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Chicago, Illinois

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This article concerns the city of Chicago, Illinois. For other uses of the term Chicago, see Chicago (disambiguation).

Chicago is the third largest city in the United States with a population of 2,896,016 (2000). It is located in the state of Illinois, on the shores of Lake Michigan. The city is the county seat of Cook County. The greater Chicago metropolitan area is known colloquially as Chicagoland.

Chicago was granted a city charter by Illinois on March 4, 1837.

Table of contents

Geography According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 606.1 km² (234.0 mi²). 588.3 km² (227.1 mi²) of it is land and 17.8 km² (6.9 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.94% water.

Demographics As of the census of 2000, there are 2,896,016 people, 1,061,928 households, and 632,909 families residing in the city. The population density is 4,923.0/km² (12,750.3/mi²). There are 1,152,868 housing units at an average density of 1,959.8/km² (5,075.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 41.97% White, 36.77% African American, 0.36% Native American, 4.35% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 13.58% from other races, and 2.92% from two or more races. 26.02% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 1,061,928 households out of which 28.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.1% are married couples living together, 18.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 40.4% are non-families. 32.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.67 and the average family size is 3.50.

In the city the population is spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $38,625, and the median income for a family is $42,724. Males have a median income of $35,907 versus $30,536 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,175. 19.6% of the population and 16.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 28.1% are under the age of 18 and 15.5% are 65 or older.

Municipal Flag of Chicago

The three white stripes of the flag represent, from top to bottom, the North, West and South sides of the city. The top blue stripe represents Lake Michigan and the North Branch of the Chicago River. The bottom blue stripes represents the South Branch of the Chicago River and the Great Canal[?]. Finally, the four red stars on the center white stripe represent, from left to right, Fort Dearborn Massacre, the Great Chicago Fire, the World Columbian Exposition, and the Century of Progress Exposition.

In addition, each of the six points of the stars stand for something.

On the Fort Dearborn Massacre star (added in 1939): transportation, labor, commerce, finance, populousness, and salubrity.

On the Great Chicago Fire star (on the 1917 flag): religion, education, esthetics, justice, beneficence, and civic pride.

The points on the World Columbian Exposition star (on the 1917 flag) represent political entities Chicago belonged to: France 1693, Great Britain 1763, Virginia 1778, the Northwest Territory 1798, Indian Territory 1802, Statehood 1818.

The Century of Progress star (added in 1933: World's Third Largest City, City's Latin Motto, City's "I Will Motto," Great Central Marketplace, Wonder City, Convention City.

Famous Attractions

Important Citizens or people born here

Colleges and Universities

Sites of Interest



Sports Teams

Historical Events



Taste of Chicago - Annual event in the week leading up to Independence Day in which hundreds of restauranteurs sell samples in Grant Park while bands play. This event draws millions each year.


  • "The Windy City" - It is often recited that this nickname was first used by Charles Gibson Dana, editor of the New York Sun and former editor of the Chicago Republican in 1890 in reference to the city's claims for the World Columbian Exposition. In this theory, it is said the nickname was inspired by the speechmaking proclivities of its politicians more than by its prevailing weather conditions. Ardent word sleuth Barry Popik, however, has found a reference to the "Windy City" in the Cleveland Gazette[?] dated 19 September 1885. The name may indicate the summer breezes as is described at Weather Doctor's Weather History (http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/history/chicago-nickname.htm).
  • "Second City" (so called because it was, for many years, the second-largest city in the United States, and also because of its rebirth after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871). The term was originated in an article by A.J. Liebling[?] that appeared in The New Yorker
  • "City of Big Shoulders" (from a Carl Sandburg poem)
  • "Hog-Butcher To The World" (from a Carl Sandburg poem)

Novels set in Chicago

Other Chicago connections

Four ships of the US Navy have been named USS Chicago.

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