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State of Illinois

ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: French derivative of Iliniwek, meaning "tribe of superior men," a Native American group formerly in the region.

NICKNAME: The Prairie State; Land of Lincoln (slogan).

CAPITAL: Springfield.

ENTERED UNION: 3 December 1818 (21st).

SONG: "Illinois."

MOTTO: State Sovereignty-National Union.

FLAG: The inner portion of the state seal and the word "Illinois" on a white field.

OFFICIAL SEAL: An American eagle perched on a boulder holds in its beak a banner bearing the state motto; below the eagle is a shield resting on an olive branch. Also depicted are the prairie, the sun rising over a distant eastern horizon, and on the boulder, the dates 1818 and 1868, the years of the seal's introduction and revision, respectively. The words "Seal of the State of Illinois Aug. 26th 1818" surround the whole.

BIRD: Cardinal.

FISH: Bluegill.

FLOWER: Native violet.

TREE: White oak.

LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Lincoln's Birthday, 12 February; George Washington's Birthday, 3rd Monday in February; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Election Day, 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November in even-numbered years; Veterans' Day, 11 November; Thanksgiving Day, 4th Thursday in November; Christmas Day, 25 December.

TIME: 6 AM CST = noon GMT.


Situated in the eastern north-central United States, Illinois ranks 24th in size among the 50 states. Its area totals 56,345 sq mi (145,934 sq km), of which land comprises 55,645 sq mi (144,120 sq km) and inland water 700 sq mi (1,814 sq km). Illinois extends 211 mi (340 km) e-w; its maximum n-s extension is 381 mi (613 km).

Illinois is bounded on the n by Wisconsin; on the e by Lake Michigan and Indiana (with the line in the se defined by the Wabash River); on the extreme se and s by Kentucky (with the line passing through the Ohio River); and on the w by Missouri and Iowa (with the entire boundary formed by the Mississippi River).

The state's boundaries total 1,297 mi (2,088 km). The geographic center of Illinois is in Logan County, 28 mi (45 km) ne of Springfield.


Illinois is flat. Lying wholly within the Central Plains, the state exhibits a natural topographic monotony relieved mainly by hills in the northwest (an extension of Wisconsin's Driftless Area) and throughout the southern third of the state, on the fringes of the Ozark Plateau. The highest natural point, Charles Mound, tucked into the far northwest corner, is only 1,235 ft (377 m) above sea levelfar lower than Chicago's towering skyscrapers. The low point, at the extreme southern tip along the Mississippi River, is 279 ft (85 m) above sea level. The mean elevation is about 600 ft (183 m).

Although some 2,000 rivers and streams totaling 9,000 mi (14,500 km) crisscross the land, pioneers in central Illinois confronted very poor drainage. The installation of elaborate and expensive networks of ditches and tiled drains was necessary before commercial agriculture became feasible. Most of the 2,000 lakes of 6 acres (2.4 hectares) or more were created by dams. The most important rivers are the Wabash and the Ohio, forming the southeastern and southern border; the Mississippi, forming the western border; and the Illinois, flowing northeast-southwest across the central region and meeting the Mississippi at Grafton, just northwest of the junction between the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. The artificial Lake Carlyle (41 sq mi/106 sq km) is the largest body of inland water. Illinois also has jurisdiction over 1,526 sq mi (3,952 sq km) of Lake Michigan.


Illinois has a temperate climate, with cold, snowy winters and hot, wet summersideal weather for corn and hogs. The seasons are sharply differentiated: Mean winter temperatures are 22°f (6°c) in the north and 37°f (3°c) in the south; mean summer temperatures are 70°f (21°c) in the north and 77°f (25°c) in the south. The record high, 117°f (47°c), was set at East St. Louis on 14 July 1954; the record low, 36°f (37.8°c), was registered at Congerville on 5 January 1999.

The average farm sees rain one day in three, for a total of 36 in (91 cm) of precipitation a year. An annual snowfall of 37 in (94 cm) is normal for northern Illinois, decreasing to 24 in (61 cm) or less in the central and southern regions. Chicago's record 90 in (229 cm) of snow in the winter of 197879 created monumental transportation problems, enormous personal hardship, and even a small political upheaval when incumbent Mayor Michael Bilandic lost a primary election to Jane Byrne in February 1979, partly because of his administration's slowness in snow removal.

Chicago is nicknamed the "Windy City" because in the 1800s, New York journalists labeled Chicagoans "the windy citizenry out west" and called some Chicago leaders "loudmouth and windy"not because of fierce winds. In fact, the average wind speed, 10.4 mph (16.7 km/h), is lower than that of Boston, Honolulu, Cleveland, and 16 other major US cities. The flat plains of Illinois are favorable to tornado activity.


Urbanization and commercial development have taken their toll on the plant and animal resources of Illinois. Northern and central Illinois once supported typical prairie flora, but nearly all the land has been given over to crops, roads, and suburban lawns. About 90% of the oak and hickory forests that once were common in the north have been cut down for fuel and lumber. In the forests that do remain, mostly in the south, typical trees are black oak, sugar maple, box elder, slippery elm, beech, shagbark hickory, white ash, sycamore, black walnut, sweet gum, cottonwood, black willow, and jack pine. Characteristic wildflowers are the Chase aster, French's shooting star, lupine, primrose violet, purple trillium, small fringed gentian, and yellow fringed orchid.

Before 1800, wildlife was abundant on the prairies, but the bison, elk, bear, and wolves that once roamed freely have long since vanished. The white-tailed deer (the state animal) disappeared in 1910 but was successfully reintroduced in 1933 by the Department of Conservation. Among the state's fur-bearing mammals are opossum, raccoon, mink, red and gray foxes, and muskrat. More than 350 birds have been identified, with such game birds as ruffed grouse, wild turkey, and bobwhite quail especially prized. Other indigenous birds are the cardinal (the state bird), horned lark, blue jay, purple martin, black-capped chickadee, tufted titmouse, bluebird, cedar waxwing, great crested flycatcher, and yellow-shafted flicker. Mallard and black ducks are common, and several subspecies of Canada goose are also found. The state claims 17 types of native turtle, 46 kinds of snake, 19 varieties of salamander, and 21 types of frog and toad. Heavy industrial and sewage pollution have eliminated most native fish, except for the durable carp and catfish. Coho salmon were introduced into Lake Michigan in the 1960s, thus reviving sport fishing.

The Cache River-Cypress Creek Wetlands area in southern Illinois is home to 138 species of trees and shrubs, 11 species of ferns, 87 types of fish, 25 species of snail, 19 mussels, 181 bird species, 47 different mammals, and 54 reptile and amphibian species. Swamp woodlands host the oldest living stand of trees east of the Mississippi. The water locust and green hawthorn found here are considered to be the largest trees of their species in the United States. Seventy-nine of the plant and animal species found on the state list of threatened or endangered species can be found in the wetland. The area also serves as a winter habitat for over 260,000 migratory birds each year.

In 1973, the state Department of Conservation established an endangered and threatened species protection program. In April 2006, a total of 25 species occurring within the state were on the threatened and endangered species list of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. These included 16 animal (vertebrates and invertebrates) and 9 plant species. Included among the threatened animals are the bald eagle and gray wolf. Endangered species include the piping plover, pallid sturgeon, Hine's emerald dragonfly, Higgins' eye pearly mussel, and the least tern. The leafy prairie-clover was listed; small-whorled pogonia, lakeside daisy, prairie bush-clover, and eastern prairie fringed orchid are among the other threatened plant species.


The history of conservation efforts in Illinois can be categorized into three stages. From 1850 to the 1930s, city and state parks were established and the beauty of Chicago's lakefront was successfully preserved. During the next stage, in the 1930s, federal intervention through the Civilian Conservation Corps and other agencies focused on upgrading park facilities and, most important, on reversing the severe erosion of soils, particularly in the hilly southern areas. Soil conservation laws took effect in 1937, and within a year the first soil conservation district was formed. By 1970, 98 districts, covering 44% of the state's farmland, promoted conservation cropping systems, contour plowing, and drainage.

The third stage of environmentalism began in the late 1960s, when Attorney General William J. Scott assumed the leadership of an antipollution campaign; he won suits against steel mills, sanitary districts, and utility companies and secured the passage of clean air and water legislation. The Illinois Environmental Protection Act of 1970 created the Pollution Control Board to set standards and conduct enforcement proceedings, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a comprehensive program for protecting environmental quality. In 1980, the Department of Nuclear Safety was established. The federal EPA has also helped upgrade water and air quality in Illinois.

The years since the enactment of specific environmental laws and regulations have seen a noticeable improvement in environmental quality. Dirty air has become less prevalent. The Illinois EPA maintains more than 200 air-monitoring stations to measure different types of pollutants. Many of these stations are in the Chicago area. The agency also conducts about 2,500 facility inspections each year to verify compliance with air regulations. Because Illinois formerly produced about 6 million tons of hazardous wastes annually, the state agency tried to pinpoint and clean up abandoned hazardous waste sites. In 1984, Illinois began a three-year, $20 million program to eliminate the 22 worst sites and to evaluate nearly 1,000 other potential hazardous waste sites. Thanks to that program, over 60 sites were cleaned up by the mid-1990s. Progress has been made toward the voluntary cleanup of contaminated sites. In 1997, the Illinois General Assembly enacted a law developing a state underground storage tank program, and since May of that year over 14,800 releases from underground storage tanks have been reported, 5,800 of which have completed remediation under the new initiative. In 2003, the US EPA database listed 455 hazardous waste sites in Illinois, 41 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006, including 4 military sites. Illinois ranks seventh in the nation for the most sites on the National Priorities List. In 2005, the EPA spent over $4 million through the Superfund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. Also in 2005, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $50.7 million for wastewater treatment work projects and $31.9 million to assist public water systems in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. In 2003, 132.4 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state.

About 3.5% of the state is wetland, most of which is governed under the state-imposed Interagency Wetland Policy Act of 1989. The Cache River-Cypress Creek Wetlands area in southern Illinois was designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 1994. The site consists of several separate conservation areas that are jointly management through the US Fish and Wild-life Service, Ducks Unlimited, the Nature Conservancy, and the Illinois Department of Conservation.

IllinoisCounties, County Seats, and County Areas and Populations
Adams Quincy 852 67,040 Livingston Pontiac 1,046 39,186
Alexander Cairo 236 8,927 Logan Lincoln 619 30,603
Bond Greenville 377 18,027 Macon Decatur 581 110,167
Boone Belvidere 282 50,483 Macoupin Carlinville 865 49,111
Brown Mt. Sterling 306 6,835 Madison Edwardsville 728 264,309
Bureau Princeton 869 35,330 Marion Salem 573 40,144
Calhoun Hardin 250 5,163 Marshall Lacon 388 13,217
Carroll Mt. Carroll 444 16,086 Mason Havana 536 15,741
Cass Virginia 374 13,898 Massac Metropolis 241 15,348
Champaign Urbana 998 184,905 McDonough Macomb 590 31,966
Christian Taylorville 710 35,176 McHenry Woodstock 606 303,990
Clark Marshall 506 16,976 McLean Bloomington 1,185 159,013
Clay Louisville 469 14,122 Menard Petersburg 315 12,738
Clinton Carlyle 472 36,095 Mercer Aledo 559 16,912
Coles Charleston 509 51,065 Monroe Waterloo 388 31,040
Cook Chicago 958 5,303,683 Montgomery Hillsboro 705 30,396
Crawford Robinson 446 19,898 Morgan Jacksonville 568 35,722
Cumberland Toledo 346 10,973 Moultrie Sullivan 325 14,510
DeKalb Sycamore 634 97,665 Ogle Oregon 759 54,290
De Witt Clinton 397 16,617 Peoria Peoria 621 182,328
Douglas Tuscola 417 19,950 Perry Pinckneyville 443 22,815
DuPage Wheaton 337 929,113 Piatt Monticello 439 16,680
Edgar Paris 623 19,157 Pike Pittsfield 830 17,099
Edwards Albion 223 6,784 Pope Golconda 374 4,211
Effingham Effingham 478 34,581 Pulaski Mound City 203 6,794
Fayette Vandalia 709 21,713 Putnam Hennepin 160 6,094
Ford Paxton 486 14,157 Randolph Chester 583 33,122
Franklin Benton 414 39,723 Richland Olney 360 15,798
Fulton Lewistown 871 37,708 Rock Island Rock Island 423 147,808
Gallatin Shawneetown 325 6,152 Saline Harrisburg 385 26,072
Greene Carrollton 543 14,581 Sangamon Springfield 866 192,789
Grundy Morris 423 43,838 Schuyler Rushville 436 7,073
Hamilton McLeansboro 436 8,301 Scott Winchester 251 5,412
Hancock Carthage 796 19,153 Shelby Shelbyville 747 22,322
Hardin Elizabethtown 181 4,718 Stark Toulon 288 6,169
Henderson Oquawka 373 7,972 St. Clair Belleville 672 260,067
Henry Cambridge 824 50,591 Stephenson Freeport 564 47,965
Iroquois Watseka 1,118 30,677 Tazewell Pekin 650 129,999
Jackson Murphysboro 590 57,954 Union Jonesboro 414 18,202
Jasper Newton 496 10,020 Vermilion Danville 900 82,344
Jefferson Mt. Vernon 570 40,434 Wabash Mt. Carmel 224 12,570
Jersey Jerseyville 373 22,456 Warren Monmouth 543 17,558
Jo Daviess Galena 603 22,580 Washington Nashville 563 14,922
Johnson Vienna 346 13,169 Wayne Fairfield 715 16,796
Kane Geneva 524 482,113 White Carmi 497 15,284
Kankakee Kankakee 679 107,972 Whiteside Morrison 682 59,863
Kendall Yorkville 322 79,514 Will Joliet 844 642,813
Knox Galesburg 720 53,309 Williamson Marion 427 63,617
Lake Waukegan 454 702,682 Winnebago Rockford 516 288,695
LaSalle Ottawa 1,139 112,604 Woodford Eureka 527 37,448
Lawrence Lawrenceville 374 15,930 totals 55,651 12,763,371
Lee Dixon 725 35,669


Illinois ranked fifth in population in the United States with an estimated total of 12,763,371 in 2005, an increase of 2.8% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Illinois's population grew from 11,430,602 to 12,419,293, an increase of 8.6%. The population is projected to reach 13 million by 2015 and 13.3 million by 2025. Illinois ceded its third-place ranking to California by 1950 and fourth place to Texas during the 1960s. In 2004, population density was 228.8 per sq mi.

The population of Illinois was only 12,282 in 1810. Ten years later, the new state had 55,211 residents. The most rapid period of growth came in the mid-19th century, when heavy immigration made Illinois one of the fastest-growing areas in the world. Between 1820 and 1860, the state's population doubled every 10 years. The rate of increase slowed somewhat after 1900, especially during the 1930s, although the population more than doubled between 1900 and 1960. Population growth was very slow in the 1970s, about 0.3% a year; the rate of growth from 1980 to 1990 was a tiny 0.04%. However, a rebound occurred in the 1990s. The age distribution of the state's population in 2004 closely mirrored the national pattern, with 25.5% under age 18 and 12% aged 65 or older. The median age in 2004 was 35.4.

The rapid rise of Chicago as a metropolitan area meant that a large proportion of the state's population was concentrated in cities from a relatively early date. Thus, by 1895, 50% of Illinoisans lived in urban areas, whereas the entire country reached that point only in 1920. By 1990, 83% of the population lived in metropolitan areas, compared with 75.2% nationally. With an estimated population of 9,391,515 in 2004, Greater Chicago was the third-largest metropolitan area in the nation. The state's other major metropolitan areas, with their estimated 2004 populations, were Peoria, 367,860, and Rockford, 335,278. The largest city in 2004 was Chicago, with an estimated 2,862,244 residents, followed by Aurora, 166,614; Rockford, 152,452; Naperville, 140,106; Joliet, 129,519; Peoria, 112,720; and Springfield, 114,738.


The American Indian population of Illinois disappeared by 1832 as a result of warfare and emigration. By 2000, however, Indian migration from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and elsewhere brought the Native American population to 31,006, concentrated in Chicago. In 2004, 0.3% of the population was American Indian.

French settlers brought in black slaves from the Caribbean in the mid-18th century; in 1752, one-third of the small non-Indian population was black. Slavery was slowly abolished in the early 19th century. For decades, however, few blacks entered the state, except to flee slavery in neighboring Kentucky and Missouri. Freed slaves did come to Illinois during the Civil War, concentrating in the state's southern tip and in Chicago. By 1900, 109,000 blacks lived in Illinois. Most held menial jobs in the cities or eked out a precarious existence on small farms in the far south. Large-scale black migration, mainly to Chicago, began during World War I. By 1940, Illinois had a black population of 387,000; extensive wartime and postwar migration brought the total in 2000 to 1,876,875, of whom more than half lived within the city of Chicago, which was close to 40% black. Smaller numbers of black Illinoisans lived in Peoria, Rockford, and certain Chicago suburbs. In 2004, 15.1% of the state's population was black.

The Hispanic population did not become significant until the 1960s. In 2000, the number Hispanics and Latinos was 1,530,262, living chiefly in Chicago. There were 1,144,390 persons of Mexican origin (up from 557,536 in 1990), 157,851 Puerto Ricans, and 18,438 Cubans; most of the remainder came from other Caribbean and Latin American countries. The Hispanic or Latino population represented 12.3% of the total state population. That figure had risen to 14% by 2004.

In 2000, there were 76,725 Chinese in Illinois, 20,379 Japanese, 86,298 Filipinos, 51,453 Koreans, and 19,101 Vietnamese (up from 8,550 in 1990). The total Asian population was estimated at 423,603, placing Illinois sixth among the 50 states in number of Asian residents. Pacific Islanders numbered 4,610. In 2004, 4% of the population was Asian, and 0.1% was of Pacific Island origin. In 2004, 1.1% of the population reported origin of two or more races.

Members of non-British European ethnic groups are prevalent in all the state's major cities and in many farming areas. In 2000, 1,529,058 persons were foreign born (12.3% of the total population), including 389,928 Europeans, 359,812 Asians, 731,397 from Latin American countries, 26,158 Africans, and 2,553 from Oceanic countries. The most common ancestries of Illinois residents are German, Irish, Polish, English, and Italian.

There are also significant numbers of Scandinavians, Irish, Lithuanians, Serbs, Eastern European Jews, Ukrainians, Slovaks, Hungarians, Czechs, Greeks, and Dutch. Except for the widely dispersed Germans, most of these ethnic groups live in and around Chicago.

Most ethnic groups in Illinois maintain their own newspapers, clubs, festivals, and houses of worship. These reminders of their cultural heritage are now largely symbolic for the European ethnics, who have become highly assimilated into a "melting pot" society. Such was not always the case, however. In 1889, the legislature attempted to curtail foreign-language schools, causing a sharp political reaction among German Lutherans, German Catholics, and some Scandinavians. The upshot was the election of a German-born Democrat, John Peter Altgeld, as governor in 1892. During World War I, anti-German sentiment was intense in the state despite the manifest American loyalty of the large German element, then about 25% of the state's population. The Germans responded by rapidly abandoning the use of their language and dissolving most of their newspapers and clubs. At about the same time, the US government, educators, social workers, and business firms sponsored extensive "Americanization" programs directed at the large numbers of recent arrivals from Poland, Italy, and elsewhere. The public schools especially played a major role in the assimilation process, as did the Catholic parochial schools, which sought to protect the immigrants' religious, but not their ethnic, identities.


A number of place-namesIllinois itself, Chicago, Peoria, Kankakee, and Ottawaattest to the early presence of various Algonkian-speaking tribes, such as the Kickapoo, Sauk, and Fox, and particularly those of the Illinois Federation, the remnants of which moved west of the Mississippi River after the Black Hawk War of 1832.

Nineteenth-century western migration patterns determined the rather complex distribution of regional language features. Excepting the Chicago metropolitan area and the extreme northwestern corner of Illinois, the northern quarter of the state is dominated by Northern speech. An even greater frequency of Northern features appears in the northeastern quadrant; in this region, speakers get sick to the stomach, catch cold (take cold), use dove as the past tense of dive, pronounce hog, fog, frog, crop, and college with the vowel /ah/, and sound a clear /h/ in whine, wheel, and wheat.

Settlement from Pennsylvania and Ohio led to a mix of Northern and North Midland speech in central Illinois, with such dominating Northern features as white bread, pail, greasy with an /s/ sound, and creek rhyming with stick. Here appear Midland fish-worm (earthworm), firebug (firefly), wait on (wait for), dived as the past tense of dive, quarter til four (3:45), and sick at one's stomach (but sick on the stomach in German communities near East St. Louis).

Migration from South Midland areas in Indiana and Kentucky affected basic speech in the southern third of Illinois, known as Egypt. Here especially occur South Midland and Southern pully-bone (wishbone), dog irons (andirons), light bread (white bread), and in extreme southern countries, loaf bread, snakedoctor (drag-onfly), redworm (earthworm), ground squirrel (chipmunk), plum peach (clingstone peach), to have a crow to pick (to have a bone to pick) with someone, and the pronunciations of coop with the vowel of put and of greasy with a /z/ sound. Such speech is found also in the northwestern corner around Galena, where Kentucky miners who came to work in the lead mines brought such pronunciations as bulge with the vowel of put, soot with the vowel of but, and /yelk/ for yolk.

Metropolitan Chicago has experienced such complex in-migration that, although it still has a basic Northern/Midland mix, elements of almost all varieties of English appear somewhere. The influx since World War II of speakers of black English, a Southern dialect, and of nonstandard Appalachian English has aggravated language problems in the schools. Foreign-language schools were common in the 1880s and 1890s, but by 1920, all instruction was in English. The policy of monolingual education came into question in the 1970s, when the state legislature mandated bilingual classes for immigrant children, especially Spanish speakers.

In Chicago, rough-and-tumble politics have created a new meaning for clout; prairie means a vacant lot, porch includes the meaning of stoop, and cornbread has been generalized to include the meanings of corn pone and hush puppies. A fuel and food stop on the Illinois tollway system is an oasis.

In 2000, English was spoken at home by 80.8% of all state residents five years of age and older, down from 85.8% in 1990.

The following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Census for language spoken at home by persons five years old and over. The category "Other Indo-European languages" includes Albanian, Gaelic, Lithuanian, and Rumanian. The category "Other Slavic languages" includes Czech, Slovak, and Ukrainian. The category "Other Asian languages" includes Dravidian languages, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, and Turkish. The category "Other Indic languages" includes Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, and Romany.

Population 5 years and over 11,547,505 100.0
  Speak only English 9,326,786 80.8
  Speak a language other than English 2,220,719 19.2
Speak a language other than English 2,220,719 19.2
  Spanish or Spanish Creole 1,253,676 10.9
  Polish 185,749 1.6
  Chinese 65,251 0.6
  German 63,366 0.5
  Tagalog 63,366 0.5
  Italian 51,975 0.5
  Korean 43,712 0.4
  French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 40,812 0.4
  Greek 40,581 0.4
  Russian 38,053 0.3
  Arabic 35,397 0.3
  Other Indo-European languages 32,806 0.3
  Urdu 32,420 0.3
  Serbo-Croatian 29,631 0.3
  Gujarathi 28,725 0.2
  Other Slavic languages 27,772 0.2
  Other Asian languages 26,745 0.2
  Hindi 18,734 0.2
  Other Indic languages 17,632 0.2
  Vietnamese 16,487 0.1
  Other and unspecified languages 15,885 0.1
  Japanese 15,481 0.1
  African languages 15,379 0.1


Before 1830, little religion of any sort was practiced on the Illinois frontier. Energetic Protestant missionaries set out to evangelize this un-Christian population, and they largely succeeded. By 1890, 36% of the adults in Illinois were affiliated with evangelical denominationschiefly Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Baptist, Congregationalist, and Presbyterianwhile 35%, mostly immigrants, belonged to liturgical denominations (chiefly Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Episcopal). The remaining adults acknowledged no particular denomination.

Illinois has had episodes of religious bigotry: At Carthage in 1844, the Mormon founder Joseph Smith was killed by a mob, and strong but brief waves of anti-Catholicism developed in the 1850s (the "Know-Nothing" movement) and 1920s (the Ku Klux Klan). Robert Green Ingersoll, a self-proclaimed agnostic, was appointed attorney general of Illinois in 186769, but his identity as an agnostic prevented him from ever being elected into politics. Nevertheless, tolerance of religious diversity has been the norm for most of the state's history.

Beginning about 1830, a group of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) moved into Nauvoo and formed a fairly strong religious community there. By 1846, persecution from citizens of neighboring cities inspired the massive migration to Utah over the Mormon Trail. Because many of the Saints passed through the territory on their way to Utah, the group continued to maintain some missionary presence in the state. In 1962, the church began restoration projects of historical sites at Nauvoo. An annual pageant is held in Nauvoo and a rebuilt Nauvoo temple was dedicated in 2002. There is also a temple in Chicago (est. 1985). As of 2006, the church reported a statewide membership of 52,500.

The largest religious institution is the Roman Catholic Church, which had 3,948,768 adherents in 2004; about 2,442,000 members belonged to the archdiocese of Chicago in that year. The largest Protestant denomination is the United Methodist Church, with 365,182 adherents (in 2000), followed by the Southern Baptist Convention with 305,838 adherents (2000). The Southern Baptist Convention reported 6,522 newly baptized members in the state in 2002. Other major Protestant groups (with 2000 data) include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 279,724 adherents and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod with 278,008 adherents. In 2005, the United Church of Christ reported a statewide membership of about 121,371. The Jewish population was estimated at 270,000 in 2000 and the Muslim community had about 125,203 adherents. There are over 11,000 Mennonites throughout the state. About 44.7% of the population did not specify a religious affiliation.

The Moody Bible Institute in Chicago is a nondenominational, conservative Christian seminary that also sponsors well-known publishing and broadcasting services. In 2006, it was listed among America's best colleges by U.S. News & World Report. The American Conference of Cantors, a Jewish organization, and the International Conference of Christians and Jews are based in Chicago. AMF International (formerly known as the American Messianic Fellowship) was founded in Chicago in 1887 and maintains headquarters in Lansing, Illinois. Awana Clubs International, a Christian organization of children and youth clubs, was also founded in Chicago and currently has its international headquarters in Streamwood. The Evangelical Church Alliance International is based in Bradley. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States is located in Evanston.


The fact that Illinois is intersected by several long-distance transportation routes has been of central importance in the state's economic development for a century and a half. Eastern access by way of the major rivers and the Great Lakes system facilitated extensive migration to Illinois even before the coming of the railroads in the 1850s. Most of the nation's rail lines converge on Illinois, and Chicago and St. Louis (especially East St. Louis) have been the two main US railroad centers since the late 19th century. Interstate highways, notably the main east-west routes, also cross the state, and Chicago's central location in the United States has made it a major transfer point for airline connections.

After several false starts in the 1830s and 1840s, the state's railroad system was begun in the 1850s. The Illinois Central was aided by the first land grant (state sponsored), which opened up downstate lands in the years before the Civil War. By 1890, about 10,000 mi (16,000 km) of track crisscrossed the state, placing 90% of all Illinois farms no more than 5 mi (8 km) from a rail line. The railroads stimulated not only farming but also coal mining, and in the process created tens of thousands of jobs in track and bridge construction, maintenance, traffic operations, and the manufacture of cars, rails, and other railroad equipment.

However, the rise of automobile and truck traffic (starting in the 1920s and 1930s) and later competition from airlines dealt the railroads a serious blow. In the 1970s, their unprofitable passenger business (except for important commuter lines around Chicago that were taken over by public agencies) was shed, while the railroads concentrated on long-distance freight traffic. The bankruptcy of the Penn Central, Rock Island, and Milwaukee Road systems during the 1970s also impelled some companies, notably the Illinois Central Gulf and the Chicago and North Western, to shift their attention to real estate and manufacturing. Abandoned railroad tracks and right-of-ways reverted to the private sector in the 1990s or were developed into public bicycle trails, walking paths, and greenways to take advantage of the scenic beauty of the state. As of 2003, there were 39 railroad companies in Illinois operating 9,757 route mi (15,708 km) of track within the state. Of that total in that year, seven were deemed Class I railroads. As of 2006, Chicago was the hub of Amtrak's passenger service, which operated 12 named trains, connecting a total of 14 cities in Illinois.

Mass transit is of special importance to Chicago, where subways, buses, and commuter railroads are essential to daily movement. The transit systems were built privately but eventually were acquired by the city and regional transportation authorities. Ridership declines every year, as fewer people work in the central city and as more people choose the privacy and convenience of travel by automobile. Federal aid to mass transit, beginning in 1964, and state aid, initiated in 1971, have only partly stemmed the decline. Outside Chicago, transit service is available in some of the older, larger cities.

The road system of Illinois was inadequate until the 1920s, when an elaborate program to build local and trunk highways first received heavy state aid. In 2004, there were 138,624 mi (223,184 km) of public roadway serving some 9.417 million registered vehicles, including around 5.580 million automobiles and 3.547 million trucks of all types, operated by 8,057,683 licensed drivers. The main east-west routes are I-90, I-88, I-80, I-74, I-72, I-70, and I-64. I-94 links Chicago with Milwaukee to the north and Indiana to the east, while I-57 and I-55 connect Chicago with the south and southwest (St. Louis), respectively.

Barge traffic along the Mississippi, Ohio, and Illinois rivers remains important, especially for the shipment of grain. The port of Chicago no longer harbors the sailing ships that brought lumber, merchandise, and people to a fast-growing city. However, the port is still the largest on the Great Lakes, handling 24.602 million tons of cargo in 2004, mostly grain and iron ore, and the 35th busiest port in the United States. For that same year, Illinois had 1,095 mi (1,762 km) of navigable inland waterways. In 2003, waterborne shipments totaled 113.314 million tons.

Midway International Airport in Chicago became the world's busiest after World War II but was superseded by O'Hare International Airport, which opened in the late 1950s. O'Hare lost its title as busiest airport in the world in March 2000 when it was superseded by Atlanta's Hartsfield International. In 2005, Illinois had a total of 860 public and private-use aviation-related facilities. This included 586 airports, 265 heliports, two STOLports (Short Take-Off and Landing), and seven seaplane bases. O'Hare International Airport had 36,100,147 enplanements in 2004, making it the second-busiest airport in the United States. In that same year, Chicago Midway International had 9,238,592 enplanements, making it the 26th-busiest airport in the United States.


Different tribes of Paleo-Indians lived in Illinois as long ago as 8000 bc. By 2000 bc, the cultivation of plants and use of ceramics were known to village dwellers; the first pottery appeared during the Woodland phase, a millennium later. Between 500 bc and ad 500, skilled Hopewellian craftsmen practiced a limited agriculture, developed an elaborate social structure, and constructed burial mounds. Huge mounds, which still exist, were built along the major rivers by the Middle Mississippian culture, about ad 900.

It is not known why the early native civilizations died out, but by the time white explorers arrived in the 17th century, the state was inhabited by seminomadic Algonkian-speaking tribes. The Kickapoo, Sauk, and Fox lived in the north, while the shores of Lake Michigan were populated by the Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwa. The Kaskaskia, Illinois (Iliniwek), and Peoria tribes roamed across the central prairies, and the Cahokia and Tamoroa lived in the south. Constant warfare with tribes from neighboring areas, plus disease and alcohol introduced by white fur traders and settlers, combined to decimate the Native American population. Warfare with the whites led to a series of treaties, the last in 1832, that removed all of the Indians to lands across the Mississippi.

French missionaries and fur traders from Quebec explored the rivers of Illinois in the late 17th century. Father Jacques Marquette and trader Louis Jolliet were the first to reach the area now known as the state of Illinois in 1673, when they descended the Mississippi as far as the Arkansas River and then returned by way of the Illinois River. The first permanent settlement was a mission built by French priests at Cahokia, near present-day St. Louis, in 1699. It was followed by more southerly settlements at Kaskaskia in 1703 and Ft. Chartres in 1719. In 1765, pursuant to the Treaty of Paris (1763), which ended the French and Indian War, the British took control of the Illinois country, but they established no settlements of their own. Most of the French settlers were Loyalists during the American Revolution. However, they put up no resistance when Virginia troops, led by George Rogers Clark, captured the small British forts at Cahokia and Kaskaskia in 1778. Virginia governed its new territory in desultory fashion, and most of the French villagers fled to Missouri. In 1784, Virginia relinquished its claim to Illinois, which three years later became part of the newly organized Northwest Territory. In 1800, Illinois was included in the Indiana Territory. Nine years later, the Illinois Territory, including the present state of Wisconsin, was created; Kaskaskia became the territorial capital, and Ninian Edwards was appointed territorial governor by President James Madison. A territorial legislature was formed in 1812. During the War of 1812, British and Indian forces combined in a last attempt to push back American expansion into the Illinois country, and much fighting took place in the area. On 3 December 1818, Illinois was formally admitted to the Union as the 21st state. The capital was moved to Vandalia in 1820 and to Springfield in 1839.

Apart from a few thousand nomadic Indians and the remaining French settlers and their slaves, Illinois was largely uninhabited before 1815; two years after statehood, the population barely exceeded 55,000. The withdrawal of British influence after the War of 1812 and the final defeat of the Indian tribes in the Black Hawk War of 1832 opened the fertile prairies to settlers from the south, especially Kentucky. The federal government owned most of the land, and its land offices did a fast business on easy terms. Before the 1830s, most of the pioneers were concerned with acquiring land titles and pursuing subsistence agriculture, supplemented by hunting and fishing. An effort in 1824 to call a constitutional convention to legalize slavery failed because of a widespread fear that rich slaveholders would seize the best land, squeezing out the poor yeoman farmers. Ambitious efforts to promote rapid economic development in the 1830s led to fiscal disaster. Three state banks failed; a lavish program of building roads, canals, and railroads totally collapsed, leaving a heavy state debt that was not paid off until 1880. Despite these setbacks, the steady influx of land-hungry poor people and the arrival after 1840 of energetic Yankee entrepreneurs, all attracted by the rich soil and excellent water routes, guaranteed rapid growth.

Although Illinois gradually eliminated French slavery and even served as a conduit to Canada for slaves escaping from the South, the state was deeply divided over the slavery issue and remained unfriendly territory for blacks and their defenders. The abolitionist leader Elijah P. Lovejoy was killed in Alton in 1837, and as late as 1853, the state passed legislation providing that free blacks entering Illinois could be sold into slavery. In 1856, however, the new Republican Party nominated and Illinois voters elected a governor, William H. Bissell, on a reform program that included support for school construction, commercial and industrial expansion, and the abolition of slavery. During the Civil War, Illinois sent half its young men to the battlefield and supplied the Union armies with huge amounts of food, feed, and horses. The strong-handed wartime administration of Republican governor Richard Yates guaranteed full support for the policies of Abraham Lincoln, who had been prominent in Illinois political life since the 1840s and had been nominated for the presidency in 1860 at a Republican convention held in Chicago. Democratic dissenters were suppressed, sometimes by force, leaving a legacy of bitter feuds that troubled the "Egypt" section (the southern third of the state) for decades thereafter.

Economic and population growth quickened after 1865, exemplified by the phenomenal rise of Chicago, which became the principal city of the Midwest. Responding to opportunities presented by the coming of the railroads, boosters in hundreds of small towns and cities built banks, grain elevators, retail shops, small factories, ornate courthouses, and plain schools in an abundance of civic pride. The Democrats sought the support of the working class and small farmers, assuming an attitude of hostility toward banks, high railroad freight rates, protective tariffs, and antiunion employers, but they failed to impose any significant restraints on business expansion. They were more successful, however, in opposing Prohibition and other paternalistic methods of social control demanded by reformers such as Frances Willard, a leader in the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Prohibition Party. In Chicago and other cities, the Democrats were less concerned with social reform than with building lucrative political machines on the backs of the poor Irish, Polish, and Czech Catholic immigrants, who kept arriving in large numbers. Statewide, Illinois retained a highly competitive two-party system, even as the excitement and high voter turnouts characteristic of 19th-century elections faded rapidly in the early 20th century.

During the second half of the 19th century, Illinois became the center of the American labor movement. Workers joined the Knights of Labor in the 1870s and 1880s and fought for child-labor laws and the eight-hour workday. Union organizing led to several spectacular incidents, including the Haymarket riot in 1886 and the violent Pullman strike in 1894, which was suppressed by federal troops at the behest of President Grover Cleveland. A coalition of Germans, labor, and small farmers elected John Peter Altgeld to the governorship in 1892. After 1900, Illinois became a center of the Progressive movement, led by Jane Addams and Republican governor Frank Lowden. Lowden reorganized the state government in 1917 by placing experts in powerful positions in state and municipal administrations.

After the Great Fire of 1871 destroyed Chicago's downtown section (but not its main residential or industrial areas), the city's wealthy elite dedicated itself to rebuilding Chicago and making it one of the great metropolises of the world. Immense steel mills, meat-packing plants, and factories sprang up, and growth was spectacular in the merchandising, banking, and transportation fields. Their fortunes made, Chicago's business leaders began building cultural institutions in the 1890s that were designed to rival the best in the world: the Chicago Symphony, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Field Museum of Natural History. The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 was a significant international exhibition of the nation's technological achievements, and it focused worldwide attention on what was by then the second-largest American city. A literary renaissance, stimulated by the new realism that characterized Chicago's newspapers, flourished for a decade or two before World War I, but the city was recognized chiefly for its contributions in science, architecture, and (in the 1920s) jazz.

The first three decades of the 20th century witnessed almost unbroken prosperity in all sections except Egypt, the downstate re-gion where poor soil and the decline of the coal industry produced widespread poverty. The slums of Chicago were poor, too, because most of the hundreds of thousands of new immigrants had arrived virtually penniless. After 1920, however, large-scale immigration ended, and the immigrants' steady upward mobility, based on savings and education, became apparent. During the Prohibition era, a vast organized crime empire rose to prominence, giving Chicago and Joliet a reputation for gangsterism, violence, and corruption; the most notorious gangster was Al Capone. Money, whether legally or illegally acquired, mesmerized Illinois in the 1920s as never beforeand never since.

The Great Depression of the 1930s affected the state unevenly, with agriculture hit first and recovering first. Industries began shutting down in 1930 and did not fully recover until massive military contracts during World War II restored full prosperity. The very fact of massive depression brought discredit to the probusiness Republican regime that had run the state with few exceptions since 1856. Blacks, white ethnics, factory workers, and the under-educated, all of whom suffered heavily during the early years of the Depression, responded enthusiastically to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. They elected Henry Horner, a Democrat, to the governorship in 1932, reelected him in 1936, and flocked to the new industrial unions of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, founded in 1938.

World War II and its aftermath brought prosperity, as well as new anxiety about national security in a nuclear age. The chilling events of the 1960s and 1970sassassinations, the Vietnam War, the race riots, and the violence that accompanied the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicagohelped reshape many people's attitudes in Illinois. The problems attendant on heavy industrialization, particularly air and water pollution and urban decay, began to be addressed for the first time. This transformation was perhaps best exemplified in Chicago, where voters elected Jane Byrne as the city's first woman mayor in 1979 and chose Harold Washington as its first black mayor in 1983.

The economy of Illinois, like those of other Rust Belt states, suffered a severe recession in the early 1980s. By the end of the decade, the economy had begun to rebound, but many industrial jobs were permanently lost, as industries sought to improve efficiency and productivity through automation. In 1990, the unemployment rate in Illinois was 7.2%, in contrast to the national average of 5.2%. Into the 1990s, industrial losses slowed while the service industries and the newer high-tech industries, which had gained a foothold in the Greater Chicago area, became dominant. By 1998, as the United States experienced the longest sustained economic boom in its history, many in Illinois felt the prosperity. The state ranked eighth in the nation for per capita income, and by 1999 unemployment in the state had fallen to 4.3%, in line with the national average. The poverty rate also fell during the decade, from 11.9% in 1989 to 10.1% a decade later.

Chicago's infrastructure has suffered several problems. In 1992 there was a rupture in the 60-mi (96-km) maze of tunnels that lies beneath downtown. Water from the Chicago River flooded basements and sub-basements in the city's central Loop district with as much as 30 ft (9 m) of water, forcing the temporary closure of many downtown buildings and businesses, including the Chicago Board of Trade, City Hall, and Marshall Fields department store. In August 1999, the downtown area was without power when a substation failed. About 2,300 Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) customers in the Loop, including skyscrapers, numerous businesses, and university buildings, were without electricity. Again buildings were forced to close, sending thousands of workers home early. Later that month ComEd suffered another high-profile outage when power was lost at the city's popular Field Museum, forcing its closure. In 2000, barge and other commercial boat operators on the Chicago River complained that the increase in recreational boater traffic on the waterway posed a serious danger to safety.

In June 2000, a panel of experts convening for a legislative history roundtable in Springfield concluded that the state's 1980 cutback amendment, which reduced the size of the Illinois General Assembly by one-third, had been a detriment to state government for two decades. The 1980 amendment ended the state's system of three-member house districts; experts argued that the old system had encouraged Republicans and Democrats to work together and that the new, one-member house district system resulted in "a higher degree of partisanship and bitterness."

Meanwhile, the state was embroiled in a bribe-for-licenses scandal involving Governor George Ryan. It was alleged that truck driver's licenses were issued in exchange for campaign contributions (from trucking companies) when Ryan was secretary of state. Indictments were handed down to some state officials, but the governor insisted he knew nothing about the contributions and said if the accusations proved to be true, the money would be contributed to charities. Ryan left after one term in office due to the scandal, succeeded by Rod Blagojevich.

In 2003, the state had a $5 billion budget deficit and was experiencing the worst recession in two decades. In 2002, Illinois lost 23,000 manufacturing jobs. In his State of the State address, Governor Blagojevich targeted four areas in need of attention: jobs, schools, health care, and crime. In June 2003, the Illinois legislature passed a $10 billion budget allowing for increased school spending. The budget also called for increasing casino taxes and eliminating tax exemptions for trucking, chemical, insurance, and other industries.

In 2004, Governor Blagojevich announced a plan to make Illinois the first state in the nation to provide consumers with access to prescription drugs from Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The I-SaveRx prescription drug importation program began in October 2004. In October 2005, Governor Blagojevich praised the Illinois General Assembly for passing his All Kids health insurance proposal and reaffirmed his commitment to signing it. The plan would make Illinois the first state in the nation to provide affordable, comprehensive health insurance for every child in the state. Earlier in the year, Blagojevich committed himself to expanding, improving, and promoting access to health care for Illinois families. Also in 2005, Blagojevich promoted his Higher Standards, Better Schools Initiativea comprehensive proposal to increase education funding and better prepare students to compete and succeed in the economy of the 21st century. Blagojevich's budget plan for fiscal year 2006 was $43.56 billion.


Illinois has had four constitutions. The first, written in 1818, was a short document modeled on those of New York, Kentucky, and Ohio. An attempt to rewrite the charter to allow slavery failed in a bitterly contested referendum in 1824. A new constitution in 1848 democratized government by providing for the popular election of judges. A third constitution, enacted in 1870, lasted a century; its unique feature was a voting system for the lower house of the state legislature that virtually guaranteed minority party representation in each electoral district. Important amendments in 1884 and 1904, gave the governor an item veto over appropriation bills and provided a measure of home rule for Chicago, respectively. In 1970, a fourth constitution streamlined state offices, improved accounting procedures, reformed the state tax system, and gave the state rather than local governments the major responsibility for financing education. The state bill of rights was expanded to include provisions banning discrimination in housing and employment and recognizing women's rights. An elected judiciary and the state's unique representational system were retained.

Under the 1970 constitution, amended 11 times as of January 2005, the upper house of the General Assembly consists of a Senate of 59 members, who are elected on a two-year cycle to four-year terms. Until 1980, the lower house, the House of Representatives, consisted of 177 members, with three representatives elected for two-year terms from each district. Each voter was empowered to cast three ballots for representatives, giving one vote to each of three candidates, one and a half votes to each of two, or all three to one candidate; each party never nominated more than two candidates in any single district. In November 1980, however, Illinois voters chose to reduce the size of House membership to 118 (2 representatives from each district) and to eliminate the proportional system. Annual legislative sessions, which are not limited in length, begin in January. A joint call by the presiding officers in both houses may secure a special session, also of unlimited duration. Legislators must be US citizens, at least 21 years old, and residents of their district for at least two years prior to election. The legislative salary was $55,788 in 2004.

Illinois Presidential Vote by Political Parties, 19482004
*Won US presidential election.
1948 28 *Truman (D) 1,994,715 1,961,103 3,118 11,959 11,522
1952 27 *Eisenhower (R) 2,013,920 2,457,327 9,363
1956 27 *Eisenhower (R) 1,775,682 2,623,327 8,342
1960 27 *Kennedy (D) 2,377,846 2,368,988 10,560
1964 26 *Johnson (D) 2,796,833 1,905,946
1968 26 *Nixon (R) 2,039,814 2,174,774 13,878 390,958
1972 26 *Nixon (R) 1,913,472 2,788,179 12,344 2,471 4,541
1976 26 Ford (R) 2,271,295 2,364,269 2,422 8,057 9,250 3,615
1980 26 *Reagan (R) 1,981,413 2,358,094 10,692 38,939 9,711 1,302
1984 24 *Reagan (R) 2,086,499 2,707,103 2,716 10,086
1988 24 *Bush (R) 2,215,940 2,310,939 10,276 14,944
1992 22 *Clinton (D) 2,453,350 1,734,096 5,267 9,218 840,515 3,577
1996 22 *Clinton (D) 2,341,744 1,587,021 - 22,548 346,408
GREEN (Buchanan)
2000 22 Gore (D) 2,589,026 2,019,421 103,759 11,623 16,106
WRITE-IN (Nader) WRITE-IN (Peroutka) WRITE-IN (Cobb)
2004 21 Kerry (D) 2,891,550 2,345,946 3,571 32,442 440 241

The executive officers elected statewide are the governor and lieutenant governor (who run jointly), secretary of state, treasurer, comptroller, and attorney general. Each serves a four-year term and is eligible for reelection. An important revision of appointive offices in 1917 made most agency heads responsible to the governor. In the 1970s, the governor's office expanded its control over the budget and the higher education complex, further augmenting an already strong executive position. The governor must be a US citizen, at least 25 years old, a qualified voter, and a state resident for three years prior to election. As of December 2004, the governor's salary was $150,691.

Bills passed by both houses of the legislature become law if signed by the governor, if left unsigned for 60 days (whether or not the legislature is in session), or if vetoed by the governor but passed again by three-fifths of the elected members of each house. Constitutional amendments require a three-fifths vote by the legislature for placement on the ballot. Amendments may also be initiated by a petition of 8% of the total votes cast in the prior gubernatorial election. Either a simple majority of those voting in the election or three-fifths of those voting on the amendment is sufficient for ratification.

Qualified voters must be US citizens, at least 18 years old, and unable to claim the right to vote elsewhere. There is a 30-day precinct residency requirement. Jailed felons may not vote.


The Republican and Democratic parties have been the only major political groups in Illinois since the 1850s. Illinois is a closely balanced state, with a slight Republican predominance from 1860 to 1930 giving way in seesaw fashion to a highly competitive situation statewide. In Chicago and Cook County, an equally balanced division before 1930 gave way to heavy Democratic predominance forged during the New Deal.

The Democrats, organized by patronage-hungry followers of President Andrew Jackson in the 1830s, dominated state politics to the mid-1850s. They appealed to subsistence farmers, former Southerners, and poor Catholic immigrants. Though they advocated minimal government intervention, Democratic officials were eager for the patronage and inside deals available in the fast-growing state. Their outstanding leader, Stephen Douglas, became a major national figure in the 1850s but never lost touch with his base of support. After Douglas died in 1861, many Illinois Democrats began to oppose the conduct of the Civil War and became stigmatized as "Copperheads." The success of the Republican war policies left the Democrats in confusion in the late 1860s and early 1870s. Negative attitudes toward blacks, banks, railroads, and Prohibition kept a large minority of Illinoisans in the Democratic fold, while the influx of Catholic immigrants replenished the party's voter base. However, the administration of Governor John Peter Altgeld (189397), coinciding with a deep depression and labor unrest, split the party, and only one other Democrat held the governorship between 1852 and 1932. The intraparty balance between Chicago and downstate changed with the rise of the powerful Cook County Democratic organization in the 1930s. Built by Mayor Anton Cermak and continued from 1955 to 1976 by six-term Mayor Richard J. Daley, the Chicago Democratic machine totally controlled the city, dominated the state party, and exerted enormous power at the national level. However, the machine lost its clout with the election in 1979 of independent Democrat Jane Byrne as Chicago's first woman mayor and again in 1983, when Harold Washington became its first black mayor. Although Richard Daley's son, also named Richard Daley, won the mayoralty in 1989, the machine has never recovered the power it once enjoyed. Richard Daley was elected to his fifth consecutive term as mayor of Chicago in 2003.

The Republican Party, born amid the political chaos of the 1850s, brought together most former Whigs and some Democrats who favored industrialization and opposed slavery. Abraham Lincoln, aided by many talented lieutenants, forged a coalition of commercial farmers, businessmen, evangelical Protestants, skilled craftsmen, professionals, and later, patronage holders and army veterans. Ridiculing the Democrats' alleged parochialism, the Republican Party called for vigorous prosecution of the Civil War and Reconstruction and for an active policy of promoting economic growth by encouraging railroads and raising tariffs. However, such moralistic crusades as the fight for Prohibition frequently alienated large voting blocs (especially the Germans) from the Republicans.

In the early 20th century, Republican politicians built their own ward machines in Chicago and succumbed to corruption. William "Big Bill" Thompson, Chicago's Republican mayor in the 1910s and 1920s, openly allied himself with the gangster Al Capone. Moralistic Republicans, who were strongest in the smaller towns, struggled to regain control of their party. They succeeded in the 1930s, when the Republican political machines in Chicago collapsed or switched their allegiance to the Democrats.

Since then, the Republicans have become uniformly a party of the middle and upper-middle classes, hostile to machine politics, welfare, and high taxes but favorable to business, education, and environmental protection. Although the Republican Party has a stronger formal organization in Illinois than in most other states, its leading candidates have exuded an aura of independence. Republican James R. Thompson, elected to the governorship in 1976 and reelected in 1978 and 1982, served in that office longer than any other. Thompson was followed by Republican Jim Edgar in 1990. In November 1998, Illinois voters elected Republican George H. Ryan for governor, but his administration was dogged by controversy surrounding the licensing of truck drivers when Ryan served as secretary of state, and he served only one term. Democrat Rod R. Blagojevich was elected governor in 2002.

The Whigs ran a close second to the Democrats from 1832 to 1852. Taken over in the 1840s by a group of professional organizers under Lincoln's leadership, the Whigs simply vanished after their crushing defeat in 1852. Notable among the smaller parties was the Native American ("Know-Nothing") Party, which controlled Chicago briefly in the 1850s. The Prohibitionists, Green-backers, Union Labor, and Populist parties were weak forces in late-19th-century Illinois. The Socialist Party, strongest among coal miners and central European immigrants, grew to a minor force in the early 20th century and elected the mayor of Rockford for many years.

Illinois provided two important leaders of the national Republican Party in the 1860sAbraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. The only major-party presidential nominee from the state between 1872 and 1976, however, was Governor Adlai Stevenson, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate in 1952 and 1956. In 1980, three native-born Illinoisans pursued the Republican Party nomination. The first, US representative Philip Crane, was the earliest to declare his candidacy but failed in the primaries. The second, US representative John Anderson, dropped out of the Republican primaries to pursue an independent candidacy, ultimately winning more than 6% of the popular vote nationally and in Illinois, but no electoral votes. The third, Ronald Reagan, a native of Tampico, won both the Republican nomination and the November election, becoming the 40th president of the United States; he was elected by a heavy majority of Illinois voters in 1980 and reelected in 1984.

In the 2000 presidential election, Democrat Al Gore won 55% of the vote, Republican George W. Bush received 43%, and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader garnered 2%. In 2004, Bush won 50% in his successful bid for reelection to Democrat John Kerry's 49%. In 2004 there were 8,594,000 registered voters; there is no party registration. The state had 21 electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election, a loss of 1 vote over 2000.

In 1996, Democratic senator Richard J. Durbin won the race to succeed retiring US senator Paul Simon; Durbin was reelected in 2002. Illinois elected its first black female senator, Carol Moseley Braun, in 1992; she was defeated by Republican Peter G. Fitzgerald in 1998. Fitzgerald did not run for a second term; the seat he left vacant was won in 2004 by Democrat Barack Obama. In the 1994 elections, the once-powerful chairman of the US House Ways and Means Committee, Dan Rostenkowski, was defeated by a relative unknown, Michael P. Flanagan. Rostenkowski, an 18-term Chicago Democrat, had been indicted on corruption charges, a fact that did not go unnoticed by an electorate that was already in an anti-incumbent mood. In the 2004 elections, Illinois voters sent nine Republicans and ten Democrats to the US House of Representa-tives. In mid-2005, there were 32 Republicans, 26 Democrats, and 1 independent in the state Senate and 65 Democrats and 53 Republicans in the state House.


Illinois has more units of local government (most with property-taxing power) than any other state. In 2005, there were 102 counties, 1,291 municipalities, 934 public school districts, and 3,145 special districts. In 2002, there were 1,431 townships.

County government in Illinois dates from 1778, when Virginia, claiming authority over the territory, established the earliest counties. Today, the major county offices are elective: county board chairman, county clerk (chief administrative officer), clerk of the circuit court, sheriff, state's attorney, treasurer, coroner, and superintendent of schools. Cook County, which encompasses all of Chicago and many of its suburbs, controls hospital and welfare programs in Chicago, thus spreading the cost over both the city's own tax base and that of the more affluent suburbs. The New England township system was made optional by the state's 1848 constitution, and eventually 85 counties, including Cook County, adopted the idea. Townships, which elect administrators and local judges, also handle tax collection.

Chicago is governed by an elected mayor, clerk, treasurer, and city council composed of 50 aldermen. The mayor's power has been closely tied with the city's Democratic Party organization. Independent candidates are elected to the city council from time to time, but the Democratic machine generally staffs the city with its members.

Larger municipalities are administered by an elected mayor and council members; most smaller communities are administered by nonpartisan city managers, though some have elected mayors.

In 2005, local government accounted for about 504,379 full-time (or equivalent) employment positions.


To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Illinois operates under the authority of the governor; a special assistant to the governor coordinates homeland security activities in the state.

Officials responsible to the governor of Illinois and the members of Congress, as well as to the mayor of Chicago, actively provide ombudsman service, although there is no state office by that name. Illinois has a board of ethics, but the US attorney's office in Chicago has far more potent weapons at its disposal: Many top political leaders were indicted and convicted in the 1970s, including federal judge and former Governor Otto Kerner and, in 1980, Attorney General William Scott.

Educational services provided by the Illinois Board of Education include teacher certification and placement, curriculum development, educational assessment and evaluation, and programs for the disadvantaged, gifted, handicapped, and ethnic and racial minorities. The Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Community College Board oversee postsecondary education. The Department of Transportation handles highways, traffic safety, and airports.

State agencies offering health and welfare services include the Department of Children and Family Services, which focuses on foster care, the deaf, the blind, and the handicapped, and the Department of Human Services, which supervises Medicaid, food stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities operates homes and outpatient centers for the developmentally disabled and the mentally ill. Established in 1973, the Department on Aging provides nutritional and field services. The Department of Veterans Affairs administers bonus and scholarship programs and maintains four veterans' homes with nursing facilities, including one with an Alzheimer's unit, and at least three with 300 or more beds.

State responsibility for public protection is divided among several agencies: the Office of the Attorney General, Department of Corrections, Prisoner Review Board, Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, and Military Affairs Department. Resource protection is supervised by the Department of Natural Resources, which oversees fish hatcheries, state parks, nature reserves, game preserves, and forest fire protection. The Department of Labor mediates disputes and handles unemployment compensation. The Department of Human Rights, founded in 1980, seeks to ensure equal employment, housing, and credit opportunities.


The state's highest court is the Illinois Supreme Court, which consists of seven justices elected by judicial districts for 10-year terms. The justices elect one of their number as chief justice for three years. The Illinois Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction generally but has original jurisdiction in cases relating to revenue, mandamus, and habeas corpus. The chief justice, assisted by an administrative director, has administrative and supervisory authority over all other courts. The appellate court is divided into five districts; appellate judges, also elected for 10-year terms, hear appeals from the 22 circuit courts, which handle civil and criminal cases. Circuit judges are elected for six-year terms. Repeated efforts to remove the state's judgeships from partisan politics have failed in the face of strong party opposition.

The penal system, under the general supervision of the Department of Corrections (established in 1970), includes large prisons at Joliet (1860), Pontiac (1871), Menard (1878), and Stateville (1919), near Joliet, plus juvenile facilities and an active parole division. The Cook County House of Corrections is highly active, as are federal facilities in Chicago and Marion.

As of 31 December 2004, a total of 44,054 prisoners were held in Illinois' state and federal prisons, an increase (from 43,418) of 1.5% from the previous year. As of year-end 2004, a total of 2,750 inmates were female, up from 2,700 or 1.9% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (includes some sentenced to one year or less), Illinois had an incarceration rate of 346 per 100,000 population in 2004.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2004 Illinois had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaughter; forcible rape; robbery; aggravated assault) of 542.9 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 69,026 reported incidents. Crimes against property (burglary; larceny/theft; and motor vehicle theft) in that same year totaled 405,070 reported incidents or 3,186.1 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Illinois has a death penalty, of which lethal injection is the sole method. However, the state has authorized electrocution should lethal in-jection be ruled unconstitutional. From 1976 through 5 May 2006, the state executed 12 persons, all of whom were executed prior to 2005. As of 1 January 2006, there were 10 death row inmates.

In 2003, Illinois spent $225,709,514 on homeland security, an average of $18 per state resident.


The most important military installations in Illinois are the Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Chicago, with 5,317 active-duty military personnel, and Scott Air Force Base near Belleville with 7,678 active-duty military personnel. Great Lakes Naval Training Sites are the Navy's largest technical training operation, with up to 4,500 students at any time, training approximately 15,000 students annually. Total active-duty military personnel in Illinois numbered 20,812 in 2004, with 9,045 civilian personnel. Illinois firms received defense contract awards amounting to $3.0 billion in 2004. In addition, another $3.02 billion in defense payroll spending came to the state.

About 1 million Illinoisans served in World War II, of whom 30,000 were killed. There were 896,640 veterans of US military service in Illinois as of 2003, of whom 141,968 served in World War II; 109,644 in the Korean conflict; 270,629 during the Vietnam era; and 126,068 in the Persian Gulf War. Expenditures for veterans reached $1.9 billion in 2004.

As of 31 October 2004, the Illinois State Police employed 2,008 full-time officers.


Apart from the small French settlements along the Mississippi River that were formed in the 18th century, most early white migration into Illinois came from the South, as poor young farm families trekked overland to southern Illinois from Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas between 1800 and 1840. After 1830, migration from Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania filled the central portion of the state, while New Englanders and New Yorkers came to the northern portion.

Immigration from Europe became significant in the 1840s and continued in a heavy stream for about 80 years. Before 1890, most of the new arrivals came from Germany, Ireland, Britain, and Scandinavia. These groups continued to arrive after 1890, but they were soon outnumbered by heavy immigration from southern and eastern Europe. The opening of prairie farms, the burgeoning of towns and small cities, and the explosive growth of Chicago created a continuous demand for unskilled and semiskilled labor. Concern for the welfare of these newcomers led to the establishment of Hull House (1889) by Jane Addams in Chicago. Hull House served as a social center, shelter, and advocate for immigrants. Launching the settlement movement in America, its activities helped popularize the concept of cultural pluralism. The University of Chicago was one of the first major universities to concern itself with urban ecology and with the tendency to "ghettoize" culturally and economically disadvantaged populations.

The outbreak of World War I interrupted the flow of European immigrants but also increased the economy's demand for unskilled labor. The migration of blacks from states south of Illinoisespecially from Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabamaplayed an important role in meeting the demand for labor during both world wars. After World War II, the further collapse of the cotton labor market drove hundreds of thousands more blacks to Chicago and other northern cities.

In contrast to the pattern of foreign and black migration to Illinois was the continued westward search by native-born whites for new farmland, a phenomenon that produced a net outflow among this group from 1870 to 1920. After World War II, native whites again left the state in large numbers, with Southern California as a favorite destination. After 1970, for the first time, more blacks began leaving than entering Illinois.

The major intrastate migration pattern has been from farms to towns. Apart from blacks, who migrated considerable distances from farms in the South, most ex-farmers moved only 10-30 mi (16-48 km) to the nearest town or city.

During the 1970s, the state lost 649,000 persons in net migration, for an annual rate of 0.5%. From 1980 to 1983, the net loss from migration totaled 212,000, or 0.6% annually. From 1985 to 1990, the net loss from migration came to 139,360. Between 1990 and 1998, there was a net loss of 516,000 persons from domestic migration and a net gain of 337,000 from international migration. In 1998, 33,163 immigrants from foreign countries arrived in Illinois, the sixth-highest number for any state and over 5% of all foreign immigration to the United States for that year. The greatest number of foreign-born residents that year came from Mexico, totaling 10,127. In 1998, the Illinois Hispanic population numbered 1,145,000, while those of Hispanic origin numbered 1,224,000. Between 1990 and 1998, the state's overall population increased 5.4%. In the period 200005, net international migration was 328,020 and net internal migration was 391,031, for a net loss of 63,011 people.


Illinois participates in many interstate compacts, including such regional accords and commissions as the Bi-State Development Agency Compact (with Missouri), Great Lakes Commission, Wabash Valley Compact, Ohio River Basin Commission, and Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission. In 1985, Illinois and seven other states formed the Great Lakes Charter to protect the lakes' water supply. Federal grants to Illinois totaled $12.902 billion in fiscal year 2005, an estimated $12.699 billion in fiscal year 2006, and an estimated $13.205 billion in fiscal year 2007.


The economic development of Illinois falls into four periods: the frontier economy, up to 1860; the industrial transition, 18601900; industrial maturity, 19001950; and the transition to a service economy, 1950 to the present.

In the first phase, subsistence agriculture was dominant; the cost of transportation was high, cities were small and few, and cash markets for farm products hardly existed. The main activity was settling and clearing the land. A rudimentary market economy developed at the end of the period, with real estate and land speculation emerging as the most lucrative activities.

The industrial transition began about 1860, stimulated by the construction of the railroad network, which opened up distant markets for farm products and rural markets for manufactured items. The Civil War stimulated the rapid growth of cash farming, commercial and financial institutions, and the first important factories. The last quarter of the 19th century saw the closing of the agricultural frontier in Illinois and the rapid growth of commercial towns and industrial cities, especially Chicago.

Industrial maturity was reached in the early 20th century. Large factories grew, and small ones proliferated. Chicago's steel industry, actually centered in Gary, Indiana, became second in size only to Pittsburgh's, while the state took a commanding lead in food production, agricultural implement manufacture, and agricultural finance. The Depression of the 1930s stifled growth in the state and severely damaged the coal industry, but with the heavy industrial and food demands created by World War II, the state recovered its economic health.

Since 1950, the importance of manufacturing has declined, but a very strong shift into servicesgovernment, medicine, education, law, finance, and businesshas underpinned the state's economic vigor.

Severe competition from Japan wreaked havoc in the state's steel, television, and automotive industries during the 1980s, while Illinois's high-wage, high-cost business climate encouraged the migration of factories to the southern states. Meat-packing, once the most famous industry in Illinois, dwindled after the closing of the Chicago stockyards in 1972. Chicago remained the nation's chief merchandising center during the early 1980s, and an influx of huge international banks boosted the city's financial strength.

In the 1990s, Illinois's major industries included primary and secondary metals; industrial and farm equipment; electric equipment and appliances; electronic components; food processing; and printing equipment. Output from the state's manufacturing sector continued to grow in absolute terms until 1999; a small 0.5% contraction in 2000 (more than compensated for by annual overall growth rates averaging over 5.2% 1998 to 2000) was followed by sharp 5% contraction during the national recession of 2001. As a percentage of total output, manufacturing fell from 17.8% in 1997 to 14.4% in 2001. By contrast, financial services increased 31.5% and general services almost 28% over this time period. In the period 200102, the state's diverse economy closely mirrored national trends. The biggest job losses were in manufacturing, totaling approximately 64,000 in the two-year period, compared to 35,700 jobs lost in general services, 24,700 in trade, and 12,700 in transportation and utilities. The annual decline in jobs had moderated to 1.3% by September 2002 (from 1.6% in December 2001).

In 2004, the gross state product (GSP) in Illinois totaled $521.900 billion, of which manufacturing (durable and nondurable goods) made up the largest portion at $71.028 billion or 13.6% of GSP, followed by real estate at $64.434 billion (12.3% of GSP) and professional and technical services at $42.671 billion (8.1% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 1,001,185 small businesses in Illinois. Of the 285,208 businesses having employees, a total of 280,373 or 98.3% were small companies. An estimated 28,453 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, down 1.7% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 33,472, down 18.6% from 2003. There were 912 business bankruptcies in 2004, down 8% from the previous year. In 2005, the state's personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) filing rate was 671 filings per 100,000 people, ranking Illinois as the 14th highest in the nation.


In 2005 Illinois had a gross state product (GSP) of $560 billion, which accounted for 4.5% of the nation's gross domestic product and placed the state fifth in GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004, Illinois had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $34,721. This ranked 14th in the United States and was 105% of the national average of $33,050. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 3.8%. Illinois had a total personal income (TPI) of $441,372,577,000, which ranked fifth in the United States and reflected an increase of 3.4% from 2003. The 19942004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 4.5%. Earnings of persons employed in Illinois increased from $339,209,331,000 in 2003 to $351,081,708,000 in 2004, an increase of 3.5%. The 200304 national change was 6.3%.

The US Census Bureau reports that the three-year average median household income for 200204 in 2004 dollars was $45,787 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period, 12.5% of the population was below the poverty line, compared to 12.4% nationwide.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in April 2006, the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force in Illinois numbered 6,525,100. Approximately 332,500 workers were unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 5.1%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same period. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm employment at 5,919,700. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Illinois was 12.9% in February 1983. The historical low was 4.1% in March 1999. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 4.6% of the labor force was employed in construction; 11.5% in manufacturing; 20.1% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 6.9% in financial activities; 14.3% in professional and business services; 12.7% in education and health services; 8.9% in leisure and hospitality services; and 14.2% in government.

The first labor organizations sprang up among German tailors, Teamsters, and carpenters in Chicago in the 1850s and among British and German coal miners after the Civil War. The period of industrialization after the Civil War saw many strikes, especially in coal mining and construction, many of them spontaneous rather than union related. The Knights of Labor organized extensively in Chicago, Peoria, and Springfield in the 1870s and 1880s, reaching a membership of 52,000 by 1886. However, in the aftermath of the Haymarket riotduring which a dynamite blast at a labor rally killed seven policemen and four civiliansthe Knights faded rapidly. More durable was the Chicago Federation of Labor, formed in 1877 and eventually absorbed by the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Strongest in the highly skilled construction, transportation, mining, and printing industries, the federation stood aside from the 1894 Pullman strike, led by industrial union organizer Eugene V. Debs, a bitter struggle broken by federal troops over the protest of Governor John Peter Altgeld.

Labor unions are powerful in Chicago but relatively weak downstate. The major unions are the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the United Steelworkers of America, the International Association of Machinists, the United Automobile Workers, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The Illinois Education Association, though not strictly a labor union, has become one of the state's most militant employee organizations, often calling strikes and constituting the most active lobby in the state. In 1983, a new law granted all public employees except police and firemen the right to strike.

The BLS reported that in 2005, a total of 927,000 of the state's 5,473,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. This represented 16.9% of those so employed, up from 16.8% in 2004 and above the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 965,000 workers (17.6%) in Illinois were covered by a union or employee association contract, which includes those workers who reported no union affiliation. Illinois is one of 28 states that does not have a right-to-work law.

As of 1 March 2006, Illinois had a state-mandated minimum wage of $6.50 per hour. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 46.5% of the employed civilian labor force.


Total agricultural income in 2005 reached $8.7 billion in Illinois, ranking the state seventh in the nation. Crops accounted for nearly 79% of the value of farm marketings, with corn and soybeans as the leading cash commodities.

Prior to 1860, agriculture was the dominant occupation, and food for home consumption was the leading product. Enormous effort was devoted to breaking the thick prairie soil in the northern two-thirds of the state. Fences and barns were erected, and in the 1870s and 1880s, the drainage of low-lying areas in central Illinois was a major concern. Commercial agriculture was made possible by the extension of the railroad network in the 1860s and 1870s. Corn, wheat, hogs, cattle, and horses were the state's main products in the 19th century. Since then, wheat and poultry have declined greatly in significance, while soybeans and, to a lesser extent, dairy products and vegetables have played an increasingly important role. The mechanization and electrification of agriculture, beginning about 1910, proceeded at an unmatched pace in Illinois. Strong interest in scientific farming, including the use of hybrid corn, sophisticated animal-breeding techniques, and chemical fertilizers, has also fostered a steady, remarkable growth in agricultural productivity.

The number of farms reached a peak of 264,000 in 1900 and began declining rapidly after World War II, down to 73,000 in 2004. Total acreage in farming was 27.5 million acres (11.1 million hectares) in 2004, down from 32.8 million acres (13.3 million hectares) in 1990. The average farm size more than doubled from 124 acres (50 hectares) in 1900 to 377 acres (152 hectares) in 2004. The farm population, which averaged 1.2 million persons from 1880 to 1900, declined to 314,000 in 1980; by then, about half the people who lived on farms commuted to work in stores, shops, and offices.

The major agricultural region is the Corn Belt, covering all of central and about half of northern Illinois. Among the 50 states, Illinois ranked second only to Iowa in the production of corn and soybeans during 200004.

Agriculture is big business in the state, though very few farms are owned by corporations (except "family corporations," a tax device). The financial investment in agriculture is enormous, largely because of the accelerating cost of land. The value of land quadrupled during the 1970s to an average of $2,013 per acre in 1980, fell to $1,536 per acre by 1992, but rose to $2,210 by 1997 and $2,610 by 2004.


Livestock is raised almost everywhere in Illinois, but production is concentrated especially in the west-central region. In 2005, Illinois farms had an estimated 1.38 million cattle and calves worth around $1.1 billion. Illinois farms had an estimated 4 million hogs and pigs in 2004, worth around $400 million. The Dairy Belt covers part of northern Illinois. Milk production in 2003 totaled an estimated 2 billion lb (0.9 billion kg). During 2003, Illinois poultry farmers sold an estimated 7.1 million lb (3.2 million kg) of chicken. An estimated 973 million eggs were produced in 2003, worth around $51 million.


Commercial fishing is relatively insignificant in Illinois. Sport fishing is of modest importance in southern Illinois and around Lake Michigan. Some 450 lakes and ponds and 200 streams and rivers are open to the public. In 2004, there were 713,120 sport anglers licensed in Illinois. The state Division of Fisheries operates four fish hatcheries, producing more than 50 million fish of 18 species for stocking Illinois waters. In 2004, Illinois had 18 catfish farms covering 320 acres (130 hectares).


Forestland covering 4,331,000 acres (1,753,000 hectares) makes up about 12% of the state's land area. Forests in the northern two-thirds of the state are predominately located in the northwestern part of the state and along major rivers and streams. The majority of Illinois's forests are located in the southern one-third of the state. Some 4,087,000 acres (1,654,000 hectares) are classified as commercial forests and 89% privately owned. As of 2005, Illinois had two national forests, with a total National Forest System acreage of 857,000 acres (347,000 hectares). In 2004, lumber production totaled 123 million board feet.


According to preliminary data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), the estimated value of Illinois nonfuel mineral production in 2003 was $911 million, a decrease from 2002 of about 1%. The USGS data ranked Illinois 16th among the 50 states by the total value of its nonfuel mineral production, accounting for around 2.5% of total US output.

All of the state's nonfuel mineral output in 2003 was accounted for by industrial minerals, of which crushed stone was the leading item produced, accounting for around 46% of all production by value. Portland cement ranked second at around 23%, while construction sand and gravel stood at nearly 17% and industrial sand and gravel at 8%. Lime, fuller's earth, and tripoli accounted for most of the remainder.

For 2003, preliminary data showed that Illinois produced 72.6 million metric tons of crushed stone, valued at $421 million; con-struction sand and gravel output totaled 33.2 million metric tons, or $153 million; and industrial sand and gravel production totaling 4.51 million metric tons, or $72.9 million. Portland cement production that same year came to 2.8 million metric tons, or an estimated $207 million.

Until 1997, Illinois was the only state with reported fluorspar production. A combination of increased competition from foreign imports and a decrease in the use of chlorofluorocarbons (because of environmental concerns) was mostly responsible for the decline in domestic production. Fluorspar had been mined commercially in Hardin County since 1870, and in 1996, the last two operating fluorspar mines in the United States were closed (making it difficult to obtain fluorite, the state mineral).


Illinois is one of the nation's leading energy producers and consumers. As of 2003, Illinois had 92 electrical power service providers, of which 41 were publicly owned and 27 were cooperatives. Of the remainder, nine were investor owned, 11 were generation-only suppliers, 3 were delivery-only suppliers, and 1 was an owner of an independent generator that sold directly to customers. As of that same year, there were 5,457,799 retail customers. Of that total, 4,931,955 received their power from investor-owned service providers. Cooperatives accounted for 258,814 customers, while publicly owned providers had 254,387 customers. There were 12,642 generation-only customers and only one independent generator or "facility" customer. There were no data on the number of delivery-only customers.

Total net summer generating capability by the state's electrical generating plants in 2003 stood at 45.541 million kW, with total production that same year at 189.055 billion kWh. Of the total amount generated, 94.9% came from electric utilities, with the remainder coming from independent producers and combined heat and power service providers. The largest portion of all electric power generated, 94.733 billion kWh (50.1%), came from nuclear power plants, with coal-fired plants in second place at 87.981 billion kWh (46.5%) and natural gas-fired plants in third place at 3.902 billion kWh (2.1%). Other renewable power sources, petroleum, hydroelectric, and plants using other types of gases accounted for the remaining facilities.

As of 2006, Illinois had six nuclear power generating facilities: the Braidwood Station in Will County; the Byron plant in Ogle County; the Clinton Power Station near Clinton; the Dresden plant in Grundy County; the La Salle County plant; and the Quad Cities plant near the cities of Davenport, Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline.

As of 2004, Illinois had proven crude oil reserves of 92 million barrels, or less than 1% of all proven US reserves, while output that same year averaged 30,000 barrels per day. Including federal offshore domains, the state that year ranked 15th (14th excluding federal offshore) in proven reserves and 15th (14th excluding federal offshore) in production among the 31 producing states. In 2004, Illinois had 16,859 producing oil wells, accounting for 1% of all US production. The state's four refineries had a combined crude oil distillation capacity of 896,000 barrels per day.

In 2004, Illinois had 251 producing natural gas and gas condensate wells. In that same year, marketed gas production (all gas produced excluding gas used for repressuring, vented and flared, and nonhydrocarbon gases removed) totaled 174 million cu ft (4.9 million cu m).

Coal is abundant throughout Illinois, with the largest mines in the south and central regions. Coal mining reached its peak in the 1920s but suffered thereafter from high pricing policies, the Depression of the 1930s, and environmental restrictions against burning high-sulfur coal in the 1970s. In 2004, Illinois had 19 producing coal mines, seven of which were surface mines and 12 were underground. Coal production that year totaled 31,853,000 short tons, up from 31,640,000 short tons in 2003. Of the total produced in 2004, underground mines accounted for 26,907,000 short tons. Recoverable coal reserves in 2004 totaled 796 million tons. One short ton equals 2,000 lb (0.907 metric tons).


Manufacturing in Illinois, concentrated in but not limited to Chicago, has always been diverse. Before 1860s, small gristmills, bakeries, and blacksmith shops handled what little manufacturing was done. Industry tripled in size in the 1860s, doubled in the 1870s, and doubled again in the 1880s, until manufacturing employment leveled off at 10%-12% of the population. Value added by manufacture grew at a compound annual rate of 8.1% between 1860 and 1900 and at a rate of 6.3% until 1929.

According to the US Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) for 2004, Illinois' manufacturing sector covered some 20 product subsectors. The shipment value of all products manufactured in the state that same year was $210.042 billion. Of that total, food manufacturing accounted for the largest share at $32.669 billion. It was followed by chemical manufacturing at $28.221 billion; machinery manufacturing at $26.085 billion; fabricated metal product manufacturing at $18.620 billion; petroleum and coal products manufacturing at $18.109 billion; and plastics and rubber products manufacturing at $12.759 billion.

In 2004, a total of 676,061 people in Illinois were employed in the state's manufacturing sector, according to the ASM. Of that total, 466,252 were actual production workers. In terms of total employment, the fabricated metal product manufacturing industry accounted for the largest portion of all manufacturing employees at 103,818, with 76,955 actual production workers. It was followed by machinery manufacturing at 84,390 employees (52,647 actual production workers); food manufacturing at 80,454 employees (59,980 actual production workers); plastics and rubber products manufacturing at 55,183 employees (42,305 actual production workers); and chemical manufacturing with 49,396 employees (25,740 actual production workers).

ASM data for 2004 showed that the state's manufacturing sector paid $29.166 billion in wages. Of that amount, the fabricated metal product manufacturing sector accounted for the largest share at $4.243 billion. It was followed by machinery manufacturing at $3.915 billion; chemical manufacturing at $2.951 billion; food manufacturing at $2.851 billion; and transportation equipment manufacturing at $2.211 billion.

By far the leading industrial center is Chicago, followed by Rockford, the East St. Louis area, Rock Island and Moline in the Quad Cities region, and Peoria.


Chicago is the leading wholesaling center of the Midwest. According to the 2002 Census of Wholesale Trade, the wholesale trade sector had sales that year totaling $317.4 billion from 20,520 establishments. Wholesalers of durable goods accounted for 11,911 establishments, followed by nondurable goods wholesalers at 6,670 and electronic markets, agents, and brokers accounting for 1,939 establishments. Sales by durable goods wholesalers in 2002 totaled $155.7 billion, while wholesalers of nondurable goods saw sales of $135.7 billion. Electronic markets, agents, and brokers in the wholesale trade industry had sales of $25.9 billion.

In the 2002 Census of Retail Trade, Illinois was listed as having 43,022 retail establishments with sales of $131.4 billion. The leading types of retail businesses (by number of establishments) were food and beverage stores (6,114); clothing and clothing accessories stores (6,078); miscellaneous store retailers (4,965); motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts dealers (4,375); and gasoline stations (4,153). In terms of sales, motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts stores accounted for the largest share of retail sales at $32.6 billion, followed by food and beverage stores at $18.7 billion; general merchandise stores at $18.4 billion; nonstore retailers at $13.05 billion; and building material/garden equipment and supplies dealers at $10.9 billion. A total of 601,465 people were employed by the retail sector in Illinois that year.

Illinois ranked sixth among the states in exports with estimated exports of $35.8 billion in 2005.


The Office of the Attorney General is the most active protector of Illinois consumers with its Consumer Protection Division, which handles around 28,000 complaints a year. Within the Consumer Protection Division are the Franchise Bureau, Health Care Bureau, Charitable Trusts Bureau, and Consumer Fraud Bureau. The Department of Insurance also has a Consumer Division. The Department of Human Rights was established in 1979 to protect individuals in regard to employment, public accommodations, and other areas. Nearly half of all claims involve motor vehicle or home repair fraud in the state of Illinois.

The Illinois Office of the Attorney General can initiate civil, and, in antitrust actions, criminal proceedings; it can also represent the state before state and federal regulatory agencies; and is responsible for the administration of consumer protection and education programs; and the handling of consumer complaints. However, the office has only limited subpoena powers. In antitrust actions, the Attorney General's Office can act on behalf of those consumers who are incapable of acting on their own and can initiate damage actions on behalf of the state in state courts. However, the office cannot represent counties, cities, and other governmental entities in recovering civil damages under state or federal law.

The state's Consumer Fraud Bureau has offices in Carbondale, Chicago, and Springfield. The Governor's Office of Citizens Assistance is located in Springfield. The cities of Chicago and Des Plaines also have offices devoted to consumer protection.


Banking was highly controversial in 19th-century Illinois. Modernizers stressed the need for adequate venture capital and money supplies, but traditionalist farmers feared they would be impoverished by an artificial "money monster." Efforts to create a state bank floundered in confusion, while the dubious character of most private banknotes inspired the state to ban private banks altogether. The major breakthrough came during the Civil War, when federal laws encouraged the establishment of strong national banks in all the larger cities, and Chicago quickly became the financial center of the Midwest. Apart from the 1920s and early 1930s, when numerous neighborhood and small-town banks folded, the banking system has flourished. The Bureau of Banks and Trust Companies at the Office of Banks and Real Estate regulates state-chartered banks and trust companies.

As of June 2005, Illinois had 718 insured banks, savings and loans, and saving banks, plus 366 state-chartered and 117 federally chartered credit unions (CUs). Illinois had the highest number of banks of any state (Texas was second with 677) in 2005, due in large part to past state regulations that restricted branch banking. From 1870 through 1970, even the state's largest banks were limited to just one office. However, by 1993, branch banking without limitation had become available. Excluding the CUs, the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet market area accounted for the vast bulk of the state's financial institutions and deposits in 2004, with 309 institutions and $239.618 billion in deposits. The Bloomington-Normal area was second in terms of deposits with $9.549 billion, while the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island area (which includes portions of Iowa and Illinois) was tied with Peoria for second place in the number of financial institutions at 46 each. As of June 2005, CUs accounted for 5.8% of all assets held by all financial institutions in the state, or some $22.192 billion. Banks, savings and loans, and savings banks collectively accounted for the remaining 94.2% or $357.480 billion in assets held.

As of fourth quarter 2005, the median net interest margin (the difference between the lower rates offered to savers and the higher rates charged on loans) stood at 3.70%, down from 3.71% in 2004, but up from 3.67% in 2003. The median percentage of pastdue/nonaccrual loans to total loans for the same time periods stood at 1.59%, 1.63%, and 1.78%, respectively.


Illinois is a major center of the insurance industry. In 2004, there were 8 million individual life insurance policies in force with a total value of over $636 billion; total value for all categories of life insurance (individual, group, and credit) was over $1 trillion. The average coverage amount was $79,100 per policy holder. Death benefits paid that year totaled $2.66 billion.

In 2003, 71 life and health insurance and 186 property and casualty insurance companies were domiciled in Illinois. In 2004, direct premiums for property and casualty insurance totaled $21.2 billion. That year, there were 44,444 flood insurance policies in force in the state, with a total value of $5.4 billion. About $1.1 billion of coverage was offered through FAIR (Fair Access to Insurance) Plans, which are designed to offer coverage for some natural circumstances, such as wind and hail, in high-risk areas.

Illinois fire and casualty companies are among the US leaders. State Farm is based in Bloomington, and Allstate, a subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck, is in Chicago. Blue Cross-Blue Shield, the nation's largest hospital and medical insurance program, is headquartered in Chicago.

In 2004, 58% of state residents held employment-based health insurance policies, 5% held individual policies, and 21% were covered under Medicare and Medicaid; 14% of residents were uninsured. In 2003, employee contributions for employment-based health coverage averaged 17% for single coverage and 23% for family coverage. The state offers a nine-month health benefits expansion program for small-firm employees in connection with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA, 1986), a health insurance program for those who lose employment-based coverage due to termination or reduction of work hours.

In 2003, there were over 7.3 million auto insurance policies in effect for private passenger cars. Required minimum coverage includes bodily injury liability of up to $20,000 per individual and $40,000 for all persons injured in an accident, as well as property damage liability of $15,000. Uninsured motorist coverage is also mandatory. In 2003, the average expenditure per vehicle for insurance coverage was $760.98.


The Chicago Stock Exchange (CHX) is the third most active stock exchange in the United States by volume. It was founded in 1882. After a 1949 merger with the St. Louis, Cleveland, and Minneapolis/St. Paul stock exchanges, the organization was known as the Midwest Stock Exchange. The New Orleans Stock Exchange was added to the group in 1959. The name reverted back to Chicago Stock Exchange in 1993. As of 2006, the CHX trades over 3,500 NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ, and CHX-exclusive issues.

The most intensive trading in Chicago takes place on the three major commodity exchanges. The Chicago Board of Trade has set agricultural prices for the world since 1848, especially in soybeans, corn, and wheat. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange specializes in pork bellies (bacon), live cattle, potatoes, and eggs; since 1972, it has also provided a market for world currency futures. The Mid-America Commodity Exchange, the smallest of the three, has a colorful ancestry dating from 1868. It features small-lot futures contracts on soybeans, silver, corn, wheat, and live hogs.

In 2005, there were 3,540 personal financial advisers employed in the state and 14,940 securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents. In 2004, there were over 449 publicly traded companies within the state, with over 120 NASDAQ companies, 195 NYSE listings, and 53 AMEX listings. In 2006, the state had 32 Fortune 500 companies; State Farm Insurance Companies (with mutual funds listed on NASDAQ) ranked first in the state and 22nd in the nation with revenues of over $59.2 million, followed by the NYSE listed Boeing, Sears Holdings, Walgreens, and Motorola.


Among the larger states, Illinois is known for its low taxes and conservative fiscal policy. The Bureau of the Budget, under the governor's control, has major responsibility for the state's overall fiscal program, negotiating annually with key legislators, cabinet officers, and outside pressure groups. The governor then submits the budget to the legislature for amendment and approval. The fiscal year (FY) runs from 1 July to 30 June.

Fiscal year 2006 general funds were estimated at $27.5 billion for resources and $27.0 billion for expenditures. In fiscal year 2004, federal government grants to Illinois were nearly $16.5 billion.

In the federal budget for the 2007 fiscal year, Illinois was slated to receive $233.1 million for major cities throughout the state to fund buses, railcars, and maintenance facilities essential to sustaining public transportation systems that serve their communities; $96.6 million for the renovation of the Dirksen US Courthouse in Chicago, including the modernization of building systems and the

IllinoisState Government Finances
(Dollar amounts in thousands. Per capita amounts in dollars.)
Abbreviations and symbols: - zero or rounds to zero; (NA) not available; (X) not applicable.
source: U.S. Census Bureau, Governments Division, 2004 Survey of State Government Finances, January 2006.
Total Revenue 61,255,138 4,818.69
  General revenue 46,518,645 3,659.43
    Intergovernmental revenue 14,172,550 1,114.90
    Taxes 25,490,593 2,005.24
      General sales 6,922,587 544.57
      Selective sales 5,603,955 440.84
      License taxes 2,385,596 187.66
      Individual income tax 8,139,558 640.31
      Corporate income tax 2,068,574 162.73
      Other taxes 370,323 29.13
    Current charges 3,211,635 252.65
    Miscellaneous general revenue 3,643,867 286.65
  Utility revenue - -
  Liquor store revenue - -
  Insurance trust revenue 14,736,493 1,159.26
Total expenditure 53,429,176 4,203.05
  Intergovernmental expenditure 13.303,609 1,046.54
  Direct expenditure 40,125,567 3,156.51
    Current operation 26,072,092 2,050.98
    Capital outlay 2,467,325 194.09
    Insurance benefits and repayments 7,620,381 599.46
    Assistance and subsidies 1,280,524 100.73
    Interest on debt 2,685,245 211.24
Exhibit: Salaries and wages 5,974,189 469.96
Total expenditure 53,429,176 4,203.05
  General expenditure 45,808,795 3,603.59
    Intergovernmental expenditure 13,303,609 1,046.54
    Direct expenditure 32,505,186 2,557.05
  General expenditures, by function:
    Education 15,272,814 1,201.45
    Public welfare 12,694,089 998.59
    Hospitals 994,622 78.24
    Health 2,696,902 212.15
    Highways 3,096,955 243.62
    Police protection 399,085 31.39
    Correction 1,284,453 101.04
    Natural resources 395,095 31.08
    Parks and recreation 373,134 29.35
    Government administration 1,395,966 109.81
    Interest on general debt 2,685,245 211.24
    Other and unallocable 4,520,435 355.60
  Utility expenditure - -
  Liquor store expenditure - -
  Insurance trust expenditure 7,620,381 599.46
Debt at end of fiscal year 48,726,054 3,833.08
Cash and security holdings 104,783,007 8,242.84

renovation of interior space; $42.8 million to continue the construction and rehabilitation of transit rail systems in Chicago; $38 million in incremental funding for a $152 million project for the construction of a US I-80 to I-88 north-south connector in Illinois; $37.5 million in incremental funding for a $150 million project for the Mississippi River Bridge in Illinois; $13.5 million to improve public transportation in Illinois for the elderly, persons with disabilities, and persons with lower-incomes providing access to job and health care facilities; and $12.4 million to provide transportation in rural areas statewide meeting the needs of individuals that may have no other means of transportation.


In 2005, Illinois collected $26,412 million in tax revenues or $2,069 per capita, which placed it 29th among the 50 states in per capita tax burden. The national average was $2,192 per capita. Property taxes accounted for 0.2% of the total, sales taxes 27.2%, selective sales taxes 23.3%, individual income taxes 30.1%, corporate income taxes 8.3%, and other taxes 10.9%.

As of 1 January 2006, Illinois had one individual income tax bracket of 3.0%. The state taxes corporations at a flat rate of 7.3%.

In 2004, state and local property taxes amounted to $17,888,828,000 or $1,407 per capita. The per capita amount ranks the state ninth nationally. Local governments collected $17,831,744,000 of the total and the state government $57,084,000.

Illinois taxes retail sales at a rate of 6.25%. In addition to the state tax, local taxes on retail sales can reach as much as 3%, making for a potential total tax on retail sales of 9.25%. Food purchased for consumption off premises is taxable although at a lower rate. The tax on cigarettes is 98 cents per pack, which ranks 21st among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Illinois taxes gasoline at 20.1 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax on gasoline.

According to the Tax Foundation, for every federal tax dollar sent to Washington in 2004, Illinois citizens received $0.73 in federal spending.


The state's policy toward economic development has engendered political controversy since the 1830s. Before the Civil War, the Democrats in power usually tried to slow, though not reverse, the tide of rapid industrial and commercial growth. The Republican ascendancy between the 1850s and the 1930s (with a few brief interruptions) produced a generally favorable business climate, which in turn fostered rapid economic growth. The manufacturing sector eroded slowly in the 1960s and 1970s, as incentives and tax credits for new industry were kept at a modest level. In 1989, however, the state began to aggressively encourage companies undergoing modernization or commercializing new technologies by enacting the Technology Advancement and Development Act, which invests in companies developing advanced technologies for commercial purposes.

In 2006, the lead government agency coordinating economic development programs was the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), previously called the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. The name change indicated a shift in emphasis toward inclusion ("no community left behind") in the economic downturn that followed the prosperous 1990sa shift, for instance, from primary emphasis on keeping up with the latest digital technology (as in the government's Science and Technology Initiative of 2000 that included "technology challenge" business and educational grants, and research funding) to a concern with bridging the "digital divide." The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) was given managerial control of the Team Illinois initiative, which featured the pooling of resources of virtually every state agency, including the DCEO, to address the needs of the state's poorest communities. The goal of Team Illinois was to work with residents, elected officials, local business leaders, and community stakeholders to help build needed infrastructure. The creation of public-private partnerships and the empowerment of community stakeholders were to be central parts of the approach. Hopkins Park in Pembroke Township, a rural community in Kankakee County, was the first of four communities scheduled to receive Team Illinois assistance. Infrastructural improvements under way included road repair, a new Technology Learning Center, public-private partnerships to build affordable housing, the removal and cleanup of tire dumps (by the Illinois EPA), and health screenings and immunizations (by the Department of Public Health). Internationally, the DCEO's role is that of the "sales department for Illinois." It maintains trade and investment offices in Toronto, Mexico City, Tokyo, Warsaw, Johannesburg, Brussels, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. The promotion of jobs, tourism, minority-owned enterprises, and foreign markets for Illinois products is the department's major responsibility. The assistance by the DCEO includes equity capital and low interest loans for small businesses; low-interest financing to communities undergoing infrastructure improvements which help create or retain jobs; tax-exempt bonds for companies expanding or renovating their physical plant; and grants for employee training and retraining.


The infant mortality rate in October 2005 was estimated at 7.6 per 1,000 live births. The birth rate in 2003 was 14.4 per 1,000 population. The abortion rate stood at 23.2 per 1,000 women in 2000. In 2003, about 85.4% of pregnant woman received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester. In 2004, approximately 83% of children received routine immunizations before the age of three.

The crude death rate in 2002 was 8.5 deaths per 1,000 population. The same year, the death rates for major causes of death (per 100,000 resident population) were as follows: heart disease, 244.6; cancer, 196.3; cerebrovascular diseases, 57; chronic lower respiratory diseases, 38.3; and diabetes, 23.9. The mortality rate from HIV infection was 3.9 per 100,000 population. In 2004, the reported AIDS case rate was at about 13.2 per 100,000 population. In 2002, about 55.8% of the populations was considered overweight or obese. As of 2004, about 22.2% of state residents were smokers.

Hospitals abound in Illinois, with Chicago serving as a diagnostic and treatment center for patients throughout the Midwest. In 2003, Illinois had 192 community hospitals with about 35,000 beds. There were about 1.5 million patient admissions that year and 27 million outpatient visits. The average daily inpatient census was about 22,400 patients. The average cost per day for hospital care was $1,497. Also in 2003, there were about 827 certified nursing facilities in the state with 106,734 beds and an overall occupancy rate of about 74.8%. In 2004, it was estimated that about 72.6% of all state residents had received some type of dental care within the year. Illinois had 284 physicians per 100,000 resident population in 2004 and 803 nurses per 100,000 in 2005. In 2004, there was a total of 7,958 dentists in the state.

In 2005, University of Chicago Hospitals ranked 14th on the Honor Roll of Best Hospitals 2005 by U.S. News & World Report. In the same report, the hospital ranked seventh in the nation for best care in cancer. Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, ranked within the top 25 hospitals for best reputation in pediatric care.

About 21% of state residents were enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare programs in 2004. Approximately 14% of the state population was uninsured in 2004. In 2003, state health care expenditures totaled $13.2 million.


Prior to the 1930s, social welfare programs were the province of county government and private agencies. Asylums, particularly poor farms, were built in most counties following the Civil War; they provided custodial care for orphans, the very old, the helpless, sick, and itinerant "tramps." Most people who needed help, however, turned to relatives, neighbors, or church agencies. The local and private agencies were overwhelmed by the severe Depression of the 1930s, forcing first the state and then the federal government to intervene. Social welfare programs are implemented by county agencies but funded by local and state taxes and federal aid.

In 2004, about 392,000 people received unemployment benefits, with the average weekly unemployment benefit at $279. In fiscal year 2005, the estimated average monthly participation in the food stamp program included about 1,158,271 persons (520,350 households); the average monthly benefit was about $100.73 per person. That year, the total of benefits paid through the state for the food stamp program was about $1.4 billion.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the system of federal welfare assistance that officially replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in 1997, was reauthorized through the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. TANF is funded through federal block grants that are divided among the states based on an equation involving the number of recipients in each state. In 2004, the state TANF program had 89,000 recipients; state and federal expenditures on this TANF program totaled $132 million in fiscal year 2003.

In December 2004, Social Security benefits were paid to 1,883,750 Illinois residents. This number included 1,221,330 retired workers, 195,560 widows and widowers, 210,030 disabled workers, 100,520 spouses, and 156,300 children. Social Security beneficiaries represented 14.8% of the total state population and 90.2% of the state's population age 65 and older. Retired workers received an average monthly payment of $993; widows and widowers, $960; disabled workers, $924; and spouses, $498. Payments for children of retired workers averaged $492 per month; children of deceased workers, $652; and children of disabled workers, $277. Federal Supplemental Security Income payments went to 255,624 Illinois residents in December 2004, averaging $427 a month. An additional $2.3 million of state-administered supplemental payments were distributed to 30,501 residents.


Flimsy cabins and shacks provided rude shelter for many Illinoisans in pioneer days. Later, the balloon-frame house, much cheaper to build than traditional structures, became a trademark of the Prairie State. After a third of Chicago's wooden houses burned in 1871, the city moved to enforce more stringent building codes. The city's predominant dwelling then became the three- or five-story brick apartment house. Great mansions were built in elite areas of Chicago (first Prairie Avenue, later the Gold Coast), and high-rise lakefront luxury apartments first became popular in the 1920s. In the 1970s, Chicago pioneered the conversion of luxury apartment buildings to condominiums.

In 2004, there were an estimated 5,094,186 housing units in Illinois, of which 4,659,791 were occupied; 69.2% were owner occupied. About 58.9% of all units were single-family, detached homes. Most units rely on utility gas for heating. It was estimated that 247,234 units were without telephone service, 15,492 lacked complete plumbing facilities, and 16,789 lacked complete kitchen facilities. The average household had 2.66 members.

In 2004, 59,800 new privately owned units were authorized for construction. The median home value was $167,711. The median monthly cost for mortgage owners was $1,370, while renters paid a median of $698 per month. In 2006, the state received over $32.4 million in community development block grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The city of Chicago received similar grants of over $85 million.


In 1854, Ninian Edwards became the first superintendent of public education. His first and most difficult task was to convince pioneer parents that a formal education was a necessary part of the lives of their children. By the mid-1870s, education in Illinois had become a going enterprise. Edwards helped create an outstanding public school system, although the city of Chicago was hard-pressed to construct enough school buildings to serve the growing numbers of students until foreign immigration subsided in the 1920s. The dedication of these educators continued to improve the quality of education, but it was not until the development of a good highway system and state funding for the transporting of students that rural Illinois would see the demise of one-room schoolhouses. In one decade, 194454, state-mandated school consolidation/reorganization reduced the number of school districts from 11,955 to 2,607.

In 2004, 86.8% of the Illinois population 25 years and over held high school diplomas, with 27.4% continuing their education and earning a bachelor's degree or higher.

Total public school enrollment for fall 2002 stood at 2,084,000. Of these, 1,488,00 attended schools from kindergarten through grade eight, and 597,000 attended high school. Approximately 57.4% of the students were white, 21.1% were black, 17.7% were Hispanic, 3.6% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.2% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Total enrollment was estimated at 2,086,000 in fall 2003 and expected to be 2,118,000 by fall 2014, an increase of 1.6% during the period 200214. Expenditures for public education in 2003/04 were estimated at $21 billion. Non-public schools, dominated by Chicago's extensive Roman Catholic school system, have shown a slight decrease since the early 1980s. In fall 2003, 270,490 students were enrolled in 1,346 private schools. Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has tested public school students nationwide. The resulting report, The Nation's Report Card, stated that in 2005, eighth graders in Illinois scored 278 out of 500 in mathematics, the same as the national average.

As of fall 2002, there were 776,622 students enrolled in college or graduate school; minority students comprised 31% of total postsecondary enrollment. As of 2005, Illinois had 173 degree-granting institutions. The University of Illinois system has both the largest and smallest public university campuses. The University of Illinois at Springfield was formerly Sangamon State University. Champaign-Urbana is the state's most populous campus. Nearly half of all Illinois college students attend one of the state's 48 public community colleges.


The Illinois Arts Council was founded in 1965. In 2005, state organizations received 92 grants totaling $2,903,600 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Illinois Humanities Council, founded in 1974, offers programs that include a lecture/presentation series program called the Heartland Chautauqua and the Odyssey Project, as of 2006 an ongoing opportunity, which offers free college-level courses in the humanities to individuals with incomes below the poverty level. In 2005, the National Endowment for the Humanities sponsored 49 grants for state programs, with a total contribution of $5,957,480. A humanities fellowship of $210,000 was awarded to the American Institute of Indian Studies in Chicago in 2003.

Chicago emerged in the late 19th century as the leading arts center of the Midwest, and as of 2005, it continued to hold this premier position. The major downstate facilities include the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), founded in 1969having served more than 350,000 people annually.

Architecture is the outstanding art form in Illinois. Chicagowhere the first skyscrapers were built in the 1880shas been a mecca for modern commercial and residential architects ever since the fire of 1871. The Art Institute of Chicago, incorporated in 1879, is the leading art museum in the state. Although its holdings, largely donated by wealthy Chicagoans, cover all the major periods, its French Impressionist collection is especially noteworthy. In 2005, the Art Institute of Chicago revealed the master plans for a new buildingthe last addition to the museum was made in 1988. The museum commissioned architect Renzo Piano to design the $200 million project; the new building was scheduled to open to the public in 2009. Another example of bold contemporary architecture is the $l72-million State of Illinois Center in Chicago, which opened in 1985.

Theater groups aboundthere were 116 theatrical producers in 1982notably in Chicago, where the Second City comedy troupe and the Steppenwolf Theatre are located; the city's best playwrights and performers, however, often gravitate to Broadway in New York or Hollywood. Film production was an important industry in Illinois before 1920, when operations shifted to the sunnier climate and more opulent production facilities of southern California. By the early 1980s, however, the Illinois Film Office had staged an impressive comeback, and television films and motion pictures were being routinely shot in the state. In 2004, films shot in Illinois included Spiderman 2, I Robot, Oceans 12, and Batman Begins.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, organized by Theodore Thomas in 1891, quickly acquired world stature; its permanent conductors have included Frederick Stock, Fritz Reiner, Sir George Solti, who regularly took the symphony on triumphant European tours, and Daniel Barenboim (since 1991). German immigrants founded many musical societies in Chicago in the late 19th century, when the city also became a major center of musical education. Opera flourished in Chicago in the early 20th century, collapsed during the early 1930s, but was reborn through the founding of the Lyric Opera in 1954. Chicago's most original musical contribution was jazz, imported from the South by black musicians in the 1920s. Such jazz greats as King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Benny Goodman, and Gene Krupa all worked or learned their craft in the speakeasies and jazz houses of the city's South Side. More recently, Chicago became the center of an urban blues movement, using electric rather than acoustic guitars and influenced by jazz. The Jazz Institute of Chicago was founded in 1969 and provides such programs as the Jazz Fair, also known as, the Winter Delights Jazz Fair and the JazzCity Series.

The seamy side of Chicago has fascinated writers throughout the 20th century. Well-known American novels set in Chicago include two muckraking works, Frank Norris's The Pit (1903) and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906), as well as James T. Farrell's Studs Lonigan (1935) and Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March (1953). Famous American plays associated with Chicago are The Front Page (1928), by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, and A Raisin in the Sun (1959), by Lorraine Hansberry.


For the fiscal year ending in June 2001, Illinois had 629 public library systems, with a total of 786 libraries, of which 157 were branches. Libraries and library science are particularly strong in Illinois. In that same year, the state's public library systems had a combined book and serial publications stock of 41,620,000 volumes and a total circulation of 83,703,000. The system also had 1,991,000 audio and 1,309,000 video items, 412,000 electronic format items (CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and disks), and 25 bookmobiles. The facilities in Peoria, Oak Park, Evanston, Rockford, and Quincy are noteworthy; the Chicago Public Library system (with 6,490,452 volumes) operates 89 branch libraries and the Illinois Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The outstanding libraries of the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and the University of Chicago (with over 8,000,000 and 6,419,936 volumes respectively) constitute the state's leading research facilities, and the University of Illinois has a famous library school. Principal historical collections are located at the Newberry Library in Chicago, the Illinois State Historical Society in Springfield, and the Chicago Historical Society. In fiscal year 2001, operating income for the public library system totaled $512,341,000, which included $2,850,000 in federal grants and $37,445,000 in state grants.

Illinois has 277 museums and historical sites. Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, with an annual attendance of over 1.2 million, has sponsored numerous worldwide expeditions in the course of acquiring some 13 million anthropological, zoological, botanical, and geological specimens. The Museum of Science and Industry, near the University of Chicago, attracts two million visitors a year, mostly children, to see its exhibits of industrial technology. Also noteworthy are the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and the Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago. The Brookfield Zoo, near Chicago, opened in 1934; smaller zoos can be found in Chicago's Lincoln Park and in Peoria, Elgin, and other cities.

Just about every town has one or more historic sites authenticated by the state. The most popular is New Salem, near Springfield, where Abraham Lincoln lived from 1831 to 1837. Its reconstruction, begun by press magnate William Randolph Hearst in 1906, includes one original cabin and numerous replicas. The most important archaeological sites are the Dixon Mounds, 40 mi (64 km) south of Peoria, and the Koster Excavation in Calhoun County, north of St. Louis, Missouri.


Illinois has an extensive communications system. The state's households with telephones numbered about 90.1% of all households in 2004. In addition, by June of that same year there were 7,529,966 mobile wireless telephone subscribers. In 2003, 60.0% of Illinois households had a computer and 51.1% had Internet access. By June 2005, there were 1,854,004 high-speed lines in Illinois, 1,658,639 residential and 195,365 for business.

Illinois had 36 major AM and 130 major FM commercial radio stations in 2005, when 31 major television stations served the state. In 1999, the Chicago area had the third-largest number of television households of all metropolitan areas (3,204,710), with cable in 65%.

In 1979, WGN-TV in Chicago became a "superstation," with sports programs, movies, and advertising. Although the three major networks own stations in Chicago, they originate very little programming from the city. However, as a major advertising center, Chicago produces many commercials and industrial films. Most educational broadcasting in Illinois comes from state universities and the Chicago public and Catholic school systems.

A total of 259,713 Internet domain names were registered in the state in the year 2000.


The state's first newspaper, the Illinois Herald, was begun in Kas-kaskia in 1814. From the 1830s through the end of the 19th century, small-town weeklies exerted powerful political influence. After 1900, however, publishers discovered that they needed large circulations to appeal to advertisers, so they toned down their partisanship and began adding a broad range of features to attract a wider audience.

The most popular magazines published in Chicago are Playboy and Ebony. Many specialized trade and membership magazines, such as the Lion and the Rotarian, are published in Chicago, which is also the printing and circulation center for many magazines edited in New York. The popular Cricket Magazine for children is published in LaSalle-Peru.

As of 2005, Illinois had 26 morning newspapers (including all-day papers), 41 evening dailies, and 32 Sunday papers. The Illinois editions of St. Louis newspapers are also widely read. The Chicago Tribune was the eighth-largest daily and fourth-largest Sunday newspaper nationwide in 2005, based on circulation figures.

The following table shows the state's leading dailies with their 2005 estimated circulations:

Chicago Sun-Times (m,S) 481,980 377,640
Tribune (m,S) 600,988 963,927
Peoria Journal Star (m,S) 76,879 87,188
Rockford Register Star (m,S) 64,518 77,183
Springfield State Journal-Register (m,S) 55,334 64,548

In 2005, there were 459 weekly publications in Illinois. Of these there are 310 paid weeklies, 64 free weeklies, and 85 combined weeklies. The total circulation of paid weeklies (1,420,940) and free weeklies (1,459,988) is 2,880,938. The Chicago paid weekly, Southwest News-Herald, ranked fifth in the United States based on its circulation of 54,000, and the Des Plaines, Mount Prospect Journal, ranked second in the United States based on circulation for combined weeklies, 90,996. Two Illinois shopping publicationsthe Chicago Local Values (1,672,500) and the Tinley Park Penny Saver (456,953)ranked second and twelfth in the United States, respectively.


Before the Civil War, Yankee-dominated towns and cities in northern Illinois sponsored lyceums, debating circles, women's clubs, temperance groups, and antislavery societies. During the 20th century, Chicago's size and central location attracted the headquarters of numerous national organizations, though far fewer than New York or, more recently, Washington, D.C.

In 2006, there were over 15,985 nonprofit organizations registered within the state, of which about 10,432 were registered as charitable, educational, or religious organizations. Major national service and fraternal bodies with headquarters in Chicago or nearby suburbs include the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the USA, Lions Clubs International, Loyal Order of Moose, and Rotary International.

Chicago has long been a center for professional organizations, among them the most powerful single US medical group, the American Medical Association, founded in 1847, and the American Hospital Association, begun in 1898. Other major groups include associations of surgeons, dentists, veterinarians, osteopaths, and dietitians, as well as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and the National Easter Seal Society. The national offices of the Alzheimer's Association are in Chicago.

The American Bar Association has its headquarters in Chicago, as do several smaller legal groups, including the American Judicature Society and the Commercial Law League of America. Librarians also have a base in Chicago; the American Library Association, the Society of American Archivists, and the associations of law and medical librarians are all headquartered in the city. The National Parent-Teacher Association is the only major national educational group. The Illinois State Historical Society promotes the study of state history.

A variety of trade organizations, such as the American Marketing Association, are based in Chicago, though many have moved to Washington, D.C. The American Farm Bureau Federation operates out of Park Ridge. The National Dairy Council is also based in the state. State agricultural organizations include the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the Illinois Christmas Tree Association, and the Illinois Soybean Association. The National Women's Christian Temperance Union, one of the most important of all US pressure groups in the 19th century, has its headquarters in Evanston. The World Bocce Association is based in Elmhurst.


The tourist industry is of special importance to Chicago, which has become the nation's leading convention center. Business travel accounts for 36% of all state travel in 2004, when tourism and travel expenditures contributed some $24 billion to the state economy. Over 300,000 people were employed in the industry. In 2004, Illinois generated $764 billion in tourism payroll.

Chicago's chief tourist attractions are its museums, restaurants, and shops. Chicago also boasts the world's tallest building, the Sears Tower, which is 110 stories and 1,454 feet (443 meters) high. Chicago entertains visitors with museums (Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, and Art Institute), shopping (Magnificent Mile along Michigan Avenue), and the Brookfield Zoo. There are 42 state parks, 4 state forests, 36,659 campsites, and 25 state recreation places. Downtown Chicago is home to many public beaches and recreation areas on Lake Michigan. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield was one of the state's most popular tourist attractions; the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum opened to the public on 14 October 2004 (library) and 16-19 April 2005 (museum). Galesburg, Illinois is the home of poet Carl Sandburg. In Nauvoo, visitors can see a re-creation of the original Mormon Temple. Spoon River Drive, in Fulton County, will take tourists past places mentioned in Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology. Hartford, Illinois, has a Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The Ronald Reagan home and visitor center is located in Dixon, Illinois. Swimming, bicycling, hiking, camping, horseback riding, fishing, and motorboating are the most popular recreational activities. Even more popular than hunting is wildlife observation, an activity that engages millions of Illinoisans annually.


Illinois has six major professional sports teams, all of which play in Chicago: the Cubs and the White Sox of Major League Baseball, the Bears of the National Football League, the Bulls of the National Basketball Association, the Fire of Major League Soccer, and the Blackhawks of the National Hockey League.

The Cubs last won a World Series in 1908, the White Sox in 1917. The Bears won the Super Bowl in 1985. The Bulls established a remarkable basketball dynasty fueled by the play of Michael Jordan, perhaps the best athlete in the history of basketball, winning National Basketaball Association (NBA) championships in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998. They were the first basketball team to win three consecutive championships since the Boston Celtics set the probably unbreakable record of eight consecutive titles from 1959 to 1966. The Bulls' string of titles ended, however, as Jordan retired in 1999 and the title-winning team was dismantled. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 1934, 1938, and 1961. The state also has minor league baseball, basketball, and hockey teams.

The White Sox built a new ballpark, Comiskey Park, which opened in 1993. The Cubs play their home games at Wrigley Field, perhaps one of the most venerable parks because of its ivy-covered outfield walls. Horse racing is very popular in the state, with parimutuel betting allowed. The Golden Glove Boxing Tournament is held annually in February in Chicago.

In collegiate sports, the emphasis is on basketball and football. The University of Illinois and Northwestern University compete in the Big Ten Conference. Illinois won the Rose Bowl in 1947, 1952, and 1964 and was named National Champion in 1923. In a remarkable revival of its football program, Northwestern won its first Big Ten title in 46 years in 1995. The Northwestern Wildcats played in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1949, when they recorded their only victory in the New Year's Day game. Southern Illinois won the National Invitational Tournament in basketball in 1967. The DePaul Blue Demons of Conference USA consistently rank high among college basketball teams.


Abraham Lincoln (b.Kentucky, 180965), 16th president of the United States, is the outstanding figure in Illinois history, having lived and built his political career in the state between 1830 and 1861. The only Illinois native to be elected president is Ronald Reagan (19112004), who left the state after graduating from Eureka College to pursue his film and political careers in California. Ulysses S. Grant (b.Ohio, 182285), the nation's 18th president, lived in Galena on the eve of the Civil War. Adlai E. Stevenson (b.Kentucky, 18351914), founder of a political dynasty, served as US vice president from 1893 to 1897, but was defeated for the same office in 1900. His grandson, also named Adlai E. Stevenson (b.California, 190065), served as governor of Illinois from 1949 to 1953, was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956, and ended his career as US ambassador to the United Nations. Charles Gates Dawes (b.Ohio, 18651951), a Chicago financier, served as vice president from 1925 to 1929 and shared the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize for the Dawes Plan to reorganize German finances. William Jennings Bryan (18601925), a leader of the free-silver and Populist movements, was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1896, 1900, and 1908.

US Supreme Court justices associated with Illinois include David Davis (b.Maryland, 181586); John M. Harlan (18991971); Chicago-born Arthur Goldberg (190890), who also served as US secretary of labor and succeeded Stevenson as UN ambassador; Harry A. Blackmun (190897); and John Paul Stevens (b.1920). Melville Fuller (b.Maine, 18331910) served as chief justice from 1888 to 1910.

Many other politicians who played important roles on the national scene drew their support form the people of Illinois. They include Stephen Douglas (b.Vermont, 181361), senator from 1847 to 1861, Democratic Party leader and 1860 presidential candidate, but equally famous as Lincoln's opponent in a series of debates on slavery in 1858; Lyman Trumbull (b.Connecticut, 181396), senator from 1855 to 1873 who helped secure passage of the 13th and 14th amendments to the US Constitution; Joseph "Uncle Joe" Cannon (b.North Carolina, 18361926), Republican congressman from Danville for half a century and autocratic Speaker of the House from 1903 to 1911; Henry Rainey (18601934), Democratic Speaker of the House during 193334; Everett McKinley Dirksen (18961969), senator and colorful Republican leader during the 1950s and 1960s; Charles H. Percy (b.Florida, 1919), Republican senator from 1967 to 1985; John B. Anderson (b.1922), Republican congressman for 20 years and an independent presidential candidate in 1980; and Robert H. Michel (b.1923), House Republican leader in the 1980s.

Noteworthy governors of the state, in addition to Stevenson, were Richard Yates (b.Kentucky, 181573), who maintained Illinois's loyalty to the Union during the Civil War and Richard J. Daley (190276) was the Democratic boss and mayor of Chicago from 1955 to 1976.

Phyllis Schlafly (b.Missouri, 1924) of Alton became nationally known as an antifeminist conservative crusader during the 1970s. An outstanding Illinoisan was Jane Addams (18601935), founder of Hull House (1889), author, reformer, prohibitionist, feminist, and tireless worker for world peace; in 1931, she shared the Nobel Peace Prize. A Nobel award in literature went to Saul Bellow (b.Canada, 19152005), and the economics prize was given to Milton Friedman (b.New York, 1912), leader of the so-called Chicago School of economists, and to Theodore Schultz (b.South Dakota, 190298) in 1979.

Some of the most influential Illinoisans have been religious leaders; many of them also exercised social and political influence. Notable are Methodist circuit rider Peter Cartwright (b.Virginia, 17851872); Dwight Moody (b.Massachusetts, 183799), leading force in the National Women's Christian Temperance Union and the feminist cause; Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini (b.Italy, 18501917), the first American to be canonized; Bishop Fulton J. Sheen (18951979), influential spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church; Elijah Muhammad (Elijah Poole, b.Georgia, 18971975), leader of the Black Muslim movement; and Jesse Jackson (b.North Carolina, 1941), civil rights leader and one of the most prominent black spokesmen of the 1980s and 1990s.

Outstanding business and professional leaders who lived in Illinois include John Deere (b.Vermont, 180486), industrialist and inventor of the steel plow; Cyrus Hall McCormick (b.Virginia, 180984), inventor of the reaping machine; Nathan Davis (18171904), the "father of the American Medical Association"; railroad car inventor George Pullman (b.New York 183197); meatpacker Philip Armour (b.New York, 18321901); merchant Marshall Field (b.Massachusetts, 18341906); merchant Aaron Montgomery Ward (b.New Jersey, 18431913); sporting-goods manufacturer Albert G. Spalding (18501915); breakfast-food manufacturer Charles W. Post (18541911); William Rainey Harper (b.Ohio, 18561906), first president of the University of Chicago; and lawyer Clarence Darrow (b.Ohio, 18571938).

Artists who worked for significant periods in Illinois (usually in Chicago) include architects William Le Baron Jenney (b.Massachusetts, 18321907), Dankmar Adler (b.Germany, 18441900), Daniel H. Burnham (b.New York, 18461912), John Wellborn Root (b.Georgia, 185091), Louis Sullivan (b.Massachusetts, 18561924), Frank Lloyd Wright (b.Wisconsin, 18691959), and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (b.Germany, 18861969).

Important writers include humorist Finley Peter Dunne (18671936), creator of the fictional saloonkeeper-philosopher Mr. Dooley, and novelists Hamlin Garland (b.Wisconsin, 18601940), Edgar Rice Burroughs (18751950), John Dos Passos (18961970), Ernest Hemingway (18991961), and James Farrell (190479).

Performing artists connected with the state include opera stars Mary Garden (b.Scotland, 18771967) and Sherrill Milnes (b.1935); clarinetist Benny Goodman (190986); pop singers Mel Torme (192599) and Grace Slick (b.1939); jazz musician Miles Davis (b.192691); showmen Gower Champion (192180) and Robert Louis "Bob" Fosse (b.192787); comedians Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky, 18941974), Harvey Korman (b.1927), Bob Newhart (b.1929), and Richard Pryor (19402005); and a long list of stage and screen stars, including Gloria Swanson (18991983), Ralph Bellamy (b.190491), Robert Young (190798), Karl Malden (Malden Sekulovich, b.1913), William Holden (191881), Jason Robards Jr. (19222000), Charlton Heston (b.1922), Rock Hudson (Roy Fitzgerald, 192585), Donald O'Connor (19252003), Bruce Dern (b.1936), and Raquel Welch (Raquel Tejeda, b.1942).

Dominant figures in the Illinois sports world include Ernest "Ernie" Banks (b.Texas, 1931) of the Chicago Cubs; Robert "Bobby" Hull (b.Canada, 1939) of the Chicago Black Hawks; owner George Halas (189583); and running backs Harold Edward "Red" Grange (b.Pennsylvania, 190391), Gale Sayers (b.Kansas, 1943), and Walter Payton (b.Mississippi, 195499) of the Chicago Bears; and collegiate football coach Amos Alonzo Stagg (b.New Jersey, 18621965).


Best, Wallace D. Passionately Human, No Less Divine: Religion and Culture in Black Chicago, 19151952. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2005.

Biles, Roger. Illinois: A History of the Land and Its People. De Kalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2005.

Carrier, Lois. Illinois: Crossroads of a Continent. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

Council of State Governments. The Book of the States, 2006 Edition. Lexington, Ky.: Council of State Governments, 2006.

Hendricks, Wanda A. Gender, Race, and Politics in the Midwest: Black Club Women in Illinois. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

Gove, Samuel Kimball. Illinois Politics and Government: The Expanding Metropolitan Frontier. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.

Illinois, State of. Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. Illinois Data Book, Springfield: Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. 1994.

Petterchak, Janice A. (ed.). Illinois History: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1995.

Simeone, James. Democracy and Slavery in Frontier Illinois: The Bottomland Republic. De Kalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2000.

Striner, Richard. Father Abraham: Lincoln's Relentless Struggle to End Slavery. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, US Census Bureau. Illinois, 2000. Summary Social, Economic, and Housing Characteristics: 2000 Census of Population and Housing. Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2003.

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ILLINOIS. The fertile plains of Illinois have served as a center for commerce and transportation since prehistoric times. Located in the center of the North American continent, Illinois has boundaries that are largely defined by three great rivers—the Mississippi, Ohio, and Wabash—and by the southern shore of Lake Michigan. A Paleo-Indian culture existed in Illinois at least as early as 8000 b.c.e. About 1000 c.e. a great Woodland (or Mississippian) Indian culture established its capital at Cahokia, near present-day East St. Louis. Here at least twenty thousand inhabitants built huge earthen mounds, fortified their city with an elaborate log stockade, conducted trade with peoples on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and dominated the economic and political life of the Mississippi River valley. Cahokia had been abandoned for two hundred years or more when the first Europeans arrived. In 1673 Jacques Marquette, a French Jesuit priest, and Louis Jolliet (Joliet) explored the Fox and Illinois rivers by canoe and met with peaceful Illini and Kaskaskia Indians. With their Indian guides the two French explorers reached the Mississippi River. Jolliet observed that a canal dug at the strategic portage where the Chicago River disappeared into the sandy marshes along the shore of Lake Michigan would link the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. On a return voyage in 1675, Marquette established his first mission, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, on the north bank of the Illinois River. By 1680 the location of Marquette's mission was occupied by the Grand Village of the Kaskaskia (or Grand Village of the Illinois) and had grown to nearly seven thousand residents under the leadership of the French adventurer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, who also built Fort Crevecoeur, near the present site of Peoria, and Fort St. Louis, at Starved Rock near La Salle, in 1680 and 1682, respectively.

For nearly a century French priests and soldiers slowly established outposts along the rivers of the Illinois country, including the Holy Family mission at Cahokia (near the ancient mound city) in 1699 and Kaskaskia, on the banks of the Mississippi, in 1703. Fort de Chartres developed from a rude wooden stockade to a formidable stone fortress between 1720 and 1753, and was intended to serve as the headquarters of an anticipated French colonial empire stretching across most of the central part of North America. Unable to transplant great numbers of settlers, the French colonial administration monitored trade with the Indians and governed with only a modest military presence. Overextended and outnumbered by the expansion of British colonization into the Ohio River valley, the French ultimately lost a war for empire in North America. In 1763, following the French and Indian War, the British gained control of all French lands in North America under the terms of the Treaty of Paris and, after delays caused by Pontiac's War, the British military peacefully took possession of the great Fort de Chartres. With the arrival of the British, many of the French abandoned Illinois and relocated across the Mississippi in the area around St. Louis, Missouri. In 1774 the British Parliament, anxious to assure their French subjects in the Mississippi valley that they would be well and effectively governed, passed the Quebec Act, placing all of the area that would become the Old Northwest, including Illinois, under the control of British authorities in Canada. This action nullified claims to this area by colonies such as Virginia, and was viewed as one of the "Intolerable Acts" by the Americans on the eve of the Revolutionary War.

During the American Revolution, George Rogers Clark led a Virginia militia unit across southern Illinois on foot to attack a surprised British garrison at Kaskaskia on 4 July 1778. Clark claimed all of Illinois for his native state. Virginia relinquished its claim on 1 March 1784, and Illinois (along with Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and all of Minnesota east of the Mississippi River) became part of the Northwest Territory governed under the Ordinances of 1785 and 1787. Conflicts between Indians and land-hungry white settlers defined the territorial period, and in 1811 the ineffective territorial governor, Ninian Edwards, sadly informed native chiefs: "My Children, I have found it almost impossible to prevent white people from rushing to your towns, to destroy your corn, burn your property, take your women and children prisoners, and murder your warriors." Still, Indian resistance led by Tecumseh's federation slowed white settlement, and the massacre of the garrison at Fort Dearborn (Chicago) in 1812 spread terror throughout the frontier.

Following the War of 1812, Indian resistance to white settlement was largely eliminated, and settlers streamed into southern Illinois, via the Ohio River, from Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. Meanwhile, pioneers from New England and the Middle Atlantic states arrived in northern Illinois, often through the Great Lakes. The distinct political and cultural differences still evident in Illinois can be traced to this early settlement pattern. On 3 December 1818 the Illinois Territory became the nation's twenty-first state, with a northern boundary set at 42§30' to provide a generous shoreline on Lake Michigan and land for fourteen northern counties. At the time of its admission to the Union, Illinois probably had only about thirty-five thousand white inhabitants and several thousand slaves, most of them scattered on hardscrabble farms alongcrude trails in the southernmost part of the state between Shawneetown, on the Ohio River, and Kaskaskia. Much of the land along the Mississippi, known as the "American Bottom," was swampy, prone to flooding, and notorious for its disease-carrying mosquitoes. With the exception of the lead mining district around Galena in the state's northwest corner, the population in the first decades of statehood remained in the southernmost parts of the state. This rough, hilly region was called "Little Egypt" by the early pioneers, because they felt the land between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers resembled the Nile River delta; as a result of this perceived resemblance, residents in this region named one of their most important towns Cairo. State government was housed at Kaskasia in a small, rented cabin that eventually was carried away by flood waters, and the state's first governor, the semiliterate Shadrach Bond, favored the introduction of slavery as a means of providing a much-needed work force. By 1820 Illinois had fifty-five thousand inhabitants and the capital was moved to Vandalia, the terminus of the new National Road (today U.S. Route 40).

During its formative years the state government grappled with myriad problems resulting from the state's rapid and diverse development. An effort to amend the state's constitution to allow slavery was defeated in an 1824 referendum by a vote of 6,640 to 4,972. However, sympathy for slavery remained strong in southern Illinois, which bordered on the slave states of Kentucky and Missouri. In 1837 Elijah Lovejoy, an abolitionist newspaper publisher, was murdered in Alton and his press destroyed. In 1832, following the brief but bloody Black Hawk War, the Sauk and Fox Indians were forced to relinquish all claims to lands in Illinois. The Illinois governor proved powerless in his feeble attempts to quell anti-Mormon sentiment in western Illinois; in 1844 a vigilante-militia in Carthage murdered the charismatic leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons),

Joseph Smith, and his brother, Hyrum. Several thousand of Smith's followers, under the leadership of Brigham Young, soon abandoned their settlement at Nauvoo and began their journey to Utah. In 1837 the legislature once again moved the capital, this time to Spring field—in the very center of the state and closer to the most fertile and rapidly developing regions. The first decades of statehood witnessed an extraordinary growth in the state's population; it reached nearly half a million people by 1840, almost a tenfold increase since statehood just two decades earlier. Key to this amazing growth, as settlers filled the rich prairie lands of central and northern Illinois, was an excellent transportation system. Steamboats navigated the Mississippi, Ohio, Wabash, and Illinois rivers, facilitating the movement of settlers and goods. The legislature approved "an Act to establish and maintain a general system of internal improvements" in 1837, and this led to the construction of the one-hundred-mile Illinois and Michigan Canal. Opened in 1848, it linked the rising metropolis of Chicago with the Illinois River at La Salle, from which river traffic could proceed from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico. The canal was not commercially successful because it soon faced competition from railroads. Chartered in 1851, the Illinois Central Railroad (for which Abraham Lincoln served as an attorney) used federal and state subsidies, along with $25 million of private capital, to construct more than seven hundred miles of track connecting Chicago with Cairo and Galena to form a Y across the fertile prairie. By the mid-1850s Illinois had the nation's most modern network of railroads and Chicago had become the Midwest's railroad center.

In 1860, the year an Illinois Republican, Abraham Lincoln, was elected president, following his loss to Stephen A. Douglas in the nationally significant election for the U.S. Senate just two years earlier, the state's population had swelled to 1,715,000; over a quarter of a million of them served in the Civil War, and thirty-four thousand died fighting for the Union. Although pro-slavery, Confederate sympathizers (Copperheads) in Illinois organized themselves as the Sons of Liberty or Knights of the Golden Circle and opposed the Union cause, sometimes with violence, there was otherwise little opposition to the war in the state. Meanwhile, Chicago prospered as the Union's central warehouse for military operations in the West.

Between the Civil War and the turn of the century, farmers transformed vast stretches of prairie grassland into neat, square fields of corn and other grains, and pasture for cattle and hogs. However, farm foreclosures caused by high taxes, overproduction, low prices, and exploitation by railroads led to unrest in rural areas. Meanwhile, in Chicago and other industrial centers, and in coal mining towns, expansion brought overcrowding, poor working conditions, and a new flood of immigrant labor. When the major political parties ignored their plight, farmers responded by supporting third-party movements, such as the Grangers and the Populist party. In a victory for rural agitators, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling Munn v. Illinois (1877) established the principle that state legislatures could regulate railroads. Workers sought to join unions, and violent labor clashes and strikes occurred throughout the state. In 1873 a rail strike virtually shut down the state, as did another strike in 1877. At the Hay-market Riot in 1886, a bomb killed seven Chicago policemen and led to the execution of four alleged anarchists the following year. The Pullman strike of 1894 ended with President Grover Cleveland ordering federal troops into Chicago to restore order. Illinois advanced as an agricultural and industrial giant, becoming the nation's third most populace state in 1890, with Chicago (devastated by fire in 1871 but quickly rebuilt) emerging as the nation's "Second City." The state was the national leader in wheat and corn production and second in livestock; it was also a leader in the mining of bituminous (soft) coal. At the same time that steel, farm equipment, and industrial machinery manufacturing grew in the northern cities of Joliet, Rock Island-Moline, Peoria, and Rockford, Chicago, with its port and railroad facilities, steel mills, manufacturing plants, Union Stockyards, and meatpacking businesses served as the hub of commerce in the north central United States. By the early twentieth century the Illinois poet Carl Sandberg could rightly proclaim Chicago the "Hog Butcher of the World" and the "City of Big Shoulders."

Political power in Illinois has traditionally rested in county courthouses and city halls, where local party organizations choose candidates, make key decisions on issues, and dole out favors and patronage. The Democrats and Republicans have generally shared power on a fairly equal basis throughout the state's history. In pre-Civil War Illinois the slavery issue gave Democrats an edge over Whigs and, later, Republicans. However, between the Civil War and the Great Depression, Republicans maintained the upper hand, largely due to the party's strength in the prosperous and rapidly growing northern and central regions of the state, and to its successful efforts to defeat reapportionment of the state legislature. Viewing with alarm the rise of Chicago with its huge and largely ethnic population (mainly Irish and eastern European), "downstate" Republican politicians successfully fought off all reapportionment schemes that would have appropriately recognized Chicago's rapidly growing population, which was 12 percent of the state's total in 1870, 35 percent in 1900, and 44 percent in 1930. Illinois's outmoded constitution of 1848 was replaced in 1870 by a poorly crafted document that neglected to provide home rule for cities, left the office of governor relatively weak, and set up an unorthodox system of cumulative voting that allowed voters to cast a ballot for one, two, or three candidates for the state House of Representatives, thus assuring at least one Republican or Democrat from every district.

Political rivalries in Illinois have traditionally been bitter and complex. Despite the efforts of reform-minded leaders such as Democratic governor John Peter Altgeld (1893–1897) and of a number of Progressives during the early twentieth century, political reform came slowly, and corruption and party patronage have characterized the state's political history. When congressional districts were redrawn, following the 1940 census, Chicago still had less than its correct share of districts. The courts had to force the state legislature's reapportionment in the 1960s; and when no agreement could be hammered out by 1964, all 177 members of the Illinois General Assembly were elected at large. A new state constitution in 1970 finally provided home rule to municipalities, established more equitable tax policies, and strengthened the governor and the state supreme court; but the unorthodox system of cumulative voting was not abandoned until 1981. Political patronage remained a scandal throughout most of the twentieth century in both Chicago and Springfield; and a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1990 (Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois) only altered rather than eliminated the practice. Illinois has more than thirty-six thousand elected officials, and some observers believe politics is so pervasive because so many political units comprise the complex fabric of Illinois government. There are 102 counties in Illinois, 1,300 cities and villages, 1,400 townships, and over 2,500 special governmental districts responsible for such diverse matters as libraries, airports, community colleges, water and sanitation, parks, and mosquito abatement. Illinois also has 960 elected school boards.

Throughout the twentieth century Illinois occupied a place among the nation's agricultural, commercial, and industrial leaders. It was home to such corporate giants as Sears, Montgomery Ward, International Harvester, Kraft Foods, Archer Daniels Midland, John Deere, and Caterpillar Tractor. The Great Depression hit Illinois even harder than other states, and in the early 1930s the state received more federal relief money than New York and Pennsylvania combined. Governor Henry Horner (1933–1941) used a suspension of the property tax to aid farmers and persuaded the legislature to enact taxes on gasoline and liquor (legal after the repeal of Prohibition) to fund relief efforts, but the economy did not fully re-cover until the nation began building up for war in 1940. Following World War II, Illinois enjoyed several decades of prosperity and growth. The completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 transformed Chicago into an international port by linking the Great Lakes to the Atlantic, and by 1970 Chicago's O'Hare Airport was the nation's busiest. Illinois led the nation in corn and soybean production in 1971. The nation's first commercial nuclear power plant was built near Morris, Illinois, in the late 1940s, and Illinois, with its internationally renowned universities—the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois—provided an ideal location for research centers such as AT&T's Bell Laboratories, DeKalb Genetics, the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Argonne National Laboratory.

In 1970 the state had a population of more than 11 million, a 10 percent increase over 1960. Illinois retained the twenty-four seats that it had held in the U.S. House of Representatives since the redistricting following the 1910 census. (It would lose four of these seats by the end of the century.) More than half the state's population lived in the Chicago metropolitan area. Although Chicago was then the nation's second most populous city, only two other cities in Illinois, Peoria and Rockford, had populations exceeding one hundred thousand. The completion of the Sears Tower in Chicago in 1974 (then the world's tallest building) called attention to Illinois as an economic powerhouse. However, in the late 1970s Illinois, like other Midwestern states in the nation's "Rust Belt," appeared to be in economic decline. Manufacturing plants relocated abroad in search of cheap, nonunionized labor, and farm prices declined due to overproduction (although the number of farms dwindled from 255,700 in the late nineteenth century to 80,000 in the late twentieth century). Illinois's coal production, once second only to Pennsylvania, dropped to sixth nationally by 1991, and production was only 30 percent of that of the nation's leader, Wyoming. Illinois lost manufacturing jobs, and its unemployment climbed from 7.1 percent in 1978 to a staggering 8.6 percent in 1986.

However, by the early 1990s Illinois had recovered, and a new economic base featuring banking, research, and new technologies emerged. The lands west and north of Chicago became the "silicon prairie," the fastest-growing high-technology corridor in the nation. Foreign capital poured into Chicago's revitalized banks. The accounting firm of Arthur Andersen provided financial services to corporate giants throughout the world, and though Chicago no longer housed stockyards, slaughterhouses, or giant grain elevators, the Chicago Board of Trade employed thirty-three thousand people and helped set prices for agricultural commodities throughout the world.

Because of its central location and extensive economic infrastructure, Illinois will likely continue to serve as a vital center of trade, transportation, and commerce in North America. With its large and ethnically diverse population, the "Prairie State" continues to be viewed as a political bellwether and a microcosm of the nation. Those wanting to gauge the mood of folks in the heartland continue to ask, "Will it play in Peoria?"

By 2000 Illinois's population had grown to 12,419,293, an expansion of 8.64 percent over 1990, but an increase that lagged the national growth rate of 13.1 percent. The state's Hispanic population grew by nearly 70 percent in the 1990s and comprised 12.3 percent of the population in 2000; African Americans comprised 15.1 percent of the total. All the population growth occurred in the northern part of the state. In 2000, 17.5 percent of the state's children lived in poverty despite Illinois's renewed prosperity. Political power in Illinois, still balanced between Republicans and Democrats, was located in three district geographic segments: Chicago, "downstate," and the "collar counties," comprised of sprawling suburbs and expanding cities surrounding the great metropolis. From 1977 and into the opening years of the twenty-first century, the Republicans held the governor's office, including during the four terms (1977–1991) of James "Big Jim" Thompson, a popular moderate Republican who managed to forge compromises with a legislature usually controlled by Democrats. His Republican successors, lacking his charisma, found dealing with the Democrats problematic, and because of declining state revenues in 2000, the funding of education and basic government services remained a chronically contentious issue.

Although the Illinois legislature failed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in 1982, thereby killing all chances of its becoming part of the U.S. Constitution, women in Illinois made significant gains in attaining state office. While the 1971–1972 General Assembly had only four female members, legislatures in the 1990s had more than forty. Reflecting the state's ethnic diversity, minority representation in the state legislature increased, from five African Americans in 1950 to more than twenty in the 1990s. In 1978 Roland Burris became the first African American to win statewide office when he was elected comptroller (he was subsequently elected attorney general); and in 1992 Carol Moseley Braun became the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate by any state. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Hispanics held seats in both the Illinois Senate and the House.


Bridges, Roger D., and Rodney O. Davis. Illinois: Its History and Legacy. St. Louis, Mo.: River City, 1984.

Davis, G. Cullom. "Illinois: Crossroads and Cross Section." In Heartland: Comparative Histories of Midwestern States. Edited by James H. Madison. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1988.

Howard, Robert P. Illinois: A History of the Prairie State. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdman's, 1972.

Nardulli, Peter F., ed. Diversity, Conflict, and State Politics: Regionalism in Illinois. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989.

Michael J.Devine

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Illinois (state, United States)

Illinois, midwestern state in the N central United States. It is bordered by Lake Michigan and Indiana (E); Kentucky, across the Ohio River (SE); Missouri and Iowa, across the Mississippi River (W); and Wisconsin (N).

Facts and Figures

Area, 56,400 sq mi (146,076 sq km). Pop. (2010) 12,830,632, a 3.3% increase since the 2000 census. Capital, Springfield. Largest city, Chicago. Statehood, Dec. 3, 1818 (21st state). Highest pt., Charles Mound, 1,235 ft (377 m); lowest pt., Mississippi River, 279 ft (85 m). Nicknames, Inland Empire; Prairie State. Motto, State Sovereignty—National Union. State bird, cardinal. State flower, native violet. State tree, white oak. Abbr., Ill.; IL


The broad level lands that gave Illinois the nickname Prairie State were fashioned by late Cenozoic glaciation, which leveled rugged ridges and filled valleys over the northern and central parts of the state. The fertile prairies are drained by more than 275 rivers, most of which flow to the Mississippi-Ohio system; the Illinois is the largest river in the state.

These rivers provided early explorers a way SW from Lake Michigan into the interior of the continent and later, in the days of canal building, played a big part in hastening settlement of the prairies. The completion of the Erie Canal linked Illinois, through the Great Lakes, to the eastern seaboard of the United States. The Illinois Waterway links Chicago to the Mississippi basin as the old Chicago and Illinois and Michigan canals once did, and the St. Lawrence Seaway provides access for oceangoing vessels. The waterways are but a part of a transportation complex that includes railroads, airlines (Chicago's O'Hare airport is one of the busiest in the world), and an extensive modern highway system.

The state's climate is continental, with extreme seasonal variations of temperature in parts of the state. Among Illinois's many tourist attractions are Shawnee National Forest, with recreational facilities; the Cahokia Mounds; and many state parks and historical sites, including New Salem and Lincoln's home and burial place in Springfield. An additional summer attraction is the Illinois State Fair. Springfield is the capital; Chicago, Rockford, and Peoria are the largest cities.


Rich land, adequate rainfall (32–36 in./81–91 cm annually), and a long growing season make Illinois an important agricultural state. It consistently ranks among the top states in the production of corn and soybeans. Hogs and cattle are also principal sources of farm income. Other major crops include hay, wheat, and sorghum. Beneath the fertile topsoil lies mineral wealth, including fluorspar, bituminous coal, and oil; Illinois ranks high among the states in the production of coal, and its reserves are greater than any other state east of the Rocky Mts. Its agricultural and mineral resources, along with its excellent lines of communication and transportation, made Illinois industrial; by 1880 income from industry was almost double that from agriculture.

Leading Illinois manufactures include electrical and nonelectrical machinery, food products, fabricated and primary metal products, and chemicals; printed and published materials are also important. Metropolitan Chicago, the country's leading rail center, is also a major industrial, as well as a commercial and financial, center. Suburbs of Chicago such as Schaumburg and Oak Brook have become important business centers. Scattered across the northern half of the state are cities with specialized industries—Elgin, Peoria, Rock Island, Moline, and Rockford. Industrially important cities in central Illinois include Springfield and Decatur.

Government, Politics, and Higher Education

The governor of Illinois is elected for a term of four years. Jim Edgar, a Republican elected governor in 1990 and 1994, was succeeded by another Republican, George H. Ryan, elected in 1998. In 2002 a Democrat, Rod Blagojevich, was elected to the office; he was reelected in 2006. In 2009, however, he was impeached and removed from office because of accusations that he had sought to gain from his appointment of the U.S. senator who would succeed Barack Obama. (In 2011 he was convicted in federal courts on charges arising from the case.) Lieutenant Governor Patrick J. Quinn, also a Democrat, replaced Blagojevich and won election to the office in 2010, but Quinn lost to Republican Bruce Rauner in 2014. The state legislature, called the general assembly, consists of a senate with 59 members and a house of representatives with 118 members. Illinois elects 18 representatives and 2 senators to the U.S. Congress and has 20 electoral votes.

Institutions of higher learning in Illinois include the Univ. of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago; DePaul Univ., the Univ. of Chicago, and the Illinois Institute of Technology, at Chicago; Northwestern Univ., at Evanston; Illinois State Univ., at Normal; and Southern Illinois Univ., at Carbondale and Edwardsville.


Early Inhabitants and European Exploration

At the end of the 18th cent. the Illinois, Sac, Fox, and other Native American groups were living in the river forests, where many centuries before them the prehistoric Mound Builders had dwelt. French explorers and missionaries came to the region early. Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet, on their return from a trip down the Mississippi, paddled up the Illinois River in 1673, and two years later Marquette returned to establish a mission in the Illinois country.

In 1679 the French explorer Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, went from Lake Michigan to the Illinois, where he founded (1680) Fort Creve Coeur and with his lieutenant, Henri de Tonti, completed (1682–83) Fort St. Louis on Starved Rock cliff. French occupation of the area was sparse, but the settlements of Cahokia and Kaskaskia achieved a minor importance in the 18th cent., and the area was valued for fur trading.

By the Treaty of Paris of 1763, ending the French and Indian Wars, France ceded all of the Illinois country to Great Britain. However, the British did not take possession until resistance, led by the Ottawa chief, Pontiac, was quelled (1766). In the American Revolution, George Rogers Clark and his expedition captured (1778) the British posts of Cahokia and Kaskaskia before going on to take Vincennes. The Illinois region was an integral part of the Old Northwest that came within U.S. boundaries by the 1783 Treaty of Paris ending the American Revolution. Under the Ordinance of 1787 the area became the Northwest Territory. Made part of Indiana Territory in 1800, Illinois became a separate territory in 1809.

Statehood and Settlement

The fur trade was still flourishing throughout most of Illinois when it became a state in 1818, but already settlers were pouring down the Ohio River by flatboat and barge and across the Genesee wagon road. In 1820 the capital was moved from Kaskaskia to Vandalia. The Black Hawk War (1832) practically ended the tenure of the Native Americans in Illinois and drove them W of the Mississippi. In the 1830s there was heavy and uncontrolled land speculation. Mob fury broke out with the murder (1837) of the abolitionist Elijah P. Lovejoy at Alton and in the lynching (1844) of the Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum at Carthage.

Industrialization and Abraham Lincoln

Industrial development came with the opening of an agricultural implements factory by Cyrus H. McCormick at Chicago in 1847 and the building of the railroads in the 1850s. During this period the career of Abraham Lincoln began. In the state legislature, Lincoln and his colleagues from Sangamon co. had worked hard and successfully to bring the capital to Springfield in 1839. As Illinois moved toward a wider role in the country's affairs, Lincoln and another Illinois lawyer, Stephen A. Douglas, won national attention with their debates on the slavery issue in the senatorial race of 1858. In 1861, Lincoln became president and fought to preserve the Union in the face of the South's secession. During the Civil War, Illinois supported the Union, but there was much proslavery sentiment in the southern part of the state.

By the 1860s industry was well established, and many immigrants from Europe had already settled in the state, foreshadowing the influx still to come. Immediately after the Civil War, industry expanded to tremendous proportions, and the Illinois legislature, by setting aside acreage for stockyards, prepared the way for the development of the meatpacking industry. Economic development had outrun the construction of facilities, and Chicago was a mass of flimsy wooden structures when the fire of 1871 destroyed most of the city.

Discontent and the Rise of the Labor Movement

In the latter part of the 19th cent. farmers in the state revolted against exorbitant freight rates, tariff discrimination, and the high price of manufactured goods. Illinois farmers enthusiastically joined the Granger movement. Laborers in factories, railroads, and mines also became restive, and from 1870 to 1900 Illinois was the scene of such violent labor incidents as the Haymarket Square riot of 1886 and the Pullman strike of 1894.

In the 20th cent. labor conditions improved, but violent labor disputes persisted, notably the massacre at Herrin in 1922 during a coal-miners' strike and the bloody riot during a steel strike at Chicago in 1937. State politics became divided by the conflicting forces of farmers, laborers, and corporations, and opposing political machines came into being downstate and upstate.

Diversification and Change

In 1937 new oil fields were discovered in southern Illinois, further enhancing the state's industrial development. During World War II the nation's first controlled nuclear reaction was accomplished at the Univ. of Chicago, paving the way for development of nuclear weapons during the war. The war also spurred the further growth of the Chicago metropolitan area, and in the postwar period thousands of African Americans from the rural south came seeking industrial work.

Adlai E. Stevenson, governor of Illinois from 1949 to 1953, achieved national prominence in winning the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952 and 1956. Also during the 1950s the "gateway amendment" to the Illinois constitution simplified the state's constitutional amendment process. In 1970, Illinois adopted a new state constitution that, among other reforms, banned discrimination in employment and housing.

Southern Illinois experienced population declines in the 1950s and 60s as farms in the south became more mechanized, providing fewer jobs in the area. The area was hard hit again in the 1980s as farm prices fell and farm machinery, the major industrial product of southern Illinois, was no longer in high demand. The northern portion of the state saw a major decline in manufacturing in the 1970s and 80s, which was partially offset by an increase in the service and trade industry and Chicago's continued strength as a financial center. The election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980 was the first time someone born in the state had won that office, and Barack Obama, who became the first African-American to be elected president in 2008, had served as U.S. senator from Illinois before his election. Flooding along the Mississippi inundated large areas of W Illinois in 1993.


See W. L. Burton, The Trembling Land: Illinois in the Age of Exploration (1966); V. Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War (1966); R. J. Jensen, Illinois: A History (1978); R. E. Nelson, ed., Illinois (1978); C. W. Horrell et al., Land Between the Rivers (1982); A. D. Horsley, Illinois: A Geography (1986); P. F. Nardulli, Diversity, Conflict, and State Politics (1989).

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Situated in the center of the Midwestern prairie, on the edge of Lake Michigan, the state of Illinois was always in a good position to benefit from its own natural resources. It is bounded on the west by the Mississippi River, while the Ohio runs along its southern border. Good land and water routes helped the state grow from an undeveloped territory into a powerhouse of agriculture and industry. Most notable of the land routes were the numerous railway lines running through the state. Illinois cities and farms, as well as its service industries continuously fostered a diverse economy. This eventually placed the state high in per capita income nationwide, with Chicago as its shining star.

The first white people to exploit the resources of Illinois were French fur traders who explored Illinois rivers in the seventeenth century. Although the British controlled the Illinois territory after the Treaty of Paris (1763), they made no attempt to establish permanent settlements. The state of Virginia claimed Illinois from 1778 to 1784 but gave up its claim to the area when Illinois became part of the new Northwest Territory. The Treaty of Greenville in 1795 gave the United States the tract at the mouth of the Chicago River, which later became the site of Chicago. The Illinois Territory was created in 1809, and after the British were defeated in the War of 1812 (181214), Illinois formally became the twenty-first state in 1818.

After the final defeat of the Indians in the Black Hawk War of 1832 the Illinois prairie became open to settlement, especially by people from Kentucky. The term "land office business" certainly applied to Illinois during this time, as settlers, who were lured by cheap land prices, flocked into the new state. Farmers and entrepreneurs from the East found possibilities in the state's good soil and convenient water routes.

In the first part of the century, schemes to promote rapid economic development in the form of roads, canals, and railroads left the state in a debt so heavy that it would persist for 50 years. Yet, Illinois continued to grow rapidly, and northern and central Illinois were helped considerably when the short-lived Illinois and Michigan Canal opened in 1848. A network of railroads was built in the 1850s and allowed the state to prosper during the American Civil War (186165). It fostered continued growth after the war by providing easier routes to market for both farmers and manufacturers.

The early years of the industrial revolution helped both farm and city. The John Deere plow and McCormick reaper, both made in Illinois, revolutionized agriculture during the mid-nineteenth century and added to the increased prosperity of the state

The period after the American Civil War saw substantial economic growth, particularly in the city of Chicago. In the minds of its citizens, Illinois was soon divided into two parts: Chicago and "downstate." Chicago became the central city of the Midwest; its development was spurred by its proximity to Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, and by the railroads, which brought farm products to the city. The great Chicago Fire of 1871 temporarily halted the city's growth. But it was soon brought into even greater prominence by steel mills, banks, new buildings, and transportation networks. The crown jewel in the latter part of the nineteenth century was the building of the "White City"the Columbian International Exposition of 1893. It showcased the technological achievements of a growing United States and highlighted the importance of the nation's second largest city at the time.

Foreign immigrants, so vital to the growth of the entire state, came at first from northern Europe and after 1890 from southern and eastern Europe. They developed prairie farms, small towns, and cities and eventually provided needed labor for Chicago industries. Chicago became a cradle of the labor movement; the Knights of Labor and the Chicago Federation of Labor, two of the earliest unions were originated in Chicago. The 1886 Haymarket riot and the 1894 Pullman Strike brought the labor problems of Illinois to national attention.

Most of Illinois prospered during the first 30 years of the twentieth century. The International Harvester Company became a major Chicago manufacturer of farm equipment. The Caterpillar Company, makers of earth-moving equipment, dominated Peoria. The Chicago steel industry, centered in Gary, Indiana, became second only to that of Pittsburgh. The state led the nation in food production, agricultural implement manufacture, and agricultural finance. World War I (191418) spurred economic growth in the state. War production demanded more the unskilled labor, which was again provided by European immigrants and also by African Americans coming from the South.

The pursuit of wealth preoccupied Illinois during the 1920s, highlighted by the violence and corruption surrounding the Prohibition era and the organized crime wave that accompanied it. The Great Depression affected Illinois as much as it did the rest of the nation. Farmers were the first to suffer; then industries began closing around 1930. Growth slowed drastically, and the Illinois coal industry suffered. The pro-business Republicans who had run the state since the 1850s suffered great losses in the 1932 election, as African Americans, white ethnic minorities, and factory workers responded to the economic hopes brought by Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. The 1933 Chicago World's Fair (named "A Century of Progress") brought attention to Chicago and optimism to its citizens, despite depressed economic conditions. During World War II (193945) Illinois began to recover, helped largely by military contracts.

Prosperity reigned in Illinois during the 1950s. At that time the economy began its gradual shift from a manufacturing to a service economy. The negative effects of heavy industrialization began to appear as well. By the 1960s the state faced severe problems with air and water pollution, and urban decay. The Chicago stockyards closed in 1972. The yards had been a symbol of Chicago's preeminence in the meat-packing industry since 1865. A severe recession followed during the early 1980s, as industries like steel, machine tooling, and automobiles were facing increasing foreign competition and were forced to lay off workers. Many industries fled to the South, and by 1990 the unemployment rate in Illinois was 7.2 percent, in contrast to the national average of 5.2 percent. In 1992 the city of Chicago faced additional economic losses when water tunnels under the city ruptured. In 1993 flooding of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers caused 1.5 billion dollars of damage in western Illinois.

In the 1990s Illinois regained economic strength, ranking seventh in per capita income among all the states in 1996. It prospered in the service sector, the metals industry, and food processing, as well as in the manufacture of industrial and farm equipment, electric equipment, appliances, electronic components, and printing equipment. The 1989 Technology Advancement and Development Act aided companies that develop advanced technologies for commercial use. Labor unions in Illinois declined to little more than 20 percent of workers statewide, but continued to be strong in the Chicago area. Chicago remained the Great Lakes' busiest port and the leading wholesaling center of the Midwest, as well as Illinois's industrial center. The city was followed by Rockford, the East St. Louis area, Rock Island and Moline, and Peoria. The tourism industry also became an important economic boon to the state, with Chicago as a major tourist destination.

Led by the central and northern corn-belt counties, Illinois was one of the top five producers of agricultural products in the late 1990s. The total number of farms, however, declined significantly after World War II. Mining is also an important industry in the state. Illinois continued producing significant amounts of non-fuel minerals, including industrial sand and gravel, cement, and clays. The state was the only producer in the nation of fluorspar in 1995.

See also: Black Hawk War, Caterpillar Company, Chicago Fire of 1871, John Deere, Haymarket Bombing, Knights of Labor, Cyrus McCormick, McCormick Reaper, Northwest Ordinance, Pullman Strike


Carrier, Lois. Ohio: Illinois: Crossroads of a Continent. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

Howard, Robert P. Illinois: A History of the Prairie State. 5 vols. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1972.

Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs. Illinois Data Book. Springfield, 1994.

Jensen, Richard J. Illinois: A Bicentennial History. New York: Norton, 1978.

Petterchak, Janice A., ed. Illinois History: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1995.

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Illinois (Indians)


ILLINOIS (INDIANS). The Illinois Indian tribe (they identified themselves as inoca, perhaps meaning "men"; the French later called them Illinois, and they are commonly referred to today as Illini) moved from Michigan to Illinois and Wisconsin by the 1630s. Illinois traders first contacted the French in 1666 at Chequamegon Bay, Lake Superior. The Illinois and Miami, speaking central Algonquian dialects, separated shortly before Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet arrived in the Illinois country in 1673. With more than 13,000 members by the mid-1650s, the tribe divided into a dozen subtribes. Dramatic population losses resulted from war, disease, Christianity, monogamy, alcoholism, and emigration. Illinois vulnerability was a consequence of dependency on their close allies, the French. As their numbers deteriorated, they combined into fewer subtribes (Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Michigamea, Moingwena, Peoria, and Tamaroa) and withdrew to the southwest, collecting along the east bank of the Mississippi south of the Illinois River. By 1736 the Illinois numbered just 2,500, and 80 in 1800; the last full-blood and his relatives left the state in 1833.

The Illinois constituted a tribe, not a confederacy, and maintained a tribal chief; the subtribes, however, often operated independently. Influential leaders included Rouensa, Chicago, and Ducoigne. Each man could marry several women, and would locate his families near his father. The tribe reckoned descent through the male line, and individuals became members of a clan and a moiety (division). The male role required prowess as hunter and warrior; and women tended to their dwellings, children, gathering, and agriculture. Men enjoyed a power and status advantage over women, but women employed considerable influence in their own realm.

In early spring the Illinois traditionally gathered in large semipermanent villages to plant crops and engage in communal buffalo hunting. Spring also saw them launch small war parties against such enemies as the Fox, Sauk, and Sioux. In the fall, they divided into small hunting villages of 200 or 300 cabins. Most Peorias moved west of the Mississippi River after 1765; eventually a few Kaskaskias joined them. Today, the Peorias, descendents of the Illinois and the Miamis, live in Peoria, Oklahoma.


Blasingham, Emily J. "The Depopulation of the Illinois Indians." Ethnohistory 3 (1956): 193–224, 361–412. A most re-liable examination of the depopulation of the Illinois tribe.

Callender, Charles. "Illinois." In Handbook of North American Indians. Edited by William C. Sturtevant et al. Vol. 15: Northeast, edited by Bruce G. Trigger. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1978. A useful and authoritative account by an anthropologist.

Zitomersky, Joseph. French Americans—Native Americans in Eighteenth-Century French Colonial Louisiana: The Population Geography of the Illinois Indians, 1670s–1760s. Lund, Sweden: Lund University Press, 1994.

Raymond E.Hauser

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Aurora . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Chicago . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Peoria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

Springfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

The State in Brief

Nickname: Prairie State

Motto: State sovereigntynational union

Flower: Native violet

Bird: Cardinal

Area: 57,914 square miles (2000; U.S. rank: 25th)

Elevation: Ranges from 279 feet to 1,235 feet above sea level

Climate: Temperate, with hot summers and cold, snowy winters

Admitted to Union: December 3, 1818

Capital: Springfield

Head Official: Governor Rod R. Blagojevich (D) (until 2007)


1980: 11,427,000

1990: 11,543,000

2000: 12,419,647

2004 estimate: 12,713,634

Percent change, 19902000: 8.6%

U.S. rank in 2004: 5th

Percent of residents born in state: 67.1% (2000)

Density: 223 people per square mile (2000)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 506,086

Racial and Ethnic Characteristics (2000)

White: 9,125,471

Black or African American: 1,876,875

American Indian and Alaska Native: 31,006

Asian: 423,603

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 4,610

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 1,530,262

Other: 722,712

Age Characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 876,549

Population 5 to 19 years old: 2,728,957

Percent of population 65 years and over: 12.1%

Median age: 34.7 years (2000)

Vital Statistics

Total number of births (2003): 181,753

Total number of deaths (2003): 105,575 (infant deaths, 1,361)

AIDS cases reported through 2003: 14,321


Major industries: Manufacturing; mining; agriculture; oil; trade; finance, insurance, and real estate; services

Unemployment rate: 5.6% (March 2005)

Per capita income: $33,205 (2003; U.S. rank: 15th)

Median household income: $45,607 (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Percentage of persons below poverty level: 11.8% (3-year average, 2001-2003)

Income tax rate: 3.0%

Sales tax rate: 6.25%

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Illinois (indigenous people of North America)

Illinois (Ĭl´ənoi´, –noiz´), confederation of Native North Americans, comprising the Cahokia, the Kaskaskia, the Michigamea, the Moingwena, the Peoria, and the Tamaroa tribes. They belong to the Algonquian branch of the Algonquian-Wakashan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). In the mid-17th cent. they lived in S Wisconsin, N Illinois, and sections of Iowa and Missouri. They then numbered some 6,500. Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet are believed to have been the first Europeans to travel (1673) through Illinois territory. Father Claude Jean Allouez, a Jesuit missionary, visited them in 1676 and stayed with them for years. By 1750 wars with the Sioux, the Fox, and the Iroquois had reduced the population to some 2,000. In 1769 the assassination of the celebrated Ottawa chief Pontiac by a Kaskaskia provoked the Lake tribes (the Ojibwa, the Ottawa, the Potawatami, the Kickapoo, and the Sac and Fox) to vengeance. They began a war of extermination, which in a few years diminished the Illinois to a small number, who sought asylum at the French settlement at Kaskaskia. By 1800 there remained some 150 Illinois. In 1833 the survivors, represented by the Kaskaskia and the Peoria, sold their lands in Illinois and moved W of the Mississippi. Their descendants now occupy tribal land in NE Oklahoma, which they share with the Wea and Piankashaw. The Peoria's relationship with the federal government was terminated in 1959. In 1990 there were about 1,300 Peoria in the United States.

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The Illinois, including the Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Michigamea, Peoria, and Tamaroa, with the related Mascouten, lived principally along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers in the states of Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. The remnants of the Illinois, together with the Wea and Piankashaw, now live on or near the former Peoria Indian Reservation in northeastern Oklahoma, and are largely assimilated with the European-American Population.

See Miami


Callender, Charles (1978). "Illinois." In Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 15, Northeast, edited by Bruce G. Trigger, 673-680. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.

Goddard, Ives (1978). "Mascouten." In Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 15, Northeast, edited by Bruce G. Trigger, 668-672. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.

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Illinois State in n central USA, on the e bank of the Mississippi River; the capital is Springfield. Illinois was explored first by the French in 1673. Ceded to the British in 1763, it was occupied by American troops during the American Revolution. Illinois became a state of the Union in 1818. The land is generally flat and is drained by many rivers flowing sw to the Mississippi. The state has fertile soil that supports crops such as hay, oats and barley; livestock farming is also important. Mineral deposits are found in the s. Chicago (the largest city) is a transport centre and port on Lake Michigan. Area: 146,075sq km (56,400sq mi). Pop. (2000) 12,419,293.

Statehood :

December 3, 1818

Nickname :

Prairie state

State bird :


State flower :

Native violet

State tree :


State motto :

State sovereignty, national union

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Illinois (river, United States)

Illinois, river, 273 mi (439 km) long, formed by the confluence of the Des Plaines and Kankakee rivers, NE Ill., and flowing SW to the Mississippi at Grafton, Ill. It is an important commercial and recreational waterway. The Illinois forms the greater part of the Illinois Waterway, which links the Great Lakes with the Mississippi. The chief city on the river is Peoria.

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"Illinois (river, United States)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (July 9, 2018).

"Illinois (river, United States)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from

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Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

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The Chicago Manual of Style

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  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
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Illinoisahoy, alloy, Amoy, annoy, boy, buoy, cloy, coy, destroy, employ, enjoy, Hanoi, hoi polloi, hoy, Illinois, joy, koi, oi, ploy, poi, Roy, savoy, soy, toy, trompe l'œil, troy

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Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

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"Illinois." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . 9 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Illinois." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . (July 9, 2018).

"Illinois." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved July 09, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.