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Economy of Illinois facts for kids

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Economy of Illinois
Chicago Board Of Trade Building.jpg
Chicago Board of Trade building
GDP $775,007 billion(2015)
GDP per capita
$60,265 (2015)
Population below poverty line
Labor force
6,488,200 (May 2015)
Unemployment 6.6% (May 2016)
Public finances
Revenues $29,761.862 million
Expenses $19,831 million

The economy of Illinois includes many industries. The Chicago metropolitan area is home to many of the United States' largest companies, including Boeing, McDonald's, Motorola, and United Airlines. The Chicago area economy headquarters a wide variety of financial institutions, and is home to the largest futures exchange in the world, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The 2015 total gross state product for Illinois was $775 billion, placing it fifth in the nation. The 2013 median household income was $56,210. The state's industrial outputs include machinery, food processing, electrical equipment, chemical products, publishing, fabricated metal products, transportation equipment, petroleum and coal.


Most of the state of Illinois lies outside of the Chicago urban area and inside the North American Corn Belt. Corn, soybeans, and other large-field crops are grown extensively. These crops and their products account for much of the state's economic output outside of Chicago. Much of the field crop is remanufactured into feed for hogs and cattle. Dairy products and wheat are important secondary crops in specific segments of the state. In addition, some Illinois farmers grow specialty crops such as popcorn and pumpkins. The state is the largest producer of pumpkins among the U.S. states. There is a large watermelon growing area centered on Lincoln, Illinois. Illinois wine is a growing industry. In December 2006, the Shawnee Hills were named Illinois's first American Viticultural Area (AVA).


By the early 2000s, Illinois's economy had moved toward a dependence on high-value-added services such as financial trading, higher education, logistics, and medicine. In some cases, these services clustered around institutions that hearkened back to Illinois's earlier economies. For example, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a trading exchange for global derivatives, had begun its life as an agricultural futures market.

The Wall Street Journal summarized Illinois's economy in November 2006 with the comment that "Chicago has survived by repeatedly reinventing itself."

Flash index

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois publishes a "flash-index" that aims to measure expected economic growth in Illinois. The indicators used are corporate earnings, consumer spending and personal income. These indicators are measured through tax receipts, adjusted for inflation. 100 is the base, so a number above 100 represents growth in the Illinois economy, and a number below 100 represents a shrinking economy. Data from the index, from 6/1981 to the present, can be found here.

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