|City of Chicago|
|Etymology: Miami-Illinois: shikaakwa ("wild onion" or "wild garlic")
|Nickname(s): Windy City, Chi-Town, Second City, City of Big Shoulders
(for more, see full list)
|Motto: Latin: Urbs in Horto (City in a Garden), I Will|
Location in Cook County and the state of Illinois.
|Counties||Cook and DuPage|
|Incorporated (town)||August 12, 1833|
|Incorporated (city)||March 4, 1837|
|Founded by||Jean Baptiste Point du Sable|
|Named for||Miami-Illinois: shikaakwa
(wild onion or wild garlic)
|• Body||Chicago City Council|
|• Mayor||Rahm Emanuel (D)|
|• City Clerk||Anna Valencia (D)|
|• City Treasurer||Kurt Summers, Jr. (D)|
|• City||234.0 sq mi (606 km2)|
|• Land||227.3 sq mi (589 km2)|
|• Water||6.9 sq mi (18 km2) 3.0%|
|• Urban||2,122.8 sq mi (5,498 km2)|
|• Metro||10,874 sq mi (28,160 km2)|
|Elevation(mean)||594 ft (181 m)|
– near Blue Island
|672 ft (205 m)|
– at Lake Michigan
|578 ft (176 m)|
|• Estimate (July 1, 2015)||2,720,546|
|• Rank||3rd, U.S.|
|• Density||11,864.4/sq mi (4,447.4/km2)|
|• Metro||9,512,999 (3rd)|
|• CSA||9,882,634 (US: 3rd)|
|Time zone||Central (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||Central (UTC-5)|
|ZIP Code Prefixes||606xx, 607xx, 608xx|
|Area codes||312/872 and 773/872|
|GNIS feature ID||0428803|
Chicago (i// or //), officially the City of Chicago, is the third-most populous city in the United States. With over 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the state of Illinois, and the Midwestern United States. It is the county seat of Cook County. The Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, has nearly 10 million people and is the third-largest in the U.S.
Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837, near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed, and grew rapidly in the mid-nineteenth century. Positioned along Lake Michigan, the city is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation: O'Hare International Airport is the second-busiest airport in the world when measured by aircraft traffic; the region also has the largest number of U.S. highways and rail road freight. In 2012, Chicago was listed as an alpha global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, and ranked seventh in the world in the 2014 Global Cities Index. Chicago has the third-largest gross metropolitan product in the United States—about $640 billion according to 2015 estimates. The city has one of the world's largest and most diversified economies with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce.
In 2016, Chicago hosted over 54 million domestic and international visitors, a new record making it one of the top visited cities in the nation. Landmarks in the city include Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Campus, the Willis (Sears) Tower, Museum of Science and Industry, and Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago's culture includes the visual arts, novels, film, theater, especially improvisational comedy, and music, particularly jazz, blues, soul, hip hop, gospel and house music. There are many colleges and universities in the Chicago area; among these, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago are classified as "highest research" doctoral universities. Chicago also has professional sports teams in each of the major professional leagues. The city has many nicknames, the best-known being the Windy City.
- Culture and contemporary life
- Parks and greenspace
- Sister cities
- See also: Timeline of Chicago history
The name "Chicago" is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, known to botanists as Allium tricoccum, from the Miami-Illinois language. The first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as "Checagou" was by Robert de LaSalle around 1679 in a memoir. Henri Joutel, in his journal of 1688, noted that the wild garlic, called "chicagoua", grew abundantly in the area. According to his diary of late September 1687:
when we arrived at the said place called Chicagou which, according to what we were able to learn of it, has taken this name because of the quantity of garlic which grows in the forests in this region.
In the mid-18th century, the area was inhabited by a Native American tribe known as the Potawatomi, who had taken the place of the Miami and Sauk and Fox peoples. The first known non-indigenous permanent settler in Chicago was Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. Du Sable was of African and French descent and arrived in the 1780s. He is commonly known as the "Founder of Chicago".
In 1795, following the Northwest Indian War, an area that was to be part of Chicago was turned over to the United States for a military post by native tribes in accordance with the Treaty of Greenville. In 1803, the United States Army built Fort Dearborn, which was destroyed in 1812 in the Battle of Fort Dearborn and later rebuilt. The Ottawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi tribes had ceded additional land to the United States in the 1816 Treaty of St. Louis. The Potawatomi were forcibly removed from their land after the Treaty of Chicago in 1833.
Founding and 19th century
On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was organized with a population of about 200. Within seven years it grew to more than 4,000 people. On June 15, 1835, the first public land sales began with Edmund Dick Taylor as U.S. Receiver of Public Monies. The City of Chicago was incorporated on Saturday, March 4, 1837 and for several decades was the world's fastest growing city.
As the site of the Chicago Portage, the city became an important transportation hub between the eastern and western United States. Chicago's first railway, Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, and the Illinois and Michigan Canal opened in 1848. The canal allowed steamboats and sailing ships on the Great Lakes to connect to the Mississippi River.
A flourishing economy brought residents from rural communities and immigrants from abroad. Manufacturing and retail and finance sectors became dominant, influencing the American economy. The Chicago Board of Trade (established 1848) listed the first ever standardized 'exchange traded' forward contracts, which were called futures contracts.
In the 1850s, Chicago gained national political prominence as the home of Senator Stephen Douglas, the champion of the Kansas–Nebraska Act and the "popular sovereignty" approach to the issue of the spread of slavery. These issues also helped propel another Illinoisan, Abraham Lincoln, to the national stage. Lincoln was nominated in Chicago for US President at the 1860 Republican National Convention. He defeated Douglas in the general election, and this set the stage for the American Civil War.
To accommodate rapid population growth and demand for better sanitation, the city improved its infrastructure. In February 1856, Chicago's Common Council approved Chesbrough's plan to build the United States' first comprehensive sewerage system. The project raised much of central Chicago to a new grade. While elevating Chicago, and at first improving the city's health, the untreated sewage and industrial waste now flowed into the Chicago River, then into Lake Michigan, polluting the city's primary freshwater source.
The city responded by tunneling two miles (3 km) out into Lake Michigan to newly-built water cribs. In 1900, the problem of sewage contamination was largely resolved when the city completed a major engineering feat. It reversed the flow of the Chicago River so the water flowed away from Lake Michigan rather than into it. This project began with the construction and improvement of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and was completed with the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal that connects to the Illinois River, which flows into the Mississippi River.
In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed an area of about 4 miles long and 1 mile wide, a large section of the city at the time. Much of the city, including railroads and stockyards, survived intact, and from the ruins of the previous wooden structures arose more modern constructions of steel and stone. These set a precedent for worldwide construction. During its rebuilding period, Chicago constructed the world's first skyscraper in 1885, using steel-skeleton construction.
The city grew significantly in size and population by incorporating many neighboring townships between 1851 and 1920, with the largest annexation happening in 1889, with five townships joining the city, including the Hyde Park Township, which now comprises most of the South Side of Chicago and the far southeast of Chicago, and the Jefferson Township, which now makes up most of Chicago's Northwest Side. The desire to join the city was driven by municipal services the city could provide its residents.
Chicago's flourishing economy attracted huge numbers of new immigrants from Europe and migrants from the Eastern United States. Of the total population in 1900, more than 77% were either foreign-born or born in the United States of foreign parentage. Germans, Irish, Poles, Swedes and Czechs made up nearly two-thirds of the foreign-born population (by 1900, whites were 98.1% of the city's population).
Labor conflicts followed the industrial boom and the rapid expansion of the labor pool, including the Haymarket affair on May 4, 1886. Concern for social problems among Chicago's immigrant poor led Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr to found Hull House in 1889. Programs developed there became a model for the new field of social work.
During the 1870s and 1880s, Chicago attained national stature as the leader in the movement to improve public health. City, and later state laws, that upgraded standards for the medical profession and fought urban epidemics of cholera, smallpox, and yellow fever were both passed and enforced. These laws became templates for public health reform in other cities and states.
The city established many large, well-landscaped municipal parks, which also included public sanitation facilities. The chief advocate for improving public health in Chicago was Dr. John H. Rauch, M.D.. Rauch established a plan for Chicago's park system in 1866. He created Lincoln Park by closing a cemetery filled with shallow graves, and in 1867, in response to an outbreak of cholera he helped establish a new Chicago Board of Health. Ten years later, he became the secretary and then the president of the first Illinois State Board of Health, which carried out most of its activities in Chicago.
In the 19th century, Chicago became the nation's railroad center, and by 1910 over 20 railroads operated passenger service out of six different downtown terminals. In 1883, Chicago's railway managers needed a general time convention, so they developed the standardized system of North American time zones. This system for telling time spread throughout the continent.
In 1893, Chicago hosted the World's Columbian Exposition on former marshland at the present location of Jackson Park. The Exposition drew 27.5 million visitors, and is considered the most influential world's fair in history. The University of Chicago, formerly at another location, moved to the same South Side location in 1892. The term "midway" for a fair or carnival referred originally to the Midway Plaisance, a strip of park land that still runs through the University of Chicago campus and connects the Washington and Jackson Parks.
20th and 21st centuries
1900 to 1939
During World War I and the 1920s there was a major expansion in industry. The availability of jobs attracted African-Americans from the Southern United States. Between 1910 and 1930, the African-American population of Chicago increased dramatically, from 44,103 to 233,903. This Great Migration had an immense cultural impact, called the Chicago Black Renaissance, part of the New Negro Movement, in art, literature, and music. Continuing racial tensions and violence, such as the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, also occurred.
The ratification of the 18th amendment to the Constitution in 1919 made the production and sale (including exportation) of alcoholic beverages illegal in the United States. This ushered in the beginning of what is known as the Gangster Era, a time that roughly spans from 1919 until 1933 when Prohibition was repealed. The 1920s saw gangsters, including Al Capone, Dion O'Banion, Bugs Moran and Tony Accardo battle law enforcement and each other on the streets of Chicago during the Prohibition era. Chicago was the location of the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929, when Al Capone sent men to gun down members of his rival gang, North Side, led by Bugs Moran.
In 1924, Chicago was the first American city to have a homosexual-rights organization, the Society for Human Rights. This organization produced the first American publication for homosexuals, Friendship and Freedom. Police and political pressure caused the organization to disband.
In 1933, Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak was fatally wounded in Miami, Florida during a failed assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1933 and 1934, the city celebrated its centennial by hosting the Century of Progress International Exposition Worlds Fair. The theme of the fair was technological innovation over the century since Chicago's founding.
In March 1937, there was a violent strike by about 3,500 drivers for Checker and Yellow Cab Companies which included rioting that went on for weeks. The cab companies hired strike breakers, and the cab drivers union hired "sluggers" who ragged through the downtown Chicago area looking for cabs and drivers not participating in the strike.
1940 to 1979
On December 2, 1942, physicist Enrico Fermi conducted the world's first controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project. This led to the creation of the atomic bomb by the United States, which it used in World War II in 1945.
By the early 1960s, white residents in several neighborhoods left the city for the suburban areas – in many Northern American cities, a process known as white flight – as African Americans continued to move beyond the Black Belt. While home loan discriminatory redlining against blacks continued, the real estate industry practiced what became known as blockbusting, completely changing the racial composition of whole neighborhoods. Structural changes in industry, such as globalization and job outsourcing, caused heavy job losses for lower skilled workers. In 1966, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Albert Raby led the Chicago Freedom Movement, which culminated in agreements between Mayor Richard J. Daley and the movement leaders.
Two years later, the city hosted the tumultuous 1968 Democratic National Convention, which featured physical confrontations both inside and outside the convention hall, with anti-war protesters, journalists and bystanders being beaten by police. Major construction projects, including the Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower, which in 1974 became the world's tallest building), University of Illinois at Chicago, McCormick Place, and O'Hare International Airport, were undertaken during Richard J. Daley's tenure. In 1979, Jane Byrne, the city's first female mayor, was elected. She helped reduce crime in the Cabrini-Green housing project and led Chicago's school system out of a financial crisis.
1980 to present
In 1983, Harold Washington became the first black mayor of the city of Chicago. Washington's first term in office directed attention to poor and previously neglected minority neighborhoods. He was re‑elected in 1987 but died of a heart attack soon after. Washington was succeeded by 6th ward Alderman Eugene Sawyer, who was elected by the Chicago City Council and served until a special election.
Richard M. Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, was elected in 1989. His accomplishments included improvements to parks and creating incentives for sustainable development. After successfully standing for re-election five times, and becoming Chicago's longest serving mayor, Richard M. Daley declined to run for a seventh term.
On February 23, 2011, former Illinois Congressman and White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, won the mayoral election, beating five rivals with 55 percent of the vote, and was sworn in as Mayor on May 16, 2011.
Chicago is located in northeastern Illinois on the southwestern shores of Lake Michigan. It is the principal city in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, situated in the Midwestern United States and the Great Lakes region. Chicago rests on a continental divide at the site of the Chicago Portage, connecting the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes watersheds. The city lies beside huge freshwater Lake Michigan, and two rivers—the Chicago River in downtown and the Calumet River in the industrial far South Side—flow entirely or partially through Chicago. Chicago's history and economy are closely tied to its proximity to Lake Michigan. While the Chicago River historically handled much of the region's waterborne cargo, today's huge lake freighters use the city's Lake Calumet Harbor on the South Side. The lake also provides another positive effect, moderating Chicago's climate; making waterfront neighborhoods slightly warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
When Chicago was founded in 1833, most of the early building was around the mouth of the Chicago River, as can be seen on a map of the city's original 58 blocks. The overall grade of the city's central, built-up areas, is relatively consistent with the natural flatness of its overall natural geography, generally exhibiting only slight differentiation otherwise. The average land elevation is 579 ft (176.5 m) above sea level. The lowest points are along the lake shore at 578 ft (176.2 m), while the highest point, at 672 ft (205 m), is the morainal ridge of Blue Island in the city's far south side.
The Chicago Loop is the central business district, but Chicago is also a city of neighborhoods. Lake Shore Drive runs adjacent to a large portion of Chicago's lakefront. Some of the parks along the waterfront include Lincoln Park, Grant Park, Burnham Park and Jackson Park. There are twenty-four public beaches across 26 miles (42 km) of the waterfront. Landfill extends into portions of the lake providing space for Navy Pier, Northerly Island, the Museum Campus, and large portions of the McCormick Place Convention Center. Most of the city's high-rise commercial and residential buildings are close to the waterfront.
An informal name for the entire Chicago metropolitan area is "Chicagoland". There is no precise definition for the term "Chicagoland", but it generally means the entire conurbation. The Chicago Tribune, which coined the term, includes the city of Chicago, the rest of Cook County, eight nearby Illinois counties: Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, Will and Kankakee, and three counties in Indiana: Lake, Porter and LaPorte. The Illinois Department of Tourism defines Chicagoland as Cook County without the city of Chicago, and only Lake, DuPage, Kane and Will counties. The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce defines it as all of Cook and DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.
- See also: Community areas in Chicago and Neighborhoods in Chicago
Major sections of the city include the central business district, called The Loop, and the North, the South, and West Sides. The three sides of the city are represented on the Flag of Chicago by three horizontal white stripes. The North Side is the most densely populated residential section of the city, and many high-rises are located on this side of the city along the lakefront. The South Side is the largest section of the city, encompassing roughly 60% of the city's land area. The South Side contains the University of Chicago and most of the facilities of the Port of Chicago.
In the late 1920s, sociologists at the University of Chicago subdivided the city into 77 distinct community areas, which can further be subdivided into over 200 informally defined neighborhoods.
Chicago's streets were laid out in a street grid that grew from the city's original townsite plat, which was bounded by Lake Michigan on the east, North Avenue on the north, Wood Street on the west, and 22nd Street on the south. Streets following the Public Land Survey System section lines later became arterial streets in outlying sections. As new additions to the city were platted, city ordinance required them to be laid out with eight streets to the mile in one direction and sixteen in the other direction (about one street per 201 meters by two in the other direction). The grid's regularity provided an efficient means of developing new real estate property. A scattering of diagonal streets, many of them originally Native American trails, also cross the city (Elston, Milwaukee, Ogden, Lincoln, etc.). Many additional diagonal streets were recommended in the Plan of Chicago, but only the extension of Ogden Avenue was ever constructed.
In 2016, Chicago was ranked the sixth-most walkable large city in the United States. Many of the city's residential streets have a wide patch of grass and/or trees between the street and the sidewalk itself. This helps to keep pedestrians on the sidewalk further away from the street traffic. Chicago's Western Avenue is the longest continuous urban street in the world. Other famous streets include Michigan Avenue, State Street, Clark Street, and Belmont Avenue. The City Beautiful movement inspired Chicago's boulevards and parkways.
The destruction caused by the Great Chicago Fire led to the largest building boom in the history of the nation. In 1885, the first steel-framed high-rise building, the Home Insurance Building, rose in the city as Chicago ushered in the skyscraper era, which would then be followed by many other cities around the world. Today, Chicago's skyline is among the world's tallest and most dense.
Some of the United States' tallest towers are located in Chicago; Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) is the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere after One World Trade Center, and Trump International Hotel and Tower is the third tallest in the country. The Loop's historic buildings include the Chicago Board of Trade Building, the Fine Arts Building, 35 East Wacker, and the Chicago Building, 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments by Mies van der Rohe. Many other architects have left their impression on the Chicago skyline such as Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan, Charles B. Atwood, John Root, and Helmut Jahn.
The Merchandise Mart, once first on the list of largest buildings in the world, currently listed as 44th-largest (as of September 9, 2013), had its own zip code until 2008, and stands near the junction of the North and South branches of the Chicago River. Presently, the four tallest buildings in the city are Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower, also a building with its own zip code), Trump International Hotel and Tower, the Aon Center (previously the Standard Oil Building), and the John Hancock Center. Industrial districts, such as some areas on the South Side, the areas along the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, and the Northwest Indiana area are clustered.
Chicago gave its name to the Chicago School and was home to the Prairie School, two movements in architecture. Multiple kinds and scales of houses, townhouses, condominiums, and apartment buildings can be found throughout Chicago. Large swaths of the city's residential areas away from the lake are characterized by brick bungalows built from the early 20th century through the end of World War II. Chicago is also a prominent center of the Polish Cathedral style of church architecture. The Chicago suburb of Oak Park was home to famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who had designed The Robie House located near the University of Chicago.
Monuments and public art
Chicago is famous for its outdoor public art with donors establishing funding for such art as far back as Benjamin Ferguson's 1905 trust. A number of Chicago's public art works are by modern figurative artists. Among these are Chagall's Four Seasons; the Chicago Picasso; Miro's Chicago; Calder's Flamingo; Oldenburg's Batcolumn; Moore's Large Interior Form, 1953-54, Man Enters the Cosmos and Nuclear Energy; Dubuffet's Monument with Standing Beast, Abakanowicz's Agora; and, Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate which has become an icon of the city. Some events which shaped the city's history have also been memorialized by art works, including the Great Northern Migration (Saar) and the centennial of statehood for Illinois. Finally, two fountains near the Loop also function as monumental works of art: Plensa's Crown Fountain as well as Burnham and Bennett's Buckingham Fountain.
More representational and portrait statuary includes a number of works by Lorado Taft (Fountain of Time, The Crusader, Eternal Silence, and the Heald Square Monument completed by Crunelle), French's Statue of the Republic, Edward Kemys's Lions, Saint-Gaudens's Abraham Lincoln: The Man (a.k.a. Standing Lincoln) and Abraham Lincoln: The Head of State (a.k.a. Seated Lincoln), Brioschi's Christopher Columbus, Meštrović's The Bowman and The Spearman, Dallin's Signal of Peace, Fairbanks's The Chicago Lincoln, Boyle's The Alarm, Polasek's memorial to Masaryk, memorials along Solidarity Promenade to Kościuszko, Havliček and Copernicus by Chodzinski, Strachovský, and Thorvaldsen, a memorial to General Logan by Saint-Gaudens, and Kearney's Moose (W-02-03). A number of statues also honor recent local heroes such as Michael Jordan (by Amrany and Rotblatt-Amrany), Stan Mikita, and Bobby Hull outside of the United Center; Harry Caray (by Amrany and Cella) outside Wrigley field, Jack Brickhouse (by McKenna) next to the WGN studios, and Irv Kupcinet at the Wabash Avenue Bridge.
There are preliminary plans to erect a 1:1‑scale replica of Wacław Szymanowski's Art Nouveau statue of Frédéric Chopin found in Warsaw's Royal Baths along Chicago's lakefront in addition to a different sculpture commemorating the artist in Chopin Park for the 200th anniversary of Frédéric Chopin's birth.
The city lies within the humid continental climate zone (Köppen: Dfa), and experiences four distinct seasons. Summers are warm to hot and often humid, with a July daily average of 75.8 °F (24.3 °C). In a normal summer, temperatures can exceed 90 °F (32 °C) as many as 21 days. Winters are cold and snowy with few sunny days, and the normal January high is just below freezing. Spring and autumn are mild seasons with low humidity. Dewpoint temperatures in the summer range from 55.7 °F (13.2 °C) in June to 61.7 °F (16.5 °C) in July. The city is part of the USDA Plant Hardiness zone 6a, transitioning to 5b in the suburbs.
According to the National Weather Service, Chicago's highest official temperature reading of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded on July 24, 1934, although Midway Airport reached 109 °F (43 °C) one day prior and recorded a heat index of 125 °F (52 °C) during the 1995 heatwave. The lowest official temperature of −27 °F (−33 °C) was recorded on January 20, 1985, at O'Hare Airport. The city can experience extreme winter cold waves and summer heat waves that may last for several consecutive days. Thunderstorms are common during the spring and summer months which may sometimes produce hail, high winds, and tornadoes. Like other major cities, Chicago also experiences urban heat island, making the city and its suburbs milder than surrounding rural areas, especially at night and in winter. Also, the proximity to Lake Michigan keeps lakefront Chicago cooler in early summer and milder in winter than areas to the west.
|Climate data for Chicago (Midway Airport), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1928–present|
|Record high °F (°C)||67
|Average high °F (°C)||31.5
|Daily mean °F (°C)||24.8
|Average low °F (°C)||18.2
|Record low °F (°C)||−25
|Precipitation inches (mm)||2.06
|Snowfall inches (cm)||11.5
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||10.7||8.8||11.2||11.1||11.4||10.3||9.9||9.0||8.2||10.2||11.2||11.1||123.1|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||8.1||5.5||3.8||0.7||0||0||0||0||0||0.1||1.8||6.7||26.7|
|Source: NOAA, WRCC|
|Climate data for Chicago (O'Hare Int'l Airport), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1871–present|
|Record high °F (°C)||67
|Average high °F (°C)||31.0
|Daily mean °F (°C)||23.8
|Average low °F (°C)||16.5
|Record low °F (°C)||−27
|Precipitation inches (mm)||1.73
|Snowfall inches (cm)||10.8
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||10.5||8.8||11.1||12.0||11.6||10.2||9.8||9.8||8.3||10.2||10.8||11.0||124.1|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||8.2||5.9||4.2||0.9||0||0||0||0||0||0.2||1.7||6.9||28.0|
|Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961–1990)|
|U.S. Decennial Census
During its first hundred years, Chicago was one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. When founded in 1833, fewer than 200 people had settled on what was then the American frontier. By the time of its first census, seven years later, the population had reached over 4,000. In the forty years from 1850 to 1890, the city's population grew from slightly under 30,000 to over 1 million. At the end of the 19th century, Chicago was the fifth-largest city in the world, and the largest of the cities that did not exist at the dawn of the century. Within sixty years of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the population went from about 300,000 to over 3 million, and reached its highest ever recorded population of 3.6 million for the 1950 census.
From the last two decades of the 19th century, Chicago was the destination of waves of immigrants from Ireland, Southern, Central and Eastern Europe, including Italians, Jews, Poles, Lithuanians, Serbs and Czechs. To these ethnic groups, the basis of the city's industrial working class, were added an additional influx of African-Americans from the American South — with Chicago's black population doubling between 1910 and 1920 and doubling again between 1920 and 1930.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the great majority of African Americans moving to Chicago were clustered in a so‑called "Black Belt" on the city's South Side. By 1930, two-thirds of Chicago's African-American population lived in sections of the city which were 90% black in racial composition. Chicago's South Side emerged as America's second-largest urban black concentration, following New York's Harlem.
Chicago's population declined sharply in the latter half of the 20th century, from over 3.6 million in 1960 down to under 2.7 million by 2010. In 1984, it was overtaken by Los Angeles as America's second largest city.
Since 2010, Chicago's population has rebounded adding nearly 25,000 people in the most recent 2015 population estimates.
|Black or African American||32.9%||39.1%||32.7%||8.2%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||28.9%||19.6%||7.4%||0.5%|
As of the 2010 census, there were 2,695,598 people with 1,045,560 households living in Chicago. More than half the population of the state of Illinois lives in the Chicago metropolitan area. Chicago is one of the United States' most densely populated major cities, and the largest city in the Great Lakes Megalopolis. The racial composition of the city was:
- 45.0% White (31.7% non-Hispanic whites);
- 32.9% Black or African American;
- 28.9% Hispanic or Latino (of any race);
- 13.4% from some other race;
- 5.5% Asian (1.6% Chinese, 1.1% Indian, 1.1% Filipino, 0.4% Korean, 0.3% Pakistani, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.2% Japanese, 0.1% Thai);
- 2.7% from two or more races;
- 0.5% American Indian.
Chicago has a Hispanic or Latino population of 28.9%. (Its members may belong to any race; 21.4% Mexican, 3.8% Puerto Rican, 0.7% Guatemalan, 0.6% Ecuadorian, 0.3% Cuban, 0.3% Colombian, 0.2% Honduran, 0.2% Salvadoran, 0.2% Peruvian)
The city's previous largest ethnic group, non-Hispanic white, declined from 59% in 1970 to 31.7% in 2010.
Chicago has the third-largest LGBT population in the United States. In 2015, roughly 4% of the population identified as LGBT. Since the 2013 legalization of same-sex marriage in Illinois, over 10,000 same-sex couples have wed in Cook County, a majority in Chicago.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey data estimates for 2008–2012, the median income for a household in the city was $47,408, and the median income for a family was $54,188. Male full-time workers had a median income of $47,074 versus $42,063 for females. About 18.3% of families and 22.1% of the population lived below the poverty line.
According to the 2008–2012 American Community Survey, the ancestral groups having 10,000 or more persons in Chicago were:
- Irish: (137,799)
- Polish: (134,032)
- German: (120,328)
- Italian: (77,967)
- American: (37,118)
- English: (36,145)
- African American: (32,727)
- Russian: (19,771)
- Arab: (17,598)
- European: (15,753)
- Swedish: (15,151)
- Greek: (15,129)
- French (except Basque): (11,410)
- Ukrainian: (11,104)
- West Indian (except Hispanic groups): (10,349)
Persons identifying themselves as "Other groups" were classified at 1.72 million, and unclassified or not reported were approximately 153,000.
71% of Chicagoans identify as Christians, 7% identity with other faiths, and 22% have no religious affiliation. Chicago also has many Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and others. Chicago is the headquarters of several religious denominations, including the Evangelical Covenant Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Fourth Presbyterian Church is one of the largest Presbyterian congregations in the United States based on memberships.
The first two Parliament of the World's Religions in 1893 and 1993 were held in Chicago. Many international religious leaders have visited Chicago, including Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, and Pope John Paul II in 1979.
Culture and contemporary life
The city's waterfront location and nightlife has attracted residents and tourists alike. Over a third of the city population is concentrated in the lakefront neighborhoods from Rogers Park in the north to South Shore in the south. The city has many upscale dining establishments as well as many ethnic restaurant districts. These districts include the Mexican American neighborhoods, such as Pilsen along 18th street, and La Villita along 26th Street; the Puerto Rican enclave of Paseo Boricua in the Humboldt Park neighborhood; Greektown, along South Halsted Street, immediately west of downtown; Little Italy, along Taylor Street; Chinatown in Armour Square; Polish Patches in West Town; Little Seoul in Albany Park around Lawrence Avenue; Little Vietnam near Broadway in Uptown; and the Desi area, along Devon Avenue in West Ridge.
Downtown is the center of Chicago's financial, cultural, governmental and commercial institutions and the site of Grant Park and many of the city's skyscrapers. Many of the city's financial institutions, such as the CBOT and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, are located within a section of downtown called "The Loop", which is an eight-block by five-block area of city streets that is encircled by elevated rail tracks. The term "The Loop" is largely used by locals to refer to the entire downtown area as well. The central area includes the Near North Side, the Near South Side, and the Near West Side, as well as the Loop. These areas contribute famous skyscrapers, abundant restaurants, shopping, museums, a stadium for the Chicago Bears, convention facilities, parkland, and beaches.
Lincoln Park contains the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lincoln Park Conservatory. The River North Gallery District features the nation's largest concentration of contemporary art galleries outside of New York City.
Lakeview is home to Boystown (pronounced boys town), which, along with Andersonville, are some of the best-known LGBT neighborhoods in the nation. Each year in June, Boystown hosts the Chicago Pride Parade, one of the world's largest with over 1,000,000 people in attendance.
The South Side neighborhood of Hyde Park is the home of former US President Barack Obama. It also contains the University of Chicago (U of C), ranked one of the world's top ten universities; and the Museum of Science and Industry. The 6-mile (9.7 km) long Burnham Park stretches along the waterfront of the South Side. Two of the city's largest parks are also located on this side of the city: Jackson Park, bordering the waterfront, hosted the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, and is the site of the aforementioned museum; and slightly west sits Washington Park. The two parks themselves are connected by a wide strip of parkland called the Midway Plaisance, running adjacent to the University of Chicago. The South Side hosts one of the city's largest parades, the annual African American Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic, which travels through Bronzeville to Washington Park. Ford Motor Company has an automobile assembly plant on the South Side in Hegewisch, and most of the facilities of the Port of Chicago are also on the South Side.
The West Side holds the Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest collections of tropical plants in any U.S. city. Prominent Latino cultural attractions found here include Humboldt Park's Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture and the annual Puerto Rican People's Parade, as well as the National Museum of Mexican Art and St. Adalbert's Church in Pilsen. The Near West Side holds the University of Illinois at Chicago and was once home to Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios.
The city's distinctive accent, made famous by its use in classic films like The Blues Brothers and television programs like the Saturday Night Live skit "Bill Swerski's Superfans", is an advanced form of Inland Northern American English. This dialect can also be found in other cities bordering the Great Lakes such as Cleveland, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Rochester, New York, and most prominently features a rearrangement of certain vowel sounds, such as the short 'a' sound as in "cat", which can sound more like "kyet" to outsiders. The accent remains well associated with the city.
Entertainment and the arts
- See also: Theater in Chicago, Visual arts of Chicago, and Music of Chicago
Renowned Chicago theater companies include the Goodman Theatre in the Loop; the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Victory Gardens Theater in Lincoln Park; and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier. Broadway In Chicago offers Broadway-style entertainment at five theaters: the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre, Bank of America Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Auditorium Building of Roosevelt University, and Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. Polish language productions for Chicago's large Polish speaking population can be seen at the historic Gateway Theatre in Jefferson Park. Since 1968, the Joseph Jefferson Awards are given annually to acknowledge excellence in theater in the Chicago area. Chicago's theater community spawned modern improvisational theater, and includes the prominent groups The Second City and I.O. (formerly ImprovOlympic).
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) performs at Symphony Center, and is recognized as one of the best orchestras in the world. Also performing regularly at Symphony Center is the Chicago Sinfonietta, a more diverse and multicultural counterpart to the CSO. In the summer, many outdoor concerts are given in Grant Park and Millennium Park. Ravinia Festival, located 25 miles (40 km) north of Chicago, is the summer home of the CSO, and is a favorite destination for many Chicagoans. The Civic Opera House is home to the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Lithuanian Opera Company of Chicago was founded by Lithuanian Chicagoans in 1956, and presents operas in Lithuanian.
The Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Festival Ballet perform in various venues, including the Harris Theater in Millennium Park. Chicago has several other contemporary and jazz dance troupes, such as the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Chicago Dance Crash.
Other live-music genre which are part of the city's cultural heritage include Chicago blues, Chicago soul, jazz, and gospel. The city is the birthplace of house music, a very popular form of Electronic Dance Music, and industrial music and is the site of an influential hip-hop scene. In the 1980s and 90s, the city was the global center for house and industrial music, two forms of music created in Chicago, as well as being popular for alternative rock, punk, and new wave. The city has been an epicenter for rave culture, since the 1980s. A flourishing independent rock music culture brought forth Chicago indie. Annual festivals feature various acts, such as Lollapalooza and the Pitchfork Music Festival. A 2007 report on the Chicago music industry by the University of Chicago Cultural Policy Center ranked Chicago third among metropolitan U.S. areas in "size of music industry" and fourth among all U.S. cities in "number of concerts and performances".
Chicago has a distinctive fine art tradition. For much of the twentieth century, it nurtured a strong style of figurative surrealism, as in the works of Ivan Albright and Ed Paschke. In 1968 and 1969, members of the Chicago Imagists, such as Roger Brown, Leon Golub, Robert Lostutter, Jim Nutt, and Barbara Rossi produced bizarre representational paintings.
Chicago contains a number of large, outdoor works by well-known artists. These include the Chicago Picasso, Miró's Chicago, Flamingo and Flying Dragon by Alexander Calder, Agora by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Monument with Standing Beast by Jean Dubuffet, Batcolumn by Claes Oldenburg, Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor, Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa, and the Four Seasons mosaic by Marc Chagall.
Chicago also has a nationally televised Thanksgiving parade that occurs annually. The McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade is seen across the nation on WGN-TV and WGN America, featuring a variety of diverse acts from the community, marching bands from across the country, and is the only parade in the city to feature inflatable balloons every year.
In 2014[update], Chicago attracted 50.17 million domestic leisure travelers, 11.09 million domestic business travelers and 1.308 million overseas visitors. These visitors contributed more than US$13.7 billion to Chicago's economy. Upscale shopping along the Magnificent Mile and State Street, thousands of restaurants, as well as Chicago's eminent architecture, continue to draw tourists. The city is the United States' third-largest convention destination. A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Chicago the fourth-most walkable of fifty largest cities in the United States. Most conventions are held at McCormick Place, just south of Soldier Field. The historic Chicago Cultural Center (1897), originally serving as the Chicago Public Library, now houses the city's Visitor Information Center, galleries and exhibit halls. The ceiling of its Preston Bradley Hall includes a 38-foot (12 m) Tiffany glass dome. Grant Park holds Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain (1927), and the Art Institute of Chicago. The park also hosts the annual Taste of Chicago festival. In Millennium Park, there is the reflective Cloud Gate sculpture. Cloud Gate, a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park. Also, an outdoor restaurant transforms into an ice rink in the winter season. Two tall glass sculptures make up the Crown Fountain. The fountain's two towers display visual effects from LED images of Chicagoans' faces, along with water spouting from their lips. Frank Gehry's detailed, stainless steel band shell, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, hosts the classical Grant Park Music Festival concert series. Behind the pavilion's stage is the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, an indoor venue for mid-sized performing arts companies, including the Chicago Opera Theater and Music of the Baroque.
Navy Pier, located just east of Streeterville, is 3,000 ft (910 m) long and houses retail stores, restaurants, museums, exhibition halls and auditoriums. In the summer of 2016, Navy Pier will have constructed their new DW60 Ferris wheel. Dutch Wheels, a world renowned company that manufactures ferris wheels, was selected to design the new wheel. It will feature 42 navy blue gondolas that can hold up to eight adults and two kids. It will also have entertainment systems inside the gondolas as well as a climate controlled environment. The DW60 will stand at approximately 196 ft (60 m), which is 46 ft taller than the previous wheel. The new DW60 will be the first in the United States and will be the sixth tallest in the U.S. Chicago was the first city in the world to ever erect a ferris wheel.
On June 4, 1998, the city officially opened the Museum Campus, a 10-acre (4.0 ha) lakefront park, surrounding three of the city's main museums, each of which is of national importance: the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Shedd Aquarium. The Museum Campus joins the southern section of Grant Park, which includes the renowned Art Institute of Chicago. Buckingham Fountain anchors the downtown park along the lakefront. The University of Chicago Oriental Institute has an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern archaeological artifacts. Other museums and galleries in Chicago include the Chicago History Museum, the Driehaus Museum, the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the Polish Museum of America, the Museum of Broadcast Communications, the Pritzker Military Library, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and the Museum of Science and Industry.
With an estimated completion date of 2020, the Barack Obama Presidential Center will be housed at the University of Chicago in Hyde Park and include both the Obama presidential library and offices of the Obama Foundation.
The Willis Tower (formerly named Sears Tower) is a popular destination for tourists. The Willis Tower has an observation deck open to tourists year round with high up views overlooking Chicago and Lake Michigan. The observation deck includes an enclosed glass balcony that extends 10 feet out on the side of the building. Tourists are able to look straight down.
In 2013, Chicago was chosen as one of the "Top Ten Cities in the United States" to visit for its restaurants, skyscrapers, museums, and waterfront, by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler.
- See also: Culture of Chicago#Food and drink and Chicago farmers' markets
Chicago lays claim to a large number of regional specialties that reflect the city's ethnic and working-class roots. Included among these are its nationally renowned deep-dish pizza; this style is said to have originated at Pizzeria Uno. The Chicago-style thin crust is also popular in the city.
The Chicago-style hot dog, typically an all-beef hot dog, is loaded with an array of toppings that often includes pickle relish, yellow mustard, pickled sport peppers, tomato wedges, dill pickle spear and topped off with celery salt on a poppy seed bun. Enthusiasts of the Chicago-style dog frown upon the use of ketchup as a garnish, but may prefer to add giardiniera.
There are several distinctly Chicago sandwiches, among them the Italian beef sandwich, which is thinly sliced beef simmered in au jus and served on an Italian roll with sweet peppers or spicy giardiniera. A popular modification is the Combo—an Italian beef sandwich with the addition of an Italian sausage. Another is the Maxwell Street Polish, a grilled or deep-fried kielbasa — on a hot dog roll, topped with grilled onions, yellow mustard, and hot sport peppers.
Ethnically originated creations include chicken Vesuvio, with roasted bone-in chicken cooked in oil and garlic next to garlicky oven-roasted potato wedges and a sprinkling of green peas. Another is the Puerto Rican-influenced jibarito, a sandwich made with flattened, fried green plantains instead of bread. There is also the mother-in-law, a tamale topped with chili and served on a hot dog bun. The tradition of serving the Greek dish, saganaki while aflame, has its origins in Chicago's Greek community. The appetizer, which consists of a square of fried cheese, is doused with Metaxa and flambéed table-side.
Two of the world's most decorated restaurants and also receiving the Michelin Guide 3 Star Award, Alinea and Grace are both located in Chicago. In addition, a number of well-known chefs have had restaurants in Chicago, including Charlie Trotter, Rick Tramonto, Grant Achatz, and Rick Bayless. In 2003, Robb Report named Chicago the country's "most exceptional dining destination".
Chicago literature finds its roots in the city's tradition of lucid, direct journalism, lending to a strong tradition of social realism. In the Encyclopedia of Chicago, Northwestern University Professor Bill Savage describes Chicago fiction as prose which tries to "capture the essence of the city, its spaces and its people". The challenge for early writers was that Chicago was a frontier outpost that transformed into a global metropolis in the span of two generations. Narrative fiction of that time, much of it in the style of "high-flown romance" and "genteel realism", needed a new approach to describe the urban social, political, and economic conditions of Chicago. Nonetheless, Chicagoans worked hard to create a literary tradition that would stand the test of time, and create a "city of feeling" out of concrete, steel, vast lake, and open prairie. Much notable Chicago fiction focuses on the city itself, with social criticism keeping exultation in check.
At least, three short periods in the history of Chicago have had a lasting influence on American Literature. These include from the time of the Great Chicago Fire to about 1900, what became known as the Chicago Literary Renaissance in the 1910s and early 1920s, and the period of the Great Depression through the 1940s.
What would become the influential Poetry magazine was founded in 1912 by Harriet Monroe, who was working as an art critic for the Chicago Tribune. The magazine discovered such poets as Gwendolyn Brooks, James Merrill, and John Ashbery. T. S. Eliot's first professionally published poem, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock", was first published by Poetry. Contributors have included Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats, William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, and Carl Sandburg, among others. The magazine was instrumental in launching the Imagist and Objectivist poetic movements.
Parks and greenspace
When Chicago was incorporated in 1837, it chose the motto Urbs in Horto, a Latin phrase which means "City in a Garden". Today, the Chicago Park District consists of more than 570 parks with over 8,000 acres (3,200 ha) of municipal parkland. There are 31 sand beaches, a plethora of museums, two world-class conservatories, and 50 nature areas. Lincoln Park, the largest of the city's parks, covers 1,200 acres (490 ha) and has over 20 million visitors each year, making it third in the number of visitors after Central Park in New York City, and the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C.
There is an historic boulevard system, a network of wide, tree-lined boulevards which connect a number of Chicago parks. The boulevards and the parks were authorized by the Illinois legislature in 1869. A number of Chicago neighborhoods emerged along these roadways in the 19th century. The building of the boulevard system continued intermittently until 1942. It includes nineteen boulevards, eight parks, and six squares, along twenty-six miles of interconnected streets. Part of the system in the Logan Square Boulevards Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
With berths for more than 6,000 boats, the Chicago Park District operates the nation's largest municipal harbor system. In addition to ongoing beautification and renewal projects for the existing parks, a number of new parks have been added in recent years, such as the Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown, DuSable Park on the Near North Side, and most notably, Millennium Park, which is in the northwestern corner of one of Chicago's oldest parks, Grant Park in the Chicago Loop.
The wealth of greenspace afforded by Chicago's parks is further augmented by the Cook County Forest Preserves, a network of open spaces containing forest, prairie, wetland, streams, and lakes that are set aside as natural areas which lie along the city's outskirts, including both the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe and the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield. Washington Park is also one of the city's biggest parks; covering nearly 400 acres (160 ha). The park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in South Side Chicago.
- See also: List of diplomatic missions and trade organizations in Chicago
Chicago has 28 sister cities around the world. Like Chicago, many of them are or were the second-most populous city or second-most influential city of their country, or they are the main city of a country that has had large amounts of immigrants settle in Chicago. These relationships have sought to promote economic, cultural, educational, and other ties.
To celebrate the sister cities, Chicago hosts a yearly festival in Daley Plaza, which features cultural acts and food tastings from the other cities. In addition, the Chicago Sister Cities program hosts a number of delegation and formal exchanges. In some cases, these exchanges have led to further informal collaborations, such as the academic relationship between the Buehler Center on Aging, Health & Society at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University and the Institute of Gerontology of Ukraine (originally of the Soviet Union), that was originally established as part of the Chicago-Kiev sister cities program.
- Warsaw (Poland) 1960
- Milan (Italy) 1973
- Osaka (Japan) 1973
- Casablanca (Morocco) 1982
- Shanghai (China) 1985
- Shenyang (China) 1985
- Gothenburg (Sweden) 1987
- Accra (Ghana) 1989
- Prague (Czech Republic) 1990
- Kiev (Ukraine) 1991
- Mexico City (Mexico) 1991
- Toronto (Canada) 1991
- Birmingham (United Kingdom) 1993
- Vilnius (Lithuania) 1993
- Hamburg (Germany) 1994
- Petah Tikva (Israel) 1994
- Paris (France) 1996 (friendship and cooperation agreement only)
- Athens (Greece) 1997
- Durban (South Africa) 1997
- Galway (Ireland) 1997
- Moscow (Russia) 1997
- Lucerne (Switzerland) 1998
- Delhi (India) 2001
- Amman (Jordan) 2004
- Belgrade (Serbia) 2005
- São Paulo (Brazil) 2007
- Lahore (Pakistan) 2007
- Busan (South Korea) 2007
- Bogotá (Colombia) 2009
Chicago Union Station, opened in 1925, is the third-busiest passenger rail terminal in the United States
Since its completion in 1991, the Harold Washington Library has appeared in Guinness World Records as the largest public library building in the world
The University of Chicago, as seen from the Midway Plaisance
Racks of meat in cold storage in a meat locker in Chicago as photographed by Stanley Kubrick for Look Magazine in 1949
Chicago Half Marathon on Lake Shore Drive on the South Side.
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