Chicago, Ill.

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Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Mayor: Rahm Emanuel (to April 2019)

2010 census population (rank): 2,695,598 (3); Male: 1,308,072 (48.5%); Female: 1,387,526 (51.5%); White: 1,212,835 (45.0%); Black: 887,608 (32.9%); American Indian and Alaska Native: 10,290 (0.5%); Asian: 147,164 (5.5%); Other race: 360,493 (13.4%); Two or more races: 73,148 (2.7%); Hispanic/Latino: 778,862 (28.9%). 2010 population 18 and over: 2,073,968; 65 and over: 277,932%; Median age: 31.5.

2014 population estimate (rank): 2,714,856 (3)

See additional census data

Land area: 227 sq mi. (588 sq km);

Alt.: Highest, 672 ft.; lowest, 578.5 ft.

Avg. daily temp.: Jan., 22.4° F; July, 75.1° F

Churches: Protestant, 850; Roman Catholic, 252; Jewish, 51;

City-owned parks: 552 (7,300 ac.);

Radio stations: AM, 21; FM, 37;

Television stations: 31

Civilian Labor Force (2013) : 1,452,767;

Percent unemployed: 12.7%;

Per capita personal income (2013): $28,548

Chamber of Commerce: Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, One IBM Plaza, 330 N. Wabash, Suite 2800, Chicago, IL 60611

Chicago is the largest city in Illinois and the seat of Cook County. It stretches for 22 mi along the southwest shore of Lake Michigan in the northeast part of the state.

The first white men known to have visited the region were Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette in 1673. The first permanent white settler was John Kinzie, who is sometimes called the Father of Chicago. He took over a trading post in 1796 that had been established in 1791 by Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable, a black fur trapper. Fort Dearborn, a blockhouse and stockade, was built in 1804 but was evacuated in 1812, at which time more than half of its garrison was massacred by Potawatomi and Ottawa Indians loyal to the British.

The name Chicago is thought to come from an Algonquian word meaning “onion” or “skunk.”

Laid out in 1830, Chicago was incorporated as a village in 1833 and as a city in 1837. In the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, an area of the city about 4 mi long and nearly a mile wide—more than two thousand acres—was totally destroyed. However, much of the city, including the railroads and stockyards, survived intact, and from the ashes of the old wooden structures there arose more modern constructions in steel and stone.

Today, Chicago is a major Great Lakes port and the commercial, financial, industrial, and cultural center of the Midwest. The manufacturing industries dominate the wholesale and retail trade, and trade in agricultural commodities is important to the economy. The Chicago Board of Trade is the largest agricultural futures market in the world.

Among Chicago's many attractions are the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Jane Addams–Hull House Museum, Navy Pier, and numerous architectural landmarks such as the Sears Tower and Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House.

See also Encyclopedia: Chicago; Chicago Landmarks Slideshow.

Selected famous natives and residents:

Charlotte, N.C.Profiles of the 50 Largest Cities of the United StatesCleveland, Ohio
Profiles of the 50 Largest Cities of the United States
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