) has 9,901,711 residents. Other major cities are Aurora (200,965), Joliet (148,462), Naperville (147,682), Rockford (147,051) and Springfield (114,868). Illinois has been a major national political state – a bastion for the Democratic Party – but has lost some of its strong position in recent years. Barack Obama was federal senator for Illinois when he was elected United States 44th president in 2008.

Illinois elects two senators and 18 representatives to Congress. The State Senate has 59 members, the House of Representatives 118 members.


Industry is the most important trade route by value, but agriculture still plays a major role. Agriculture occupies the 4 / 5 of the state’s total area, and Illinois is the largest US producer of soybeans and (along with Iowa) corn. Large quantities of wheat, oats, barley, rye and vegetables are also grown; In the far south, some cotton is grown. The northern part of Illinois belongs to the large dairy and cheese producing area, and meat production is also important. In the southwest, a considerable poultry farm is operated.

The state has large coal deposits, but the coal is consistently poor quality. Southern Illinois in particular has significant coal deposits, but since the late 1980s the coal industry has been in decline due to reduced demand for sulfur containing coal. The collapse of the coal industry had a profound impact on the region’s economy. However, with the introduction and use of scrubber technology, demand increased somewhat in the 2010 years.

Petroleum production reached its peak in 1940 and has subsequently declined, but is still significant. Furthermore, lead, zinc and most of the US fluorite are extracted. The industry is large and multi-faceted with the center of gravity in the Chicago area, where almost 2 / 3 of the population lives.

Chicago is America’s leading rail hub, and the city’s international airport, O’Hare International Airport, is also among the world’s busiest. By the way, Illinois is one of the United States’ largest manufacturers of machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, metals and metal products, chemicals and graphic products.


The first Europeans to come to Illinois were the French Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette in 1673. In 1680 Robert de LaSalle built a fort near the present Peoria, Fort Crevecoeur. In 1763, France relinquished the area to Britain, which was poorly managed so that the number of settlers declined.

In 1783, Illinois came to the United States and became part of the Northwest Territory. In 1809 it was organized as its own territory, and in 1818 Illinois was admitted as the 21st state of the Union. After the Black Hawk War in 1832, the indigenous people were displaced, and together with the construction of the first railways in the 1850s this stimulated a large-scale European colonization.

Illinois Population 2019

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