The state of Illinois is located in the Midwest. It borders Wisconsin to the north and has a stretch of shoreline on Lake Michigan to the northeast. It is bordered by Indiana to the east and Kentucky to the southeast. To the west, across the Mississippi River, are Missouri and Iowa. The capital is Springfield, the largest city is Chicago.


About 65% of the state's population lives in the Chicago metropolitan area, one of the largest industrial and financial centers in the world, the second largest industrial center in the country—after Los Angeles—and the second largest financial center in the United States. United—after New York.

Although Illinois has a highly diversified economy, being one of the main financial centers in the United States, and a highly industrialized state, since the economic crisis of 2008-2010 the State has found itself in technical bankruptcy with a debt of more than of 5 billion dollars and without paying for basic services.

Geographically, Illinois is characterized by its generally uneven terrain and unstable climate. Agriculture is a major source of income for Illinois. Tourism and the provision of transportation and telecommunications services are other important sources of income in the state. Chicago is the largest city in the state and one of the most dynamic rail and airport centers in the United States.

Illinois is known for its large, diverse population and its balance between rural areas, small industrial cities, sprawling suburbs, and a large metropolitan area, Chicago. Its diverse economy and central position has made it an important transportation hub for 150 years. It is this mix of factories and farms, of urban and rural areas, that makes Illinois a microcosm within the nation.

Illinois' nickname is The Prairie State, which means "The Prairie State." Another nickname is The Land of Lincoln; Many of its residents take pride in the fact that American President Abraham Lincoln spent most of his life in the state. His grave is located in Springfield.

The first Europeans to explore the region of present-day Illinois were French missionaries. This region was part of New France until 1763, the year it came under British rule. In 1783, after the end of the American War of Independence in 1776, it became part of what was then called the Northwest Territory. On February 3, 1809, the Territory of Illinois was created. On December 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state of the United States.



Chicago is the largest metropolis in the Midwest of the United States, located on the shores of Lake Michigan. This is a significant cultural center, with first-class museums, concert halls, theaters, and even interesting architecture in places - among other things, Frank Lloyd Wright, whose work was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2020, worked hard here.
Springfield is the state capital
Urbana Champagne


Other destinations

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is a massive settlement of Native Americans in Collinsville. It is the largest archaeological site North of Mexico.

McPike Mansion is an abandoned residence in Alton in the Southern Illinois that is alleged to be haunted. It was constructed in 1869 by Henry Guest McPike.

Peoria State Hospital is an abandoned Asylum for the Incurable Insane that is claimed to be haunted by its former inmates.



English is the official language, but Spanish, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian and German are also spoken in Chicago.


Getting here

By Car.
Access to Illinois is via Interstates 39, 90, and 94 through Wisconsin; 74 and 80 through Iowa; 55, 57, 64, 70, and 72 through Missouri; 24 through Kentucky; and 64, 70, 74, 80, 90, and 94 through Indiana.

By Train.
Amtrak serves various areas of Illinois. Chicago is a major hub for Amtrak's long-distance routes, and coast-to-coast rail travel usually requires changing trains in Chicago. You can get to Chicago from virtually any direction, from the East Coast or the West Coast, from the north or the south. There are numerous daily trains to and from Milwaukee that are reasonably fast and reliable. There are daily trains (Empire Builder) from Seattle/Portland, Oregon via Milwaukee. There are also various daily trains from Washington D.C., New York City, and Boston. Downstate and Southern Illinois have a number of local trains that also operate long-distance routes. Those routes are as follows

The UP line from Chicago-St. Louis via Summit, Joliet, Dwight, Pontiac, Bloomington-Normal, Lincoln, Springfield, Carlinville, and Alton. There are four trains each way each day. One of the trains serving this route is the Texas Eagle, which enters Illinois from San Antonio, Dallas, Arkansas, and Missouri.

The BNSF route between Chicago - Galesburg - Quincy. The Quincy segment is local service only. Other service includes two daily long-distance trains from Los Angeles (Southwest Chief) or Emeryville (San Francisco Bay Area) via Salt Lake City and Denver (California Zephyr).

The CN route from Chicago-Carbondale has three daily one-way trains. There is one long-distance train each way daily to and from New Orleans via Jackson, Mississippi, and Memphis.

There are daily scheduled flights to Washington, D.C. via Cleveland, Toledo, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.

By Airplane.
Chicago has two major airports, O'Hare and Midway. O'Hare is one of the major international gateways to the U.S. Midway is a smaller airport near downtown. There are many other regional airports in Illinois, including Springfield, Rockford, Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, and across the river in St. Louis.

By foot.
The American Discovery Trail connects Illinois with Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, and both coasts.



Most of the state is best traveled by car and is easily accessible by interstate highways. Numerous highways near Chicago are tolled, but others are free. EZ Pass users from the eastern U.S. can use transponders at all toll booths on the Illinois Tollway. With the exception of the Chicago Skyway to/from northern Indiana, Illinois has eliminated cash tolling and exclusively uses an electronic toll system. If you do not have a transponder, you can pay the toll online for up to 14 days, although it will cost twice as much as the toll you pay with a transponder. The Chicago Skyway accepts cash and credit cards for toll payments, but I-Pass and E-ZPass transponders are also accepted.

Train travel is another way to get around Illinois. Metra trains serve Chicago and its suburbs, and Amtrak trains serve most of the rest of the state. Metra trains are usually on time, but Amtrak trains tend to be delayed. Check with Amtrak before traveling.

Greyhound buses, Megabus discount buses, and their sister bus company, Coach USA, serve much of Illinois. Chicago and its suburbs are served by the PACE bus system, and many large Illinois cities have their own bus systems.



English is the dominant language in Illinois. After English, the next most commonly heard languages are Spanish, Polish, Chinese, and Hindi.

Spanish is widely spoken by many Hispanics (primarily Mexican and Puerto Rican) in the Chicago metropolitan area, but is not well understood outside of Chicago.

Less prevalent in previous years, but unique to Chicago, is the largest Polish-speaking community in the country. Many of the current Polish speakers live in the neighborhoods and suburbs surrounding O'Hare Airport, and Polish can still be seen in storefronts, on billboards, in churches, and even on some FM radio stations. Another notable Eastern European community in Chicago is Ukrainian, with a significant number of Ukrainian speakers in the eponymous Ukrainian Village, which also has a Ukrainian bakery, church, and school.

The Chinese-speaking community is growing rapidly. Chicago's Chinatown is one of the few ethnic neighborhoods in the state that has experienced dramatic growth in recent decades. Traditionally, the dialects of Chinese spoken in Chicago have been Cantonese and Taishan, but due to the large influx of immigrants from all over China, Mandarin is now also spoken.

Hindi, Urdu, and other languages of the Indian subcontinent and South Asia have likewise developed rapidly and are found throughout Chicago. Since Chicago was one of the main settlements of South Vietnamese refugees fleeing the fall of Saigon, there are also many Vietnamese-speaking communities.

Other than that, Illinois, especially the Chicago area, is very multi-ethnic, embracing dozens of languages from around the world. There are some small communities that speak Native American languages, such as Ho-Chunk in Wisconsin, Lakota in the Dakotas, and Navajo in the Navajo Nation, but most of them are immigrants from other areas. Unfortunately, the number of indigenous people who originally inhabited Illinois is now very small, and there are few native language speakers left in such communities.



Illinois is culturally and economically diverse, which means that no matter where you are in the state, you can enjoy a great meal. Below are just a few examples of the variety found in Illinois:

Chicagoland is home to the largest and most diverse population (and very diverse restaurants and bars) in the world. Here are a few of the region-specific things you can taste in Chicagoland:
Chicago Hot Dog
Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
Italian beef

Pączki: Traditional Polish donuts eaten on Fat Tuesday
Kolache A cookie-like Czech pastry filled with a fruit filling in the middle. It is pronounced "ko-lach" in Texas and Iowa, whereas in Chicago it is pronounced "ko-lach-ke."
Chicken Vesuvio: Although available throughout the United States, chicken vesuvio (chicken stewed in butter, garlic, and white wine) originated in Chicago and is a specialty of many restaurants in the area.
Jibarito A plantain sandwich that originated in Chicago's Puerto Rican community.
In addition to the above, Chicagoland is home to world-class Russian, Latin American, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Northern Illinois
Northern Illinois is closely associated with Chicagoland, and as a result, has many Chicagoland staples. In addition, the Rock River Valley and Illinois Driftless Area offer excellent produce and the region's favorite snack, Mrs. Mike's potato chips.

Central Illinois
Open-faced sandwiches with toast, burgers, French fries, and cheese sauce, sometimes including different proteins such as chicken or ham, depending on the region. It originated in Springfield, but is served in most of central Illinois and the Quad Cities.

Western Illinois
There are two regional styles of pizza in the Quad Cities. Otherwise, the region's produce and livestock make for great farm-to-table dining.

Metro East
Restaurants in the Metro East tend to share the cuisine of St. Louis.

Illinois South
Sharing much of its culture with the Upland South, the cuisine of Southern Illinois tends to resemble that of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Burgoo, a spicy stew traditionally made with whatever is available at the time, is served in many parts of southern Illinois and is closely related to burgoo made in Kentucky. When served in restaurants, poultry tends to be the preferred meat. In southeastern Illinois, including Albion and surrounding areas, a stew similar to burgoo called "chowder" is served instead.



With the exception of tap water in the northern part of the state, rural water, including untreated spring water, has a "sulfur" taste and odor. Safe to drink, but the smell and taste may be difficult to drink.

Illinois has numerous craft breweries throughout the state, but the greatest concentration is in Chicagoland and the Metro East. Most breweries offer versions of popular American beers (IPAs, stouts, lagers, pilsners, etc.), but some may also produce local favorites. If you can find one, it's worth a try.

Coffee is popular throughout the state, and chain coffeehouses are very common. Many areas, especially smaller communities outside of large metropolitan areas, have independently owned stores. Many of these independently owned stores have taken popular drinks (such as lattes) and made them their own.

Because of Chicago's diverse cuisine, there are so many different types of coffee. For example, there are Middle Eastern and Ethiopian coffees, which can be served in traditional styles.


Stay Safe


Generally speaking, Illinois is a safe state, but the only city of significant concern is East St. Louis.

Chicago's crime rate has dropped significantly, but the overall crime rate is still well above the national average. Additionally, the city has a long history of public corruption. For criminal organizations, they have no interest in you unless you give them a reason to be interested in you. Stay alert and use common sense. If you practice these two things, you can often avoid bad situations. Do your research to determine which areas are the most objectionable to out-of-town visitors.

East St. Louis is widely known as the most dangerous city in the United States. Unless you are an experienced traveler, there is absolutely no reason to be there.


Severe Weather

Due to the geographic location and characteristics of the western part of the state, tornadoes are common during the spring and summer months. Most of these tornadoes are small and short-lived, but large tornadoes are not entirely absent. In March of 2006, the city of Springfield was hit by two EF-2 tornadoes that caused significant damage.

If you plan to visit any of these areas of the state, please stay informed of current weather conditions and be sure to get regular updates. If you encounter hazardous weather conditions, evacuate immediately.

For more information on this subject, visit our Tornado Safety page.

Northern Illinois can experience severe cold weather in the winter, especially in January.




Illinois has long been considered a corrupt state. Many officials from Illinois have been embarrassed by corruption, and many citizens who know better consider the problem very embarrassing. Be careful when discussing political issues.



Illinois is bordered to the north by Wisconsin, to the northeast by Lake Michigan, to the east by Indiana, to the south by Kentucky (across the Ohio River), to the west by Iowa and Missouri (across the Mississippi River). Illinois also borders the state of Michigan, although only through a water border in Lake Michigan.

Illinois has 629 kilometers of north-south extension and 340 kilometers of east-west extension. The area of the state is 149,998 km², of which 6,030 km (4%) are covered by water. The State is the twenty-fifth largest State in the country (twenty-fourth if we do not count bodies of water). The Illinois coastline with Lake Michigan is 101 kilometers long.

Although Illinois is located entirely in the Interior Plains, it is divided into three essential geographic regions. The first is Chicagoland, which includes the city of Chicago, its suburbs, and the adjacent exurban area, through which the metropolis is expanding. This region includes several counties in Indiana and Wisconsin, and extends through much of northern Illinois, toward the Iowa border, in the strip between Interstates 80 and 90. This region is cosmopolitan, densely populated, very industrialized, and inhabited by a wide variety of ethnic groups. Cook County is the most populous in the state, with more than 5.3 million residents in 2004.

To the south and west lies the state's second major division, central Illinois, a mostly flat prairie area. The western section (i.e., west of the Illinois River) was originally part of the Military Treaty of 1812 and forms the state's distinctive western bulge. Known as the Land of Lincoln or the Heart of Illinois, it is characterized by its small and medium-sized cities. Agriculture, especially corn and soy, as well as educational institutions and factories have a strong presence here. Major cities in this region include: Peoria (the third largest metropolitan area in Illinois, with 370,000 residents), Springfield (the state capital), Decatur, Bloomington-Normal, and Champaign-Urbana.

The third division is southern Illinois, which includes all the area south of U.S. Highway. Route 50, and includes the Little Egypt region, near the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Ohio River. This region is distinguished from the other two by its warmer climate, its different crops, its more rugged topography (the southernmost tip of the state did not suffer the effects of the Illinois Glaciation, nor the previous ones), as well as its small oil fields and coal mining. The region is slightly more populated than the central part of the state, and is centered on two areas. First, the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis comprise the state's second most populous metropolitan area with nearly 600,000 residents, and are popularly known as the Metro-East. Second, the Carbondale area, Marion, West Frankfort, Herrin and Murphysboro, has about 200,000 residents.

Popularly, all of Illinois that is not part of the Chicago Metropolitan Area is called "downstate Illinois."

In the extreme northwest of Illinois is the Driftless Area, a region that was not affected by the ice ages, and therefore with a higher and more rugged topography. Charles Mound, located in this region, is the highest natural elevation in the state, at 376 m. Formally speaking, the highest elevation in Illinois is that of the Sears Tower, with an altitude at the top of its roof of approximately 1,300 feet.



Illinois' climate is continental, with four distinct seasons, with warm summers and cold winters. However, the weather varies greatly from season to season. The weather in Illinois is relatively unstable, and can change suddenly, especially in winter. Sometimes the temperature can drop more than 12°C in just an hour. The main reason for this instability is the absence of geographical obstacles in the State and in its vicinity, which allow the rapid movement of air currents coming from any direction. Throughout the year, the average temperature drops as you travel north.

Proximity to Lake Michigan softens winters in the northeastern part of the state. Illinois' average temperature in winter is -7.6°C in the north of the state, -3°C in the south-central and 1°C in the far south. The minimums vary between -30 °C and 5 °C in the northeast, -35 °C and 1 °C in the northwest and -25 °C and 10 °C in the extreme south, and the maximums between -24 °C and 13 °C in the northeast, -28 °C and 7 °C in the northwest and -18 °C and 17 °C in the extreme south. The lowest temperature recorded in Illinois, -38°C, was measured in Congerville on January 5, 1999.

The average summer temperature in the north is 21 °C, and 29 °C in the south. The minimum temperatures vary between 12 °C and 20 °C in the north and between 16 °C and 26 °C in the south. For their part, maximum temperatures vary between 22 °C and 35 °C in the north and between 25 °C and 38 °C in the south. The highest temperature recorded in Illinois, 47°C, was measured on July 14, 1954 in East St. Louis.

Average annual rainfall rates vary from 100 centimeters in the north to 85 centimeters in the south. Average annual snowfall rates, meanwhile, range from 30 inches in northern Illinois to 10 inches in southern Illinois. The occurrence of tornadoes is very common (with peaks between April and June), in fact, tornadoes killed more people in Illinois than in any other American state. The most destructive of them, the Tri-State Tornado (Tri-State Tornado, affecting Missouri, Illinois and Indiana) occurred in 1925, claiming the lives of 695 people.



Its name comes from the Illinois River, given by French explorers. They named it for the Illiniwek tribe, a coalition of Algonquian tribes native to the area. The word Illiniwek means "tribe of superior men."

Furthermore, the word Illiniwek gave rise in Spanish to the term Ilinués or Ilinés, once used to call the Illinois River and the cities that it runs through, such as San Luis de Ilinués. Later, in the 19th century, the name Ilinés was frequently used to refer to the state of Illinois in Spanish.



Until 1818

French missionaries Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to explore the region. They had received an order from the governor of the French colony of New France to explore and map the course of the Mississippi River. They left Quebec in 1673, arriving in the region of present-day Illinois in 1675. Joliet named the region Illinois in reference to the Illiniwek confederation, with which both missionaries established friendly relations. This same year, Marquette founded a Catholic mission in the region. In 1699, other French missionaries founded a commercial establishment, and a village in 1703. Then the region was already part of New France, having been annexed by René Robert Cavelier de La Salle, in 1682. The two settlements founded by the missionaries became in the main French-speaking centers of the region.

Because of French colonization—the French were mostly Catholic—the Catholic Church was the only religious institution in the region for approximately a century. In 1787, the first Protestant church was established in the region. In 1717, France divided New France into four distinct colonies: Acadia, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Louisiana. Illinois became part of the French colony of Louisiana. That same year, John Law, a Scottish merchant, brought numerous French settlers to the region.

In 1763, the British won the Seven Years' War against the French. Under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, the French ceded all regions east of the Mississippi River to the British and all regions west of the river to the Spanish. As a result, the Illinois region came under British control. Then the European population of the state was only 2000 people. Some French moved to the Spanish colonies, dissatisfied with the fact that British Protestants were the new governors. The Illiniwek Confederacy, an ally of the French colonists, rebelled against the British in 1764, but were defeated. In 1778, during the American Revolutionary War, Illinois was captured by American forces.

Illinois became part of the Northwest Territory in 1787, and the Indiana Territory in 1800. On February 3, 1809, the region of Illinois was separated from the Indiana Territory, and the U.S. government made this separated region a new territory , Illinois Territory. On December 3, 1818, Illinois became the twenty-first State of the United States of America, although its northern border was then much further south than it is now. However, in 1819, state politicians successfully pressured Congress to expand the state's northern border northward. Thus, the region where Chicago is currently located became part of Illinois.


1818 - 1900

In 1819, Vandalia became the capital of Illinois, having been its capital until 1839, when it was moved to Springfield, which is to this day the state capital.

The population of Illinois began to grow dramatically after the 1820s, with the opening of the Erie Canal in New York state, thus facilitating travel from the American east to the north-central. The state's population in 1820 was approximately 55,000. Ten years later, this number would have increased to 157,000. The population of Illinois began to grow even more after the American military forces defeated the Algonquian tribes of the region, who until then constantly attacked the population of the cities and towns. the fields of the state. These Indians were forced to move to areas west of the Mississippi River. Immigrants began to arrive in increasing numbers beginning in the 1830s.

Chicago was founded in 1833, then with a population of 350. The opening of the Erie Canal some years earlier, its strategic position next to the Great Lakes (and, thanks to the Erie Canal, which allowed travel to the Atlantic Ocean), made the city an important railway center. Just four years later, in 1837, Chicago was elevated to city status, with a population of 4,000. The opening of the Illinois-Michigan Canal, which connected the Great Lakes with the hydrographic system of the Mississippi-Missouri River, definitively made the city one of the largest port centers in the country, and the largest railway center in the United States. In just a few decades, Chicago would become the second largest city in the country, only behind New York.

During the 1850s, the U.S. government considered moving its capital, the District of Columbia, further west to what was once called the Western District of Columbia. This capital would be located in what currently constitutes Capitol City (in Kentucky) and Metropolis (Illinois). However, these plans never went beyond paper.

In 1858, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas hotly contested a senatorial seat, which would serve as the state's representative in Congress. Both senatorial candidates participated in a total of seven heated debates, with Douglas finally winning the seat. However, these debates projected the state nationally, and would help Lincoln win the presidential election of 1860. A year later, the American Civil War would break out.

The State of Illinois fought on the side of the Union, the United States proper, against the Confederates. There were some threats of secession from the southern regions of the state, which were primarily rural, and many of their inhabitants were Confederate sympathizers. However, most of the population of Illinois sided with the Union. President Abraham Lincoln and one of the Union's top commanders, Ulysses S. Grant, were natives of the state. Nearly 250,000 Union soldiers came from Illinois, more than from any other state in the Union except New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

The war accelerated the industrialization process of the State. With the end of the war, Chicago prospered as a major industrial center, and the largest food processing center in the world. Numerous railways were built, and wetlands were drained to generate land suitable for cultivation. However, the discontent of the working class in the state's cities grew as the problem of their terrible working conditions and salaries was neither minimized nor solved. Farmers were also dissatisfied with low sales prices and high equipment prices. Farmers and workers united in 1892 to vote for John P. Altgeld. He instituted labor laws, encouraged negotiations and dialogue instead of the use of police force to resolve strikes and labor demonstrations, and improved the state's public education system.


1900 - Present

During the first decades of the 20th century, several labor laws were approved. In addition to that, in 1911 Illinois passed a law that offered financial aid to poor families with young children. Illinois was the first state to pass such a law.

Throughout the first decades of the 20th century, thousands of African Americans began to emigrate en masse from the southern states of the country to Illinois. One of the reasons was the Chicago newspaper of African descent, the Black Defender, which encouraged this migration. The black population of the state's cities increased rapidly, especially in Chicago, where African Americans now make up approximately 37% of the city's population. The greater Afro-descendant presence bothered certain sectors of whites in the state, generating friction between the white and Afro-descendant populations, which culminated in three large popular riots, which took place in 1908 (in Springfield), in 1917 (in East St. Louis) and in 1919 (in Chicago).

Illinois prospered economically during the years of World War I, as well as in the years after the war. In 1920, Congress banned the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages (the "Prohibition"). Numerous gangs illegally trafficked alcoholic beverages in the state. Most of these gangs were led by Al Capone. They often clashed with each other and with the police, and many of these confrontations resulted in deaths. Crime rates exploded in Illinois, especially in Chicago. Prohibition was abolished in 1933.

The Great Depression of 1929 severely affected the state's economy. Many factories and stores had to close due to bankruptcy and thousands of people were left without work. In 1932, the state began to provide financial aid to the unemployed. The economic recession ended with the discovery of large oil reserves in 1937, which made Illinois the fourth largest national producer in just two years.

Illinois' economy grew spectacularly during the years of World War II, with thousands of factories being built in the state. In addition to that, Enrico Fermi and other scientists managed to carry out the first artificial nuclear reaction in the history of humanity, at the University of Chicago. The possibility of causing controlled nuclear reactions opened the possibility of building nuclear reactors for the generation of electricity. The nuclear industry became one of the largest industries in the state's economy. In 1968, construction of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab for short) particle accelerator began, opening four years later. On top of that, during the 1960s, tax incentives from the Illinois government attracted numerous industries to the region, such as the automobile and aerospace industries.

In 1970, Illinois approved a $750 million project that would be used to treat wastewater and industrial contaminants; Until then, most of this waste was dumped directly into the water. In 1973, the Illinois government created a state bingo with the aim of raising funds for the state's educational system. During the 1980s, several high-tech industries moved into the Chicago metropolitan area. In 2000, then-Illinois Governor George Ryan declared a moratorium on death penalty laws in the state. In January 2003, shortly before the end of his term as governor of Illinois, Ryan reduced the sentences of all those convicted from the death penalty to life in prison.



According to the census estimate, for 2005, Illinois had a population of 12,763,371 inhabitants, which represents an increase of 51,355 (or in other words, 0.4%), in relation to the previous year and a increase of 343,724 inhabitants (or 2.8%), in relation to the year 2000. The population increase since the last census is due to a natural increase of 406,425 people (959,470 births minus 553,045 deaths) and a migration net of 63,011 people in the state. External migrations have led to a net gain of 328,020 people, while internal migrations have led to a net loss of 391,031 people.

In 2004, 13.3% of the state's residents (1,682,900) were not born in the United States.

At the northern end of the state, on the shores of Lake Michigan, is Chicago, the third largest city in the nation. In 2000, 23.3 percent of the state's population lived in the city of Chicago, 43.3 percent in Cook County, and 65.6 percent in the Illinois portion of Chicagoland (Greater Chicago). the main industrial and transportation center of the region, which includes Will, DuPage, Kane, and Lake counties, as well as Cook County. The rest of the population lives in the smaller cities and rural areas that dot the state's plains. According to the 2000 census, the center of the state's population was at 41.278216, -88.380238, in Grundy County, northeast of Mazon.



Illinois is said to have a high level of political corruption. After the former Republican governor George Ryan was convicted of bribery, the Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich was also arrested by FBI agents in early 2009 because he is said to have tried after the election of Barack Obama as US President in 2008, whose vacant seat was in the United States Senate, which he could assign as governor to sell. Blagojevich was impeached by the Illinois Senate on January 29, 2009, and in 2013 he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

In addition, the climate is determined by the rivalries between the Chicago metropolitan area and the rest of the state, which has a rural/small-town character. The city of Chicago itself (excluding suburbs) is home to nearly a third of the state's total population. As in almost all major cities in the USA, the Democrats are clearly superior to the Republicans here. On the other hand, in the suburbs of the Chicago metro area, which is home to about another third of the total population, Republican votes are more numerous, particularly in the second-largest county, DuPage County. There are bipartisan priorities in the rest of the state. Democrats fare better in the industrial and university cities, such as Decatur and Urbana, and in the less fertile mining region of the South. In rural areas, especially in the central and northern parts of the state where land prices are very high, Republicans are gaining a lot of votes.

In the past, Illinois has tended to side with the winning presidential nominees, regardless of which party they belonged to. Since the Second World War, the only exceptions have been Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Donald Trump, who could not win in Illinois. Since 1992, however, Illinois has been leaning more and more towards the Democrats, who recently recorded their strongest results in the Midwest there, making Illinois the clear Blue State. Illinois' weight in the electoral college has shrunk in line with most Midwestern states over the past 20 years because its population growth has been slower than the US average. The number of electoral votes fell from 24 (1980 census) to 22 (1990 census) to 21 (2000 census). In the 2012 presidential election, that number shrank further to 20, and the state will send only 19 electoral voters to the electoral college in the next election in 2024. Still, Illinois remains the fifth-largest state in terms of population after California, New York, Texas and Florida, with a correspondingly large proportion of congressmen and electors.

As in other US states, the Illinois constitution provides for a separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judiciary branches.



The governor of the state has been Democrat J. B. Pritzker since January 14, 2019. The governor exercises executive power at the state level, that is, he directs state government and sets policy guidelines. He has the power of pardon, appoints senior officials and judges of the state Constitutional Court, and plays a central role in legislation, signing or vetoing legislation. He is also the commander-in-chief of the Illinois National Guard and represents the state externally. The governor is directly elected by the people every four years.

Other important members of the Executive Branch are the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State and the State Treasurer (roughly equivalent to a Secretary of the Treasury).


Legislative branch

The legislature consists of a bicameral legislature, the Illinois General Assembly. This consists of the House of Representatives with 118 members (deputies) elected by the people for two years and the Senate with 59 members (senators) who are elected for different periods of two to four years. The Democrats currently have a majority in both houses.



The Illinois Supreme Court is at the head of the judiciary. This court only has jurisdiction in the first instance in rare cases; it is usually responsible for reviewing the judgments of the state's appellate courts. The state is divided into five judicial districts, each with its own competent appellate courts. From each district, a judge is elected by the general electorate, who becomes a member of the Supreme Court; an exception to this is the first circuit, which serves Cook County—due to the district's large population, three justices are elected to the Supreme Court. The circuit courts usually have jurisdiction in the first instance.



The death penalty was abolished on July 1, 2011, and there has been a moratorium on its execution since 2000.

Though by no means the first state to criminalize male homosexuality, in 1827 Illinois became the first state to strip those convicted of "sodomy" of the right to vote and serve on a court jury. Illinois was also the first state to completely repeal the sodomy law as part of a general criminal justice reform.

Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of 21 is illegal in Illinois; unlike in some states, which commission state monopolies or special licensees to do so, such drinks are also freely available in normal supermarkets. Since January 1, 2008, smoking in public, enclosed spaces has been banned like in 22 other US states.


Economy and Infrastructure

Illinois' gross domestic product in 2004 was nearly $522 billion, placing it 5th in the nation. The per capita income in 2004 was $34,721. The unemployment rate is 6.1%.

Illinois' main agricultural products are corn, soybeans, cattle and hogs, milk and wheat. Illinois universities are continually researching alternative agricultural products, such as alternative crops. The most notable industrial activities and products in the state are machinery, food processing, electrical equipment, chemical products, the press, metal products, transportation equipment, oil and coal.

The Illinois state income tax is calculated by multiplying net income by a flat rate, currently 3 percent. There are two rates for the state sales tax: 6.25 percent for general merchandise and 1 percent for food, drugs, and medical devices.​ The property tax is the largest single tax in Illinois and the primary source of tax revenue for local government tax districts. The real estate tax is a local (non-state) tax imposed by local government taxing districts—which include counties, municipalities, school districts, and special taxing districts.


Economic sectors

The primary sector corresponds to 1% of Illinois' GDP. Agriculture and livestock together correspond to 1% of the State's GDP, and employ nearly 168,000 people. The state has about 75,000 farms. Illinois is one of the national leaders in the agricultural sector. Fishing and forestry are responsible for about 0.95% of GDP, together employing about 7,000 people, although their actions have negligible effects on the state economy.

The secondary sector corresponds to 21% of Illinois' GDP. The manufacturing industry corresponds to 16% of the State's GDP and employs approximately 970,000 people. The total value of products manufactured in the State is 102 billion dollars. Chicago is the second largest industrial center in the United States, only behind Los Angeles. The main industrialized products manufactured in Illinois are processed foods, machinery, chemicals, steel products, computers, software, electronic devices and printed materials. The construction industry comprises 4.92% of the state's GDP, employing approximately 373,000 people. For its part, mining is responsible for 0.08% of GDP, employing nearly 15,000 people. The state's main natural resource is coal.

The tertiary sector comprises 78% of Illinois' GDP. About 23% of the state's GDP comes from community and personal services. This sector employs more than 2,400,000 people. Wholesale and retail trade correspond to 16% of GDP, and employ approximately 1,580,000 people. Financial and real estate services correspond to about 20% of the state's GDP, employing approximately 678,000 people (Chicago is the main financial center in the Midwest of the United States, and the second largest in the country). Government services account for 10% of GDP, employing approximately 900,000 people. Finally, transport and telecommunications employ around 420,000 people and comprise 7% of GDP.

About 50% of the electricity generated in the state comes from nuclear power plants, 45% is generated in coal-fired thermal power plants and the rest is produced in oil-fired thermal power plants and hydroelectric power plants.



The history of nuclear energy in Illinois is said to begin at Chicago Pile-1, in 1942, with the first artificial nuclear chain reaction in the world's first nuclear reactor, built on a racquet court, an ancient game of rackets. similar to squash, on the University of Chicago campus. In 2006, Illinois had 6 nuclear power plants, which have a total of 11 reactors. As of January 1, 2005, Illinois ranked 1st among the 31 United States with operational nuclear capabilities.​

Illinois is a leading Midwest oil refiner, with a combined crude oil distillation capacity of nearly 0.9 million barrels per day. However, Illinois has very small oil reserves, less than 1 percent of U.S. proven oil reserves. 81 percent of the state's home heating systems use natural gas, while less than one 1% run on oil.

Approximately 68% of Illinois has carboniferous strata originating from the Pennsylvanian period. According to the Illinois State Geological Survey, 211 billion tons of bituminous coal lies beneath the state's surface, with an estimated heating value greater than that of the oil fields of the Arabian Peninsula.​ However, this coal has a high sulfur content, which requires special equipment in its treatment to reduce atmospheric pollution.



Illinois has very fertile soils, which are mainly used for soybean and corn cultivation (Corn Belt). In addition, other products such as B. wheat, sorghum or fruit, and operated livestock (pigs, cattle and dairy products). Illinois and Iowa regularly tie for first place in US soybean production, and Illinois is the second-highest corn-producing state after Iowa.



In addition to agriculture, industry also plays an important role. The heart of the state's industrial economy is Chicago, which is part of the Rust Belt. Poet Carl Sandburg immortalized this in his poem Chicago: “Hog Butcher for the World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler; Stormy, husky, brawling, City of the Big Shoulders". A large slaughterhouse and food processing industry developed here because of the favorable traffic situation where many railroad routes meet at the southern tip of Lake Michigan. The waterway connection from here to the Mississippi River and the St. Lawrence Seaway also contribute to its role as a commercial center (Chicago Board of Trade with commodities and futures, as well as home to several retail groups such as Sears) and transportation hub. In the south of the city (on the Indiana border near Gary), the iron and steel industry determines the economic focus.

There is also industry in the smaller centers of the country. This is mostly closely related to agriculture, such as agricultural machinery (John Deere is based in Moline and Caterpillar in Peoria) and agribusiness (Archer Daniels Midland and A.E. Staley in Decatur make soybean oil and corn syrup). In the south of the country there are deposits of coal (rather soft lignite with little bitumen), as well as smaller reserves of natural gas and oil.

The economic share of government (in the state capital of Springfield), insurance (in Bloomington) and information technology (especially in the university towns of Champaign and Urbana) is increasing with the growing importance of the service sectors.



The I-24, I-39, I-55, I-57, I-64, I-70, I-72, I-74, I-80, I-88, I-90, I-94, I -155, I-180, I-190, I-255, I-270, I-280, I-290, I-294, I-355 and I-474 as well as major federal highways such as: US 6, US 12, US 14, US 20, US 24, US 30, US 34, US 36, US 40, US 41, US 45, US 50, US 51, US 52, US 54, US 60, US 62, and US 67 have in Illinois their course.

Chicago, on the southern tip of Lake Michigan, forms a hub for the rail network here, but there are also tangential connections to this spoke system (e.g. Cairo-Galena or St. Louis-Indianapolis). Chicago is the main Amtrak station between the two coasts. The Chicago suburbs are also served by a commuter rail system, METRA, which on some lines uses the only electrified rail system west of the Appalachians.

air traffic
O'Hare International Airport northwest of Chicago is one of the busiest commercial airports in the world. About 75% of the state's passenger air traffic is handled here. Also in Chicago is Midway Airport with about 22% share of the number of passengers. The remaining 3% of air traffic takes place at the airports of Moline (1%), Bloomington, Peoria (1⁄2% each), Rockford, Champaign (1⁄4% each), as well as four other passenger airports.



Illinois criminal offenses are divided into 6 categories called classes. Class 4 crimes are considered the least serious, followed by classes 3, 2 and 1. Class 5 is called class X and is considered the most serious type of crime in the state, with the exception of first degree murder, which is a class 6 special crime. Illinois became the 16th state to abolish the death penalty, although life imprisonment is applied for serious crimes.

The state's level of violent crime is slightly higher than the national average. It is 4.0 cases per 1,000 inhabitants, compared to 3.7 for the country. Campton Hills is ranked number one among the safest cities in the state. In 2020, 18 crimes were recorded (one violent crime and 17 property crimes). Mount Vernon is recognized as the most dangerous city in 2020.



The first school in Illinois was founded in 1784. In 1825, the state government authorized the founding of a public education system, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

Currently, all educational institutions in Illinois must follow certain rules and standards dictated by the Illinois State Board of Education. This board directly controls the state's public school system, which is divided into several school districts. The council is made up of nine members chosen by the governor and approved by the state, for a term of up to six years. Each major city (city), various secondary cities (towns), and each county consists of at least one school district. In Illinois, a given school district often operates in several cities at the same time, even if it is centered in another given city. In cities, the responsibility for managing schools falls to the municipal school district, while in less densely populated regions, this responsibility falls to the school districts operating in the county. Illinois allows the existence of "charter schools" — independent public schools, which are not managed by school districts, but which depend on public budgets for their support. Schooling is compulsory for all children and adolescents over seven years of age, until the completion of secondary education or until the age of sixteen.

In 1999, the State's public schools served approximately 2,028,000 students, employing approximately 124,800 teachers. For their part, private schools served approximately 299,900 students, employing approximately 19,600 teachers. The State's public school system used about $13.603 million, and public school spending was approximately $7,700 per student. About 85.9% of the state's inhabitants over 25 years of age have a high school diploma.

The first State library was founded in 1804, in Albion. Today, Illinois has thousands of libraries, managed by 629 different public library systems, moving an average of 7.4 books per capita annually.

Illinois' first institution of higher education, the College of Illinois, was founded in Jacksonville in 1809. Currently, the state has 175 institutions of higher education, of which 60 are public and 115 are private. The state's largest institution of higher education is the University System of Illinois.



All the major North American leagues have a team in Chicago. Chicago Bulls are one of the best-known basketball teams in the world thanks to the popularity of one of the best basketball players in the world: Michael Jordan. The city has two Major League Baseball teams. The Chicago Cubs have played in the National League since 1876 and the Chicago White Sox have played in the American League since 1902.

American football's Chicago Bears have won the National Football League championship nine times since their debut in 1920. The Chicago Blackhawks have competed in the National Hockey League since 1926, where they have won the Stanley Cup six times. The Chicago Fire is the soccer team that has played in Major League Soccer since 1998.

In terms of college sports, Illinois has two teams in the Big Ten Conference: the Illinois Fighting Illini and the Northwestern Wildcats. The Fighting Illini have won five national championships and three Rose Bowl football championships, while the men's basketball team has won 17 conference championships and played in five Final Fours. For their part, the Wildcats have won eight football conference championships and one Rose Bowl.

The state has numerous racetracks, notably Chicagoland Speedway, Gateway International Raceway, Chicago Motor Speedway, Illinois State Fairgrounds and DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, which have hosted IndyCar Series, NASCAR and USAC races, as well as National Drag races. Hot Rod Association.

The Quad Cities Open Tournament, currently known as the John Deere Classic, is a golf tournament on the PGA Tour. Additionally, the former Western Open and the current BMW Championship have been mostly played in Illinois. For their part, the Olympia Fields, Medinah and Chicago golf courses have hosted multiple editions of the United States Open.



Because of its central position and proximity to the Rust Belt and Corn Belt, Illinois is a national crossroads and major transportation hub, with Chicago at its center.

O'Hare International Airport (ORD) is one of the busiest airports in the world, serving numerous domestic and international flights. It is the nerve center of United Airlines and American Airlines. Currently, a process to expand the airport is being developed. Midway International Airport (MDW) is Chicago's second airport. For its part, Belleville Mid-America Airport (BLV) serves the St. Louis metropolitan area (eastern suburbs, belonging to Illinois).

Illinois has an extensive railroad network (11,685 km of railroad tracks in 2004, more than any other U.S. state except Texas) that transports passengers and freight. Chicago is a national hub for Amtrak, a company that provides passenger rail service to nearly 40 cities in the state.

When it comes to road transportation, Illinois' road network is the third largest in the country, behind Texas and California. In 2003, it had 222,936 kilometers of public roads, of which 3,942 were interstate highways, considered part of the United States federal highway system. The main Interstates that pass through the state are: I-24, I-39, I-55, I-57, I-64, I-70, I-72, I-74, I-80, I-88, I-90, and I-94. In 2005, there were 1,355 deaths on Illinois roads, the lowest number in more than 60 years.28​

In addition to the state's railroad lines, the Mississippi and Illinois rivers provide additional routes to the state's agricultural interests. Lake Michigan connects Chicago and the rest of Illinois to all eastern waterways.

Illinois' first newspaper, the Illinois Herald, was first printed in 1814, in Kaskaskia. Currently, about 660 newspapers are published in the State, of which approximately 80 are daily newspapers. The first radio station in Illinois was founded in 1921, in Tuscola, and the first television station, in 1947, in Chicago. Currently, Illinois has about 278 radio stations (of which 95 are AM, 183 are FM (Frequency Modulated) and 45 are television.