Illinois - The Land of Lincoln

  • Downtown Chicago from the Sears Tower
  • Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge
  • Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge
  • Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Route

Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, the fifth most populous state in the United States. The Associated Press found Illinois to be the "most average state" in the country. During the days when the Europeans were first arriving in the New World, the city at Cahokia in what is now southern Illinois was the largest city north of Central Mexico. And Cahokia remained the largest city until New York City finally grew larger around 1690. By the time the American Revolution rolled around, Illinois had been all but abandoned by the descendants of the once great Mississippian culture (it's not that they left and went somewhere else, it's that they died of diseases spread among them by the European visitors of the time). The Mississippians left behind the ruins of their cities, their great burial and ceremonial mounds, their trash piles... but not much else. In 1776, Illinois was inhabited by less than 2,000 Native Americans and a handful of French trappers and villagers. The flood of Euro-Americans didn't begin until about 1810 but that flood was so fast and furious that Illinois was able to apply and be accepted into the Union as the 21st state in 1818. The great city of Chicago wasn't founded until 1830. Fully three-quarters of the citizens of Illinois live within 50 miles of downtown Chicago now.

In downtown Springfield
In downtown Springfield
Fast Facts about Illinois
Capital: Springfield
Largest City: Chicago
Admitted to the Union: December 3, 1818: 21st
Area: 57,918 square miles : 25th
Highest Point: Charles Mound : 1,235'
Lowest Point: Mississippi River: 279'
2010 Illinois Population Demographics
Total Population 12,830,632
Males 6,292,276
Females 6,538,356
Population by Age
Under 18 3,129,179
18 & over 9,701,453
20-24 878,964
25-34 1,775,957
35-49 2,665,984
50-64 2,403,992
65 & over 1,609,213
Population by Ethnicity
Hispanic or Latino 2,027,578
Non Hispanic or Latino 10,803,054
Population by Race
White 9,177,877
African-American 1,866,414
Asian 586,934
Native American 43,963
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 4,050
Other 861,412
Two or more 289,982
Map of Illinois