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Winnebago County, Illinois facts for kids

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Winnebago County
City Hall in Rockford, Illinois.
City Hall in Rockford, Illinois.
Official seal of Winnebago County
Seal
Map of Illinois highlighting Winnebago County
Location within the U.S. state of Illinois
Map of the United States highlighting Illinois
Illinois's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Illinois
Founded January 16, 1836
Named for Winnebago Tribe
Seat Rockford
Largest city Rockford
Area
 • Total 519 sq mi (1,340 km2)
 • Land 513 sq mi (1,330 km2)
 • Water 5.9 sq mi (15 km2)  1.1%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 285,350
 • Density 549.8/sq mi (212.28/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional districts 16th, 17th

Winnebago County is a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2020 census, it had a population of 285,350 making it the seventh most populous county in Illinois behind Cook County and its five surrounding collar counties. Its county seat is Rockford.

Winnebago County is the central county of the Rockford Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

Winnebago County was formed on January 16, 1836 out of Jo Daviess and LaSalle counties. It was named for the Winnebago Tribe of American Indians. At the time the county was founded its inhabitants consisted almost entirely of New Englanders and New England transplants from upstate New York. These were "Yankee" settlers, meaning they were descended from the English Puritans who settled New England during the early 1600s. They made up virtually all of Winnebego County's inhabitants during the first several decades of its history. In this regard the county was similar to most of the northern portion of the state of Illinois, and almost all of the neighboring state of Wisconsin. After the conclusion of the Black Hawk War there was an additional surge of immigration from New England. As a result of this heritage the inhabitants of Winnebego County considered themselves, and functioned as, a cultural expansion of early New England culture. In the Presidential election of 1860, Abraham Lincoln won 3,985 votes in Winnebago County, whereas Steven Douglas only won 817 votes.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 519 square miles (1,340 km2), of which 513 square miles (1,330 km2) is land and 5.9 square miles (15 km2) (1.1%) is water.

Climate and weather

Weather chart for Rockford, Illinois
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
1.4
 
27
11
 
 
1.3
 
33
16
 
 
2.4
 
46
27
 
 
3.6
 
59
37
 
 
4
 
71
48
 
 
4.8
 
80
58
 
 
4.1
 
83
63
 
 
4.2
 
81
61
 
 
3.5
 
74
52
 
 
2.6
 
62
40
 
 
2.6
 
46
29
 
 
2.1
 
32
17
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: The Weather Channel

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Rockford have ranged from a low of 11 °F (−12 °C) in January to a high of 83 °F (28 °C) in July, although a record low of −27 °F (−33 °C) was recorded in January 1982 and a record high of 112 °F (44 °C) was recorded in July 1936. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.34 inches (34 mm) in February to 4.80 inches (122 mm) in June.

Major highways

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 4,609
1850 11,773 155.4%
1860 24,491 108.0%
1870 29,301 19.6%
1880 30,505 4.1%
1890 39,938 30.9%
1900 47,845 19.8%
1910 63,153 32.0%
1920 90,929 44.0%
1930 117,373 29.1%
1940 121,178 3.2%
1950 152,385 25.8%
1960 209,765 37.7%
1970 246,623 17.6%
1980 250,884 1.7%
1990 252,913 0.8%
2000 278,418 10.1%
2010 295,266 6.1%
Est. 2019 282,572 −4.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019

As of the 2010 census, there were 295,266 people, 115,501 households, and 76,854 families residing in the county. The population density was 575.2 inhabitants per square mile (222.1/km2). There were 125,965 housing units at an average density of 245.4 per square mile (94.7/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 77.4% white, 12.2% black or African American, 2.3% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 4.9% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 10.9% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 25.6% were German, 13.5% were Irish, 9.4% were American, 8.7% were Swedish, 8.3% were English, and 7.4% were Italian.

Of the 115,501 households, 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.3% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.5% were non-families, and 27.7% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.07. The median age was 38.3 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $47,198 and the median income for a family was $59,814. Males had a median income of $48,358 versus $32,103 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,008. About 11.5% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.0% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

Cities

Villages

Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Townships

Winnebago County is divided into these townships:

  • Burritt
  • Cherry Valley
  • Durand
  • Harlem
  • Harrison
  • Laona
  • Owen
  • Pecatonica
  • Rockford
  • Rockton
  • Roscoe
  • Seward
  • Shirland
  • Winnebago
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