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Champaign County, Illinois
Champaign County Courthouse Urbana Illinois from north.jpg
The Champaign County Courthouse in Urbana
Location within Illinois
Location within Illinois
Illinois' location within the United States
Illinois' location within the United States
Country United States
State Illinois
Region Central Illinois
Metro area Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan
Incorporated Feb 20, 1833
Named for Champaign County, Ohio
County seat Urbana
Largest city Champaign
Area
 • Total 998 sq mi (2,580 km2)
 • Land 996 sq mi (2,580 km2)
 • Water 2.1 sq mi (5 km2)
Area rank 5th largest county in Illinois
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 205,865
 • Density 206.28/sq mi (79.64/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (Central)
ZIP Code prefixes
60949, 61801, 61802, 61815, 61816, 61820-61822, 61840, 61843, 61845, 61847, 61849, 61851-61853, 61859, 61862-61864, 61866, 61871-61875, 61877, 61878, 61880
Area codes 217/447
Website www.co.champaign.il.us

Champaign County is a county in the U.S. state of Illinois. As of the 2020 census, its population was 205,865, making it the 10th-most populous county in Illinois. Its county seat is Urbana.

Champaign County is part of the Champaign–Urbana, IL Metropolitan Statistical Area. The twin cities of Urbana and Champaign are the only cities in the county, and they nearly surround the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

History

Champaign County was organized in 1833, having been previously a part of Vermilion County. The county and county seat were named for Champaign County, Ohio and Urbana, Ohio respectively, the homeplace of the Illinois legislator who sponsored the bill to create the county. The development of the county was greatly furthered by the arrival of the Chicago Branch of the Illinois Central Railroad, and even more by the establishment of the land-grant university. Later, the county also got an airport and a mass transit district. The northern part of the county experienced an economic and demographic setback with the closing of Chanute Air Training Center in the 1990s. In the 2004 Presidential election, it was one of only 15 of the 102 Illinois counties where John Kerry received a majority of the vote (50.98%).

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 998 square miles (2,580 km2), of which 996 square miles (2,580 km2) is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) (0.2%) is water. It is the fifth-largest county in Illinois by land area.

Because Champaign County is situated on a large and very flat plateau, it had virtually no natural drainage, so that much of the County consisted of wetlands until drainage ditches were built, beginning in the 1870s. This was an example of an upland marsh, which resulted in a high incidence of malaria before the late nineteenth century.

The topography of Champaign County was formed by the Wisconsin Glacier about 20,000 years before the present. Lobes of ice from what is now Lake Michigan crossed the county, creating a deep pile of glacial soil, up to 300 feet thick, topped by numerous moraines forming small, flat watersheds with no outlets.

Champaign County is situated on the divide between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Rivers flow out of Champaign County to the east, west, and south. The Kaskaskia River has its origin to the northwest of Champaign, draining the western side of that City. The Kaskaskia flows toward the southwest, joining the Mississippi south of St. Louis, Missouri.

The Embarras River, on the other hand, drains the south-central portion of the Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Area, originating in southeastern Champaign and flowing through the experimental fields on the southern part of the campus of the University of Illinois. The Embarras is a tributary to the Wabash River and Ohio River systems. The northeast corner of Champaign, the central portion of the University campus, and the northern part of Urbana are drained by the Boneyard Creek, which flows into the Saline Ditch, a tributary of the Vermilion and Wabash rivers.

Champaign County Courthouse
Champaign County Courthouse in Urbana

Adjacent counties

Transportation

Corn fields near Royal, Illinois
Corn and soybean fields dominate the rural parts of Champaign County

Major highways

Airports

The following public-use airports are located in the county:

  • University of Illinois Willard Airport (CMI) – Champaign–Urbana
  • Rantoul National Aviation Center (Frank Elliott Field) (TIP) – Rantoul
  • Frasca Field (C16) – Urbana

Rail

There are two train stations in Champaign County: The Illinois Terminal in downtown Champaign and Rantoul station in Rantoul. Both stations are served by the Amtrak Illini and Saluki trains, which operate once daily between Chicago and Carbondale. The Illinois Terminal is also served by the City of New Orleans, which operates once daily between Chicago and New Orleans. Amtrak passenger trains in Champaign County use the former Illinois Central mainline, which is owned by the Canadian National Railway and also used by freight trains.

The Norfolk Southern Railway operates two branch lines in Champaign County: the Mansfield Line from Urbana to Mansfield and the Lafayette District from Decatur to Peru, Indiana. Canadian National also operates branch lines from Champaign to Seymour and Rantoul to Dewey. Traffic on the branch lines is limited and consists primarily of freight.

Intercity Buses

Amtrak, Greyhound, and Peoria Charter operate intercity buses from Champaign-Urbana to Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and other destinations.

Public Transit

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District operates public city buses in Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy.

Climate and weather

Weather chart for Urbana, Illinois
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
1.9
 
32
16
 
 
2
 
38
21
 
 
3.2
 
49
30
 
 
3.7
 
62
40
 
 
4.8
 
74
51
 
 
4.2
 
83
60
 
 
4.7
 
85
64
 
 
4.4
 
83
62
 
 
3.2
 
78
54
 
 
2.8
 
65
43
 
 
3.5
 
50
33
 
 
2.8
 
37
22
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: The Weather Channel

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Urbana have ranged from a low of 16 °F (−9 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −25 °F (−32 °C) was recorded in January 1999 and a record high of 109 °F (43 °C) was recorded in July 1954. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.90 inches (48 mm) in January to 4.80 inches (122 mm) in May.

Demographics

USA Champaign County, Illinois age pyramid
2000 census age pyramid for Champaign County with a marked mode for college-aged individuals due to the presence of the University of Illinois.
Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 1,475
1850 2,649 79.6%
1860 14,629 452.2%
1870 32,737 123.8%
1880 40,863 24.8%
1890 42,159 3.2%
1900 47,622 13.0%
1910 51,829 8.8%
1920 56,959 9.9%
1930 64,273 12.8%
1940 70,578 9.8%
1950 106,100 50.3%
1960 132,436 24.8%
1970 163,281 23.3%
1980 168,392 3.1%
1990 173,025 2.8%
2000 179,669 3.8%
2010 201,081 11.9%
2020 205,865 2.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2019

As of the 2010 census, there were 201,081 people, 80,665 households, and 42,737 families residing in the county. The population density was 201.8 inhabitants per square mile (77.9/km2). There were 87,569 housing units at an average density of 87.9 per square mile (33.9/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 73.4% white, 12.4% black or African American, 8.9% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 2.2% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 5.3% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 23.9% were German, 12.2% were Irish, 11.5% were American, and 8.9% were English.

Of the 80,665 households, 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.7% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 47.0% were non-families, and 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.95. The median age was 28.9 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,262 and the median income for a family was $65,785. Males had a median income of $45,823 versus $35,321 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,553. About 9.7% of families and 20.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.2% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.

The Champaign County Economic Development Corporation (CHCEDC) produced a 2009 County Demographic Profile which includes information on the population, labor, housing, cost of living, education, taxes, retail sales, transportation, quality of life, utilities. CHCEDC also conducts labor force studies every two years and labor shed studies every few years.

Communities

Cities

Villages

Map of Champaign County Illinois
Map of Champaign County

Townships

  • Ayers
  • Brown
  • Champaign
  • Colfax
  • Compromise
  • Condit
  • Crittenden
  • Cunningham
  • East Bend
  • Harwood
  • Hensley
  • Kerr
  • Ludlow
  • Mahomet
  • Newcomb
  • Ogden
  • Pesotum
  • Philo
  • Rantoul
  • Raymond
  • Sadorus
  • Scott
  • Sidney
  • Somer
  • South Homer
  • St. Joseph
  • Stanton
  • Tolono
  • Urbana

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places

Economy

Supported by the University of Illinois, through backings such as the Research Park, and Champaign County leaders, the area has shown even more growth in Information Technology, Micro/Nanotechnology, Bio-Imaging, Healthcare, Logistics, Distribution, and Agribusiness in recent years.

The Top 2009 Employers of the county are the University of Illinois, Carle Clinic Association, Carle Foundation Hospital, Champaign Schools Unit 4, Kraft Foods, Provena Covenant Medical, Parkland College, Kirby Foods, Christie Clinic Association, Urbana Schools District, and Hobbico.

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