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Illinois State Guide

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Illinois become a 21st state on December 3, 1818.Image source:https://www.illinois.gov/
The name "Illinois" derives from a Native American word meaning "tribe of superior men." At present, Illinois is the sixth most densely inhabited state in the country with approximately 11.5 [1] million people. Springfield is the state capital of Illinois and also the home of President Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln is buried just outside Springfield at Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site.

Illinois is habitat to the Chicago Bears Football Team, Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, Chicago Bulls basketball team, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox baseball teams, and Chicago Fire soccer team.

At over 6,000, Illinois has more units of government (i.e., city, county, township, etc.) than any other state [2].
Former presidents Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan, and current President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey all hail from Illinois.

History of Illinois

The state slogan, "Land of Lincoln," was accepted by the General Assembly in
Illinois is surendered by water at every border. The highest point in Illinois is Charles Mound in JoDaviess County. Image source:
1955. Illinois had two different capital cities, Kaskaskia and Vandalia, before Springfield. In 1865, Illinois was the only state to endorse the 13th Amendment to the Constitution eradicating slavery [3].

Before Illinois became a State, it was known as the Illinois Territory. In early 1818, the General Assembly of the Illinois Territory sent a plea to the United States Congress asking to be admitted into the Union.

Illinois was discovered in 1673, Fort Chartres founded by settlers from France in 1720 and entered the Union on December 3, 1818. Illinois is surrounded by water bodies at every border: the Mississippi River on the west; the Ohio and Wabash Rivers in the south, and Lake Michigan in the North. The States having border with Illinois are: Kentucky, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Indiana. The first Railroad train crossed the Mississippi River on the river's first bridge in Rock Island, Illinois on April 21, 1856. The highest point in Illinois is Charles Mound in JoDaviess County, elevation, 1,235 feet, and the lowest point is in Cairo, Alexander county at the Mississippi River, elevation 279 feet [4].

For complete information on this click here

By 1920, Illinois showed the growth in nearly every field including coal mining, industry, farming, urbanization, and transportation. In World War II, Illinois send thousands of its people to battle in Europe and the Pacific.

Historical facts of Illinois

  • The state populace in 1830 was 157,445.
  • The first aquarium opened in Chicago in 1893.
  • The world's first skyscraper was built in Chicago in 1885.
  • Peoria is the oldest community in Illinois.
  • Metropolis, the home of Superman, really exists in southern Illinois.
  • Before Abraham Lincoln was elected president, he served in the Illinois legislature and practiced law in Springfield.
  • Illinois has 102 counties [2].

Geography of Illinois

Illinois is located in the north-central United States. It is bordered by Wisconsin to the north, Iowa and Missouri to the
Illinois is located in the North-Central United States, bordered by the Winconsin Iowa and Missouri. Image source: http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
west, Kentucky to the south and Indiana to the east, and the Wabash and Ohio Rivers on the southeast and south.

The landscape of the country can be divided into three major regions: The Central Plains, The Shawnee Hills and The Gulf Coastal Plain.

Central Plains

90% of Illinois is bordered by the Central Plains region. The Central Plains dart from Lake Michigan west and south to cover most of the state and can be divided into three sections; the Great Lakes Plain, the Driftless Plains and the Till Plains.

The Great Lakes Plains

This low flat extends land along Lake Michigan and develops some small hills of north and west of Chicago.

The Driftless Plains

In the northwest of Illinois, the Driftless Plains offer the highest height in the state. Large hills and valleys are also present in this small area of Driftless Plains. This is where Charles Mound, the highest point in Illinois, is located.

The Till Plains

This is the largest section of the Central Plains, the Till Plains offers Illinois' inputs to the Corn Belt.

This area of fertile soil personifies the landscape that made Illinois one of the top five corn producing states, one of the leading agricultural states in the nation and gave Illinois one of its nicknames; The Prairie State.

The Shawnee Hills

The Shawnee Hills belongs to the southern part of Illinois, south of the Central Plains. There are Rivers, valleys and woodland in this region. It is a small strip of land which is exemplified by higher altitude. A large area of the Shawnee Hills lies within the Shawnee National Forest, one of the largest cosseted federal forests in the country.

The Gulf Coastal

The Gulf Coastal enlarges from the Gulf of Mexico to the extreme southern tip of Illinois. The area is situated between the Ohio River on the east and the Mississippi River on the west. It is also known as "Little Egypt" because it resembles the Nile Delta. It is hilly but flattens significantly towards the Kentucky border.

Illinois Forests

Illinois forests attract visitors from throughout the state. The Shawnee National Forest remains Illinois’ best-known forest. The most popular Illinois forests are Big River, Hidden Springs, Lowden-Miller, Sand Ridge, Trail of Tears and White Pines.

Some of the famous Forests in Illinois are-

Big River State Forest

Big River State Forest is a woodland border area that covers much of Illinois. Among its vegetation are two
Big River State Forest is a woodland border area that covers much of Illinois.Image source: http://dnr.state.il.us/
endangered plants - penstemon, commonly known as bearded tongue, and Patterson’s bindweed, which N.H. Patterson documented in 1873, for the first time anywhere, in the forest. Common plants found in the prairie are big and little bluestem, Indian grass, June grass, grama grass, flower-of-an-hour, cottonweed, prairie coneflower, pale prairie coneflower, prairie bush clover, purple prairie clover and blazing star.

Address- RR 1, Box 118
Keithsburg, IL 61442
For more information click here

Hidden Springs State Forest

The forest comprises of three individual tracts covering portions of eight sections of land. The terrain varies from flat bottomland areas along Richland Creek to relatively steep hillsides. Native trees in the forest include white, red, black, bur, post, pin, shingle and chinquapin oaks; ash; hickory; sugar and silver maple; sycamore; black walnut; and cottonwood. Plantations of native and introduced species include white, red and scotch pine; red cedar; sweet gum, butternut; tulip poplar; black locust; and cottonwood. In addition, many other shrubs and minor individual species of trees are located throughout the forest.

2438 E 700N Rd.
Strasburg, IL 62465

For more information click here

Lowden-Miller State Forest

It is located in northwest Illinois in Ogle County. The Forest was named for Frank O. Lowden, a former Illinois governor, and the Miller families. It is located across the Rock River from another DNR property, Castle Rock Sate Park, which oversees its daily operations. One can allow deer, squirrel and turkey for hunting.

1365 W. Castle Rock Rd.
Oregon, IL 61061
For more information click here

Sand Ridge State Forest

The forest is an island in a sea of agriculture. Image source: http://dnr.state.il.us/
There is oak-hickory woodland, wide range of pine plantations, open fields, grasslands and completely unique sand prairies. An abundance of deer, red and gray fox, coyote, squirrel, raccoon, quail, pheasant, woodcock and dove make this an ideal location for hunting.

P.O. Box 111
Forest City, IL 61532
For more information click here.

Trail of Tears State Forest

The State Forest System in Illinois was established for the growing of timber needed for forest products, watershed protection and for outdoor recreation. Trail of Tears State Forest is a multiple-use site managed for timber, wildlife, ecosystem preservation, watershed protection and recreation. The shaded north-facing slopes and protected coves support stands of American beech, tuliptree and sugar maple, or red oak, tuliptree and sweetgum.

3240 State Forest Road
Jonesboro, IL 62952
For more information click here.

White Pines State Forest

It is located in the heart of the Rock River valley. There are plenty of outdoor recreation activities, such as hiking,
It is located in the heart of the Rock River valley. Image source: https://dnr.state.il.us/
fishing, camping and picnicking. There are also youth group campgrounds in the forest. Archery deer and firearm deer hunting are allowed in season as part of the site's deer reduction program.

6712 West Pines Road
Mt. Morris, IL 61054

For more information click here.

For more information on the forests contact-
Illinois Dept.of Natural Resources
Office of Land Management
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702

Data & Statistics[5]
  1. Capital: Springfield
  2. Counties: (102)
  3. Geographic Center: Chestnut
  4. Highest Point: Charles Mound - 1235 feet, 45th highest state
  5. Inland Water: 700 sq.mi., state with 29th largest amount of inland water
  6. Largest Cities: Chicago, Rockford, Peoria, Springfield, Aurora
  7. Largest Lakes: Carlyle Lake - 24,580 acres, Rend Lake - 18,900 acres
  8. Land Area: 56,400 sq. mi., 385 miles long and 218 miles wide, 24th largest state
  9. Latitude:36.9540 to 42.4951N
  10. Longitude:87.3840 to 91.4244 W
  11. Lowest Point: Mississippi River - 279 feet, 33rd lowest state low point

Climate of Illinois

  • Highest Temperature- The highest temperature recorded in Illinois is 117 degrees. This record high was recorded on July 14, 1954 at East St. Louis.
  • Lowest Temperature- The lowest temperature in Illinois got -36 degrees which was recorded on January 5, 1999 at Congerville.
  • Average Temperature- Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 87.1 degrees to a low of 9.8 degrees.
  • Climate- Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 87.1 degrees to a low of 9.8 degrees[6].

Rivers in Illinois

The rivers in Illinois are home to people, plants and animals. Historically, humans chose land close to major waterways to build their communities. Sites close to rivers had much appeal for the many resources and opportunities they presented. The four main rivers in the state are the Illinois, Mississippi, Wabash and Ohio.

Illinois River

Length – 332 miles
Drainage – 18,566,400 acres including land in Illinois,Wisconsin
and Indiana
Tributaries/Cities – major tributaries:Des Plaines, Fox, Kankakee,
Vermilion, Mackinaw, Sangamon, Spoon, La Moine rivers; major
cities: La Salle, Peru, Ottawa, Peoria, Pekin, East Peoria.
This river is divided into navigation reaches by a series of locks and dams. The river banks contain many lakes and backwaters. Natural sedimentation processes have been altered and accelerated by human activities such as agriculture, levee building and urbanization.

Mississippi River

Length – 581 miles as an Illinois border
Drainage – over 30,000,000 acres in Illinois (including small
areas in Wisconsin and Indiana)
Tributaries/Cities – major tributaries: Galena, Apple, Rock, Edwards,
Illinois, Kaskaskia and Big Muddy rivers: major cities: Moline,
East Moline, Rock Island, Quincy, Alton, East St. Louis,
The Mississippi River is the largest river in the United States, carrying about 40 percent of the nation's rainfall to the sea. It discharges about 620,000 cubic feet per second into the Gulf of Mexico.

Wabash River

Length – 230 miles as an Illinois border river
Drainage – 5,496,500 acres in Illinois
Tributaries/Cities – major tributaries: Embarras, Vermilion and
Little Wabash rivers; major cities: Palestine, Mt. Carmel
The Wabash is the largest natural free-flowing river east of the Mississippi River.

Ohio River

Length– composes 133 miles of Illinois' border
Drainage – 7,079,680 acres in Illinois
Tributaries/Cities – major tributaries:Wabash and Saline rivers;
major cities: Rosiclare, Golconda, Brookport, Metropolis, Cairo
The Ohio River was important in the settlement of Illinois by Europeans. In 1818, when Illinois became a state, nearly the entire population of the state was in southern Illinois. Gallatin County, with 3,200 settlers, was the most populous area in the eastern part of the state [9].

Lakes in Illinois

Lake Michigan accounts for most of the water present in the state. It is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by volume. Other notable lakes in Illinois are:Anderson, Lake Cedar, Lake Rend, Lake Grass, Lake Lake, Catherine Grays Lake.

Important Statistics-

  • Longitude / Latitude&; Longitude: 87 30' W to 91 30' W
  • Latitude: 36 58' N to 42 30' N
  • Length x Width Illinois is 390 miles long and 210 miles wide.
  • Geographic Center-Near the geographic center of Illinois is a small village in Logan County called Chestnut. Chestnut is located between Lincoln and Decatur about 28 miles northeast of Springfield.
  • Longitude: 89 18.4'W
  • Latitude: 40 0.8'N
  • Borders Illinois is bordered by Wisconsin on the north and Kentucky in the south. On the east, Illinois is bordered by Lake Michigan and Indiana. Illinois borders Iowa and Missouri on the west.
  • Total Area Illinois covers 57,918 square miles, making it the 25th largest of the 50 states.
  • Land Area 55,593 square miles of Illinois are land areas.
  • Water Area 2,325 square miles of Illinois are covered by water.
  • Highest Point The highest point in Illinois is Charles Mound at 1,235 feet above sea level.
  • Lowest Point The lowest point in Illinois is on the Mississippi River; 279 feet above sea level.
  • Mean Elevation The Mean Elevation of the state of Illinois is 600 feet above sea level.
  • Major Rivers Illinois River, Mississippi River, Ohio River, Wabash River[7]
  • Major Lakes Lake Michigan, Rend Lake

Demographics of Illinois

According to the 2013 census, the estimated population of Illinois is 12,882,135 and reflects a hike of .4% from the 2010 census (12,830,632). Estimated Percentage of Various Races in 2010-
White alone- 77.7%
Black or African American alone- 14.7%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone- 0.6%
Asian alone- 5.1%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone- 0.1%
Two or More Races- 1.8%
Hispanic or Latino- 16.5%
White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2013- 62.7% [10]

Data for Illinois show that the five most populous incorporated places and their 2010 Census counts are Chicago, 2,695,598; Aurora, 197,899; Rockford, 152,871; Joliet, 147,433; and Naperville, 141,853. Chicago decreased by 6.9 percent since the 2000 Census. Aurora grew by 38.4 percent, Rockford grew by 1.8 percent, Joliet grew by 38.8 percent, and Naperville grew by 10.5 percent.

The largest county is Cook with a population of 5,194,675. Its population decreased by 3.4 percent since 2000. The other counties in the top five include DuPage, with a population of 916,924 (increase of 1.4 percent); Lake, 703,462 (increase of 9.2 percent); Will, 677,560 (increase of 34.9 percent); and Kane, 515,269 (increase of 27.5 percent) [11].

Economy of Illinois

The Chicago metropolitan area has many of the nation's largest companies, including Boeing, McDonalds, Motorola, and
Illinois is a leading producer of soyabean, corn and swine.                 Image source:www.illinois.gov
United Airlines. The state's industrial output include machinery, food processing, electrical equipment, chemical products, publishing, fabricated metal products, transportation equipment, petroleum and coal. Illinois is rich in resources. Farming, mining, and oil are vital parts of its economy.

Illinois is a leading producer of soybeans, corn and swine. The state's climate and varied soil types enable farmers to grow and raise many other agricultural commodities, including cattle, wheat, oats, sorghum, hay, sheep, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Illinois also produces several specialty crops, such as buckwheat, horseradish, ostriches, fish and Christmas trees.

Industries in Illinois

Manufacturing is the #1 industry in Illinois, due to highly trained workforce, superior logistics and infrastructure, and commitment to economic growth. A foundation of strength for generations to come, Illinois manufacturing provides a broad range of jobs, fosters technology and innovation leadership, and provides economic stability within the state.

Manufacturing comprises approximately 13% of our state’s gross domestic product (GDP) and makes up more than 577,400 workers, or about 10% of our total workforce.

  • Illinois has the third largest manufacturing output out of all the 50 states.
  • The Illinois manufacturing sector surpassed that of North Carolina’s in 2011 to become the third largest manufacturing state.
  • Illinois has the second largest plastics and rubber products manufacturing output in the nation.
  • Illinois has the second largest Machinery manufacturing output in the nation.
  • Illinois has the second largest Printing & related support equipment manufacturing output in the nation.
  • Illinois has the 4th largest Petroleum and Coal Manufacturing output in the nation.
  • Illinois has the 4th largest fabricated metal product manufacturing output in the nation.
  • Illinois has the 5th largest Electrical equipment, appliance & component manufacturing output in the nation[8].

Tourist Attractions Of Illinois

People visiting Illinois will find the state offers great attractions including world-class historical sites and amazing displays of American History. Major Tourist attractions are as follows-

  • City of Chicago – Chicago has a rich offering of culture, arts, museums, universities,
  • concerts, sports, and other entertainment.
  • Ronald Reagan Trail
  • Gateway Geyser
  • Illinois State Fair
  • Lake Michigan
  • Mississippi River

Illinois Government

The Government of Illinois is fortified by the Constitution of Illinois which is the forth and current draft adopted in 1970Image source: https://www.illinois.gov/
The Government of Illinois is fortified by the Constitution of Illinois which is the forth and current draft adopted in 1970. There have been four Illinois constitution and fourth one is currently active. On August 26, 1818 the first constitution was being adopted and later ratified in 1848, 1870 and 1970.

The government of Illinois has three branches of government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial.

The Executive branch comprises of six elected officers and their various departments. The six elected officers are Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller, Treasurer.

The General assembly of Illinois is the Legislative branch which comprises of 118 member Illinois house of representative and 59 members Illinois Senate. They have the power to enact, amend laws and to pass resolutions. The House consists of 118 representatives elected from legislative districts for two year terms. The State Legislature has the authority to make laws and indict judges. The Illinois Senate consists of 59 Senators elected from Legislative districts.

The Judiciary of Illinois is responsible for maintaining the law of Illinois. It consists of Supreme Court, Appellate Court and Circuit Courts.

For more information on Government of Illinois click here.

Transportation of Illinois

Illinois Department of Transportation is responsible for management of transportation of the state which includes
llinois Department of Transportation is responsible for management of transportation of the state which includes railways roadways canals and terminal such as railway station, airports, bus stations etc.                 Image source:http://www.idot.illinois.gov/
railways roadways canals and terminal such as railway station, airports, bus stations etc. It manages inter-connectivity of all the transportation means for the efficient movement of goods and people. The department is headquartered in Springfield and has five district offices located through the state.

Contact Details-
Illinois Department of Transportation
2300 S. Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, Illinois 62764
(217) 782-7820 or TTY (217) 524-4875

For more information click here

Illinois Healthcare

The Illinois Department of Public Health believes in taking major health initiatives to protect the general health of
The department was created to regulate medical practitioner and to protect sanitation. Image source:http://www.idph.state.il.us/
people of Illinois and countless visitors to the state. It was created to regulate medical practitioner and to protect sanitation. Maintaining the quality of our food, advanced hospital and nursing home care, to check the well-being of recreation areas, supervising the inspection of milk producing farms, maintaining the state's vital records and screening newborns for hereditary diseases are just some of the duties of IDPH. The Department is organized into six offices, each of which addresses a distinct area of public health. Each office operates and supports numerous ongoing programs and is prepared to respond to extraordinary situations as they arise.

Contact Details-
Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466

Education System in Illinois

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) administers public education in the state of Illinois. The State Board consists of nine members who are appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate. The Illinois P-20 Council is working to improve education in Illinois.
The 30-member Council chosen by the Governor consists of business leaders, teachers, union leaders, faculty, school board members, parents, and representatives of private colleges, universities, community colleges, foundations, and state education and workforce agencies. Four legislators are appointed to the Council by the Illinois House and Senate majority and minority leaders.

Public Universities in Ilinois

  • Chicago State University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Governors State University
  • Illinois State University
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • U of I at Chicago
  • U of I at Springfield
  • U of I at Urbana/Champaign
  • Western Illinois University

For more information on universities click here
  1. Illinois History
  2. Illinois Facts
  3. Illinois State Formation
  4. Illinois Highest Point
  5. Data and statistics
  6. Climate
  7. Demography
  8. Industries
  9. Rivers
  10. Races
  11. Counties Population
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