Facts about Illinois

History | Symbols | Interesting Facts | Famous People


Statehood:  December 3, 1818, the 21st state

Capital:  Springfield

Total Area:  26th among states, 141,998 sq km (54,826 sq mi)

Water Area:  6,022 sq km (2,325 sq mi)

Highest Point:  Charles Mound 376 m (1,235 ft)

Total Population:   5th among states
2010 census -  12,830,632

Population Density in 2010:  231.1 people per sq mi

Distribution in 2000:  87.8% Urban, 12.2% Rural

Gross State Product - $644.2 billion (2010)
Personal income per Capita - $41,411 (2009)

Largest cities in 2010: 
Chicago:  2,695,598
Rockford:  197,899
Aurora:  152,871

  • Pinball was invented in 1930 by In and Outdoor Games Company in Chicago.

  • The tallest man in the world was born in Alton in 1918.  He weighed 491 pounds and stood 8 feet, 11 inches tall and wore a size 37 shoe. 

  • The Home Insurance Building was built in 1885 in Chicago, becoming the world’s first modern skyscraper.
  • Abraham Lincoln's first public office was as postmaster of New Salem, Illinois.

  • The first nuclear chain reaction took place in Illinois at the University of Chicago in 1942.

  • Inventors John Deere and Cyrus McCormick made their fortunes in Illinois by improving farm machinery.

  • The name "Illinois" comes from a Native American word meaning "tribe of superior men."

  • When Illinois became a state in 1818, it had a population of 34,620 people. Illinois is now the sixth most populous state in the country with almost 11.5 million people.

  • Illinois' favorite son is Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln sites in Springfield are among the best known tourist sites in the world.

  • The state slogan, "Land of Lincoln," was adopted by the General Assembly in 1955. The State of Illinois has a copyright for the exclusive use of the slogan.

  • Chicago is the nation's third largest city.

  • The first Aquarium opened in Chicago, 1893.

  • The Sears Tower, located in Chicago, was the world's tallest building from 1973 until 1996. The Sears Tower is still the tallest building in North America. It covers two city blocks and rises one-quarter mile above the ground. The Sears Tower still leads in being tallest building to the top of the roof (1,450 feet) as-well-as having the highest occupied floor (1,431 feet).

  • The state's largest inland water system is Carlyle Lake, which covers 26,000 acres in Southern Illinois.

  • Illinois ranks third in the nation in the number of interstate highway miles.

  • Illinois was the home of President Ulysses S. Grant, whose home is preserved in Galena.

  • Metropolis the home of Superman really exists in Southern Illinois.