Illinois

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Illinois

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. Of the fifty U.S. states, it has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area. Chicago is the state’s largest city and the fifth largest city in North America with the capital in Springfield, located in the center of the state; other major metropolitan areas include Metro East (of Greater St. Louis), Peoria and Rockford.

Etymology

“Illinois” is the modern spelling for the early French Catholic missionaries and explorers’ name for the Illinois Native Americans, a name that was spelled in many different ways in the early records. American scholars previously thought the name Illinois meant ‘man’ or ‘men’ in the Miami-Illinois language, with the original iliniwek transformed via French into Illinois. This etymology is not supported by the Illinois language, as the word for “man” is ireniwa, and plural of “man” is ireniwaki

The name Illiniwek has also been said to mean ‘tribe of superior men’, which is a false etymology. The name Illinois derives from the Miami-Illinois verb irenwe·wa ‘he speaks the regular way’. This was taken into the Ojibwe language, perhaps in the Ottawa dialect, and modified into ilinwe· (pluralized as ilinwe·k). The French borrowed these forms, spelling the /we/ ending as -ois, a transliteration of that sound in the French of that time. The current spelling form, Illinois, began to appear in the early 1670s, when French colonists had settled in the western area. The Illinois’s name for themselves, as attested in all three of the French missionary-period dictionaries of Illinois, was Inoka, of unknown meaning and unrelated to the other terms.

Geography

Illinois is located in the Midwest region of the United States and is one of the eight states in the Great Lakes region of North America (which also includes Ontario, Canada).

Boundaries

Illinois's eastern border with Indiana consists of a north–south line at 87° 31′ 30″ west longitude in Lake Michigan at the north, to the Wabash River in the south above Post Vincennes. The Wabash River continues as the eastern/southeastern border with Indiana until the Wabash enters the Ohio River. This marks the beginning of Illinois's southern border with Kentucky, which runs along the northern shoreline of the Ohio River.

Most of the western border with Missouri and Iowa is the Mississippi River; Kaskaskia is an exclave of Illinois, lying west of the Mississippi and reachable only from Missouri. The state's northern border with Wisconsin is fixed at 42° 30′ north latitude. The northeastern border of Illinois lies in Lake Michigan, within which Illinois shares a water boundary with the state of Michigan, as well as Wisconsin and Indiana.

Divisions

At 279 feet above sea level, the lowest elevation point in the state is located near Cairo and the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Illinois has three major geographical divisions. Northern Illinois is dominated by Chicago metropolitan area, or Chicagoland, which is the city of Chicago and its suburbs, and the adjoining exurban area into which the metropolis is expanding. As defined by the federal government, the Chicago metro area includes several counties in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, and has a population of over 9.8 million.

Chicago itself is a cosmopolitan city, densely populated, industrialized, the transportation hub of the nation, and settled by a wide variety of ethnic groups. The city of Rockford, Illinois's third-largest city and center of the state's fourth largest metropolitan area, sits along Interstates 39 and 90 some 75 mi (121 km) northwest of Chicago. The Quad Cities region, located along the Mississippi River in northern Illinois, had a population of 381,342 in 2011.

Climate

Illinois has a climate that varies widely throughout the year. Because of its nearly 400-mile distance between its northernmost and southernmost extremes, as well as its mid-continental situation, most of Illinois has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa), with hot, humid summers and cold winters. The southern part of the state, from about Carbondale southward, has a humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa), with more moderate winters. 

Average yearly precipitation for Illinois varies from just over 48 in (1,219 mm) at the southern tip to around 35 in (889 mm) in the northern portion of the state. Normal annual snowfall exceeds 38 in (965 mm) in the Chicago area, while the southern portion of the state normally receives less than 14 in (356 mm). The all-time high temperature was 117 °F (47 °C), recorded on July 14, 1954, at East St. Louis, and the all-time low temperature was −38 °F (−39 °C), recorded on January 31, 2019, during the January 2019 North American cold wave at a weather station near Mount Carroll, and confirmed on March 5, 2019. 

This followed the previous record of −36 °F (−38 °C) recorded on January 5, 1999, near Congerville. Prior to the Mount Carroll record, a temperature of −37 °F (−38 °C) was recorded on January 15, 2009, at Rochelle, but at a weather station not subjected to the same quality control as official records.

Demographics

The United States Census Bureau found that the population of Illinois was 12,812,508 in the 2020 United States census, moving from the fifth-largest state to the sixth-largest state (losing out to Pennsylvania). Illinois’ population slightly declined in 2020 from the 2010 United States census by just over 18,000 residents and the overall population was quite higher than recent census estimates.

Illinois is the most populous state in the Midwest region. Chicago, the third-most populous city in the United States, is the center of the Chicago metropolitan area or Chicagoland, as this area is nicknamed. Although Chicagoland comprises only 9% of the land area of the state, it contains 65% of the state’s residents. The losses of population anticipated from the 2020 census results do not arise from the Chicago metro area; rather the declines are from the Downstate counties.

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

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

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

Languages

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

Over 20% of Illinoians speak a language other than English at home, of which Spanish is by far the most widespread, at more than 12% of the total population. A sizeable number of Polish speakers is present in the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Illinois Country French has mostly gone extinct in Illinois, although it is still celebrated in the French Colonial Historic District.

Religion

Roman Catholics constitute the single largest religious denomination in Illinois; they are heavily concentrated in and around Chicago, and account for nearly 30% of the state’s population. However, taken together as a group, the various Protestant denominations comprise a greater percentage of the state’s population than do Catholics. In 2010 Catholics in Illinois numbered 3,648,907. The largest Protestant denominations were the United Methodist Church with 314,461, and the Southern Baptist Convention, with 283,519 members. Illinois has one of the largest concentrations of Missouri Synod Lutherans in the United States.

A significant number of adherents of other Abrahamic faiths can be found in Illinois. Largely concentrated in the Chicago metropolitan area, followers of the Muslim, Baháʼí, and Jewish religions all call the state home. Muslims constituted the largest non-Christian group, with 359,264 adherents. Illinois has the largest concentration of Muslims by state in the country, with 2,800 Muslims per 100,000 citizens. Chicago is also home to a very large population of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists.

Economy

The dollar gross state product for Illinois was estimated to be US$909 billion in 2019.  The state’s 2019 per capita gross state product was estimated to be around $72,000. As of February 2019, the unemployment rate in Illinois reached 4.2%. Illinois’s minimum wage will rise to $15 per hour by 2025, making it one of the highest in the nation.

Agriculture

Illinois's major agricultural outputs are corn, soybeans, hogs, cattle, dairy products, and wheat. In most years, Illinois is either the first or second state for the highest production of soybeans, with a harvest of 427.7 million bushels (11.64 million metric tons) in 2008, after Iowa's production of 444.82 million bushels (12.11 million metric tons). Illinois ranks second in U.S. corn production with more than 1.5 billion bushels produced annually. With a production capacity of 1.5 billion gallons per year, Illinois is a top producer of ethanol, ranking third in the United States in 2011. Illinois is a leader in food manufacturing and meat processing.

Although Chicago may no longer be "Hog Butcher for the World", the Chicago area remains a global center for food manufacture and meat processing, with many plants, processing houses, and distribution facilities concentrated in the area of the former Union Stock Yards. Illinois also produces wine, and the state is home to two American viticultural areas. In the area of The Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway, peaches and apples are grown. The German immigrants from agricultural backgrounds who settled in Illinois in the mid- to late 19th century are in part responsible for the profusion of fruit orchards in that area of Illinois. Illinois's universities are actively researching alternative agricultural products as alternative crops.

Manufacturing

Illinois is one of the nation's manufacturing leaders, boasting annual value added productivity by manufacturing of over $107 billion in 2006. As of 2011, Illinois is ranked as the 4th-most productive manufacturing state in the country, behind California, Texas, and Ohio. About three-quarters of the state's manufacturers are located in the Northeastern Opportunity Return Region, with 38 percent of Illinois's approximately 18,900 manufacturing plants located in Cook County.

As of 2006, the leading manufacturing industries in Illinois, based upon value-added, were chemical manufacturing ($18.3 billion), machinery manufacturing ($13.4 billion), food manufacturing ($12.9 billion), fabricated metal products ($11.5 billion), transportation equipment ($7.4 billion), plastics and rubber products ($7.0 billion), and computer and electronic products ($6.1 billion).

Energy

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

Transportation

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

Airports

From 1962 until 1998, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) was the busiest airport in the world, measured both in terms of total flights and passengers. While it was surpassed by Atlanta's Hartsfield in 1998 (as Chicago splits its air traffic between O'Hare and Midway airports, while Atlanta uses only one airport), with 59.3 million domestic passengers annually, along with 11.4 million international passengers in 2008, O'Hare consistently remains one of the two or three busiest airports globally, and in some years still ranks number one in total flights.

It is a major hub for both United Airlines and American Airlines, and a major airport expansion project is currently underway. Midway Airport (MDW), which had been the busiest airport in the world at one point until it was supplanted by O'Hare as the busiest airport in 1962, is now the secondary airport in the Chicago metropolitan area and still ranks as one of the nation's busiest airports. Midway is a major hub for Southwest Airlines and services many other carriers as well. Midway served 17.3 million domestic and international passengers in 2008.

Rail

Illinois major rail network Illinois has an extensive passenger and freight rail transportation network. Chicago is a national Amtrak hub and in-state passengers are served by Amtrak's Illinois Service, featuring the Chicago to Carbondale Illini and Saluki, the Chicago to Quincy Carl Sandburg and Illinois Zephyr, and the Chicago to St. Louis Lincoln Service. Currently there is trackwork on the Chicago–St. Louis line to bring the maximum speed up to 110 mph (180 km/h), which would reduce the trip time by an hour and a half.

Nearly every North American railway meets at Chicago, making it the largest and most active rail hub in the country. Extensive commuter rail is provided in the city proper and some immediate suburbs by the Chicago Transit Authority's 'L' system. One of the largest suburban commuter rail system in the United States, operated by Metra, uses existing rail lines to provide direct commuter rail access for hundreds of suburbs to the city and beyond.

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