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Profile for Chicago, Illinois, IL

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"Windy City," "City of Big Shoulders," "Second City"

Financial and transportation center of the Midwest

Chicago is a city in Cook County.

It is the county seat.

One tradition has it that the name is an Indian word meaning "great." Another says it derives from Algonquian for "onion place" because of the onion or garlic growing there.

The latitude of Chicago is 41.85N. The longitude is -87.65W.

It is in the Central Standard time zone. Elevation is 587 feet.

The estimated population, in 2003, was 2,869,121.

Median household income
Source: 2000 census, U.S. Census Bureau
For more census details and comparisons, see our Chicago demographic reports
Chicago is on Lake Michigan, at the Indiana border.
The city's importance as a transportation hub brought dramatic growth. The population nearly tripled from 1850 to 1855.

Much of the city was destroyed in an 1871 fire traditionally blamed on Mrs. O'Leary's cow. In 1893, Chicago hosted the World's Columbian Exposition, which gave rise to many of the city's cultural institutions.

Known for its ethnic neighborhoods, arts scene and bustling downtown loop.

Local contributions to the language: Chicago rubdown (a beating); Chicago piano (machine gun); Chicagorilla (gangster)
Public transportation: Chicago Transit Authority (See the transit and travel sections below.)

Crime: The number of violent crimes recorded by the FBI in 2003 was 598. The violent crime rate was per 1,000 people.
Chicago received national attention for a July 1995 heat wave in which 739 people died.
Filming location for:
· 2006 movie, "Flags of Our Fathers"
· 1980 movie, "The Blues Brothers"
· 2006 movie, "Death of a President"
· 1990 movie, "Goodfellas"
Census 2000 highlights: Third largest city in the U.S., by population
Well-known residents have included:
· Quincy Jones, musician, composer, producer
· Studs Terkel, writer
· Benny Goodman, clarinetist
· Hugh Hefner, Playboy publisher
· Langston Hughes, poet
Local bands (past and present) have included Chicago, Earth, Wind and Fire, Smashing Pumpkins, Chi-Lites
Coffee: National and regional coffee companies with outlets here include Gloria Jean's, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, Panera Bread, Seattle's Best Coffee, Torrefazione Italia
Local festivals include:
  • Celtic Fest Chicago - Sept. 15-16, 2007
  • German-American Festival - Sept. 7-9, 2007
  • International Film Festival - Oct. 4-17, 2007
  • Hong Kong Film Festival - Feb. 2-15, 2007
  • Jeff Fest - June 29-July 1, 2007
  • Chicago Blues Festival - June 7-10, 2007
  • Chicago Outdoor Film Festival - July 17-Aug. 28, 2007
  • Chicago Jazz Festival - Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2007
  • Chicago Latin Music Festival - Aug. 25-26, 2007
  • Viva! Chicago Latin Music Festival - Aug. 25-26, 2007
  • Belmont-Sheffield Music Fests - June 2-3, 2007
  • Chicago Humanities Fall Festival - Oct. 27-Nov. 11, 2007
  • Mayfest - May 18-20, 2007
  • Tulip Days - April 16-May 31, 2007
  • Chicago Gospel Music Festival - June 1-3, 2007
  • Oktoberfest - Sept. 28-30, 2007
  • Venetian Night - July 28, 2007
  • Chicago Country Music Festival - June 30-July 1, 2007
Dates often change. Check Chicago web sites and events links in the sections below.
Performing arts: Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Second City
Nearby parks & recreation: Grant Park, Lincoln Park, Jackson Park
Chicago attractions: Lincoln Park Zoo, Adler Planetarium, boat tours on the Chicago River
Sports teams: Wolves (AHL), White Sox (AL), Cubs (NL), Bears (NFL), Bulls (NBA), Blackhawks (NHL), Fire (soccer), Rush (Arena Football League), Sky (WNBA)
Historic sites and museums: Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio, Museum of Science and Industry, Shedd Aquarium
Colleges and universities: DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, North Park University, University Of Chicago, St. Xavier University, Illinois Institute of Technology
Support for libraries: Local government funding for the local library system, in fiscal years 2001-2002, was on par with the national average. (See library links below.)
Gays & lesbians
National index: 100
Local index: 157
I have struck a city -- a real city -- and they call it Chicago ? Having seen it, I urgently desire never to see it again. It is inhabited by savages.
-- American Notes
Rudyard Kipling
· "My Kind of Town"
· "Born in Chicago" (Paul Butterfield Blues Band)

Listed places near Chicago

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Cook County
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Neighborhoods in Chicago include Albany Park, Andersonville, Archer Heights, Armour Square, Ashburn, Austin, Avalon Park, Avondale, Back of the Yards, Belmont Cragin ... More neighborhood info

Neighborhoods in Chicago include Albany Park, Andersonville, Archer Heights, Armour Square, Ashburn, Austin, Avalon Park, Avondale, Back of the Yards, Belmont Cragin ... More neighborhood info

Census & demographics

Sections below provide additional information and links about Chicago demographics, travel and tourism, nearby airports, cemeteries, the Cook County economy, education, environment, genealogy, government, historic sites, Chicago area jobs, libraries, maps, museums, newspapers and other media, nonprofit groups, real estate, recreation, religion, transportation, and weather in the 60602 ZIP code.

Chicago, IL locator map
(Also see local map below.)
Chicago Web sites

Ancestry & family history

7% of Chicago residents report German ancestry, and 7% report Irish. For more info on local ancestry groups, see the Chicago ancestry & family history guide.

Post a query on a message board:

Records & databases:





Courts & laws
Disability access & rights

At the time of the 2000 census, the per capita income in Chicago was $20,175, compared with $21,587 nationally.


25% of Chicago residents age 25 and older have a bachelor's or advanced college degree.

Fairs, festivals & other events
Chicago festival dates:

Dates often change. Check with local tourism officials to be sure.

Chicago festival web sites:

Fall foliage National Forest foliage hotspots
 Foliage hotlines
Geocaching & geography
Gifts & collectibles
Guides to Chicago
Historical societies
Historical societies

Historic districts in Chicago include Austin Historic District, Buena Park Historic District, East Ravenswood Historic District, Gold Coast Historic District, Hyde Park-Kenwood Historic District, Lakeview Historic District, Logan Square Boulevards Historic District, Maxwell Street Historic District, Michigan-Wacker Historic District, North Wells Street Historic District ... View historic districts

Housing & real estate

Median rent in Chicago, at the time of the 2000 Census, was $543.   Monthly homeowner costs, for people with mortgages, were $1,216.


Libraries in Chicago include Albany Park Branch, Altgeld Branch, Archer Branch, Austin Branch, Austin-Irving Branch, Avalon Branch, Back of the Yards Branch, Bessie Coleman, Beverly Branch, Bezazian Branch ... View libraries


Media outlets

Newspapers in Chicago include Austin Weekly News, Chicago Journal, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Hyde Park Herald, North Lawndale News

TV stations in Chicago include WBBM, WCIU, WCPX, WFLD, WGN, WLS, WMAQ, WOCK-CA, WSNS, WTTW, WYCC.

National Public Radio programming is carried locally by WBEZ.

Parks & recreation
Photos & post cards

Cook County supported John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election. For more information, see our Chicago political report.

Postal Service

Chicago restaurants taking online reservations include 10pin Bowling Lounge, 312 Chicago, 525 Zest, 676 Restaurant and Bar, Adobo Grill - Wicker Park, Aldente Cafe & Lounge, Allen's - the New American Cafe, Ambria, Aria, Atwood Cafe ... View restaurants


The average commute time for Chicago workers is 35 minutes, compared with 26 minutes nationwide.

A total of 628 fatal motor vehicle accidents occurred in Chicago between 2001 and 2003, according to reports gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

This is a rate of 2.2 fatal crashes per 10,000 population, which was lower than the national norm.


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“ I have struck a city -- a real city -- and they call it Chicago ? Having seen it, I urgently desire never to see it again. It is inhabited by savages. ”
~ American Notes
Rudyard Kipling

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