Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois, and the third most populous city in the United States, following New York City and Los Angeles. With a population of 2,746,388 in the 2020 census, it is also the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the fifth most populous city in North America. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the U.S., while a small portion of the city's O'Hare Airport also extends into DuPage County. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, defined as either the U.S. Census Bureau's metropolitan statistical area (9.6 million people) or the combined statistical area (almost 10 million residents), often called Chicagoland. It is one of the 40 largest urban areas in the world.
Located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, 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-19th century. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city rebuilt. The construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, and by 1900, less than 30 years after the great fire, Chicago was the fifth-largest city in the world. Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, including new construction styles (including the Chicago School of architecture), the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper.
Chicago is an international hub for finance, culture, commerce, industry, education, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. It is the site of the creation of the first standardized futures contracts, issued by the Chicago Board of Trade, which today is part of the largest and most diverse derivatives market in the world, generating 20% of all volume in commodities and financial futures alone. O'Hare International Airport is routinely ranked among the world's top six busiest airports according to tracked data by the Airports Council International. The region also has the largest number of federal highways and is the nation's railroad hub. The Chicago area has one of the highest gross domestic products (GDP) in the world, generating $689 billion in 2018. The economy of Chicago is diverse, with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce. It is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Allstate, Boeing, Caterpillar, Exelon, JLL, Kraft Heinz, McDonald's, Mondelez International, Sears, United Airlines Holdings, US Foods, and Walgreens.
Chicago's 58 million tourist visitors in 2018 set a new record, and Chicago has been voted the best large city in the U.S. for four years in a row by Condé Nast Traveler. The city was ranked first in the 2018 Time Out City Life Index, a global urban quality of life survey of 15,000 people in 32 cities, and was rated second most beautiful city in the world (after Prague) in 2021. Landmarks in the city include Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Campus, the Willis (Sears) Tower, Grant Park, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago is also home to the Barack Obama Presidential Center being built in Hyde Park on the city's South Side. Chicago's culture includes the visual arts, literature, film, theatre, comedy (especially improvisational comedy), food, and music, particularly jazz, blues, soul, hip-hop, gospel, and electronic dance music including house music. Of the area's many colleges and universities, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago are classified as "highest research" doctoral universities. Chicago hasprofessional sports teams in each of the major professional leagues, including two Major League Baseball teams.
The Chicago metropolitan area, also referred to as Chicagoland, is a U.S. urban area encompassing the U.S. Census Bureau's Metropolitan Statistical Area or its somewhat larger Combined Statistical Area (CSA). The MSA and CSA include the city of Chicago and its suburbs, spanning 16 counties in northeast Illinois, southeast Wisconsin, and northwest Indiana. The MSA had a 2020 population of 9.6 million people and the CSA was estimated at nearly 10 million people. The Chicago area is the third-largest metropolitan areaand the fourth-largest Combined Statistical Area in the United States, as well as the fourth-largest metropolitan area in North America.
The Chicago metropolitan area has one of the world's largest and most diversified economies, with more than six million full and part-time employees, and generating an annual gross regional product (GRP) of $689 billion in 2018. The region is home to more than 400 major corporate headquarters, including 31 in the Fortune 500. For six consecutive years, Chicagoland was ranked the nation's top metropolitan area for corporate relocations. The Chicago area is home to a number of the nation's leading research universitiesincluding the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul University, and Loyola University.
Hispanic or Latino of any race: 28.8%
White (non-Hispanic): 33.3%
Black (non-Hispanic): 29.6%
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.
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).
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 of them in Chicago.
Chicago became a "de jure" sanctuary city in 2012 when Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council passed the Welcoming City Ordinance.
Most people in Chicago are Christian, with the city being the 4th-most religious metropolis in the United States after Dallas, Atlanta and Houston. Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are the largest branch (34% and 35% respectively), followed by Eastern Orthodoxy and Jehovah's Witnesses with 1% each. Chicago also has a sizable non-Christian population. Non-Christian groups include Irreligious (22%), Judaism (3%), Islam (2%), Buddhism (1%) and Hinduism (1%).
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.
HOUSING UNITS: 4,885,615
OWNER-OCCUPIED HOUSING UNIT RATE: 45.0%
MEDIAN VALUE OF HOUSING UNIT: $291,200
MEDIAN GROSS RENT: $1,112
Chicago has seen the job market decrease by -0.2% over the last year. Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 25.7%, which is lower than the US average of 33.5%.
Tax Rates for Chicago
The Sales Tax Rate for Chicago is 10.3%. The US average is 7.3%.
The Income Tax Rate for Chicago is 5.0%. The US average is 4.6%.
Tax Rates can have big impact when Comparing Cost of Living.
Income and Salaries for Chicago
The average income of a Chicago resident is $28,623 a year. The US average is $28,555 a year.
The Median household income of a Chicago resident is $47,831 a year. The US average is $53,482 a year.
Chicago has the third-largest gross metropolitan product in the United States—about $670.5 billion according to September 2017 estimates. The city has also been rated as having the most balanced economy in the United States, due to its high level of diversification. In 2007, Chicago was named the fourth-most important business center in the world in the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index. Additionally, the Chicago metropolitan area recorded the greatest number of new or expanded corporate facilities in the United States for calendar year 2014. The Chicago metropolitan area has the third-largest science and engineering work force of any metropolitan area in the nation. In 2009 Chicago placed ninth on the UBS list of the world's richest cities. Chicago was the base of commercial operations for industrialists John Crerar, John Whitfield Bunn, Richard Teller Crane, Marshall Field, John Farwell, Julius Rosenwald and many other commercial visionaries who laid the foundation for Midwestern and global industry.
Chicago is a major world financial center, with the second-largest central business district in the United States. The city is the seat of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Bank's Seventh District. The city has major financial and futures exchanges, including the Chicago Stock Exchange, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the "Merc"), which is owned, along with the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) by Chicago's CME Group. In 2017, Chicago exchanges traded 4.7 billion derivatives with a face value of over one quadrillion dollars. Chase Bank has its commercial and retail banking headquarters in Chicago's Chase Tower. Academically, Chicago has been influential through the Chicago school of economics, which fielded some 12 Nobel Prize winners.
The city and its surrounding metropolitan area contain the third-largest labor pool in the United States with about 4.63 million workers. Illinois is home to 66 Fortune 1000 companies, including those in Chicago. The city of Chicago also hosts 12 Fortune Global 500 companies and 17 Financial Times 500 companies. The city claims three Dow 30 companies: aerospacegiant Boeing, which moved its headquarters from Seattle to the Chicago Loop in 2001, McDonald's and Walgreens Boots Alliance. For six consecutive years since 2013, Chicago was ranked the nation's top metropolitan area for corporate relocations.
Manufacturing, printing, publishing and food processing also play major roles in the city's economy. Several medical products and services companies are headquartered in the Chicago area, including Baxter International, Boeing, Abbott Laboratories, and the Healthcare division of General Electric. In addition to Boeing, which located its headquarters in Chicago in 2001, and United Airlines in 2011, GE Transportation moved its offices to the city in 2013 and GE Healthcare moved its HQ to the city in 2016, as did ThyssenKrupp North America, and agriculture giant Archer Daniels Midland. Moreover, the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which helped move goods from the Great Lakes south on the Mississippi River, and of the railroads in the 19th century made the city a major transportation center in the United States. In the 1840s, Chicago became a major grain port, and in the 1850s and 1860s Chicago's pork and beef industry expanded. As the major meat companies grew in Chicago many, such as Armour and Company, created global enterprises. Although the meatpacking industry currently plays a lesser role in the city's economy, Chicago continues to be a major transportation and distribution center. Lured by a combination of large business customers, federal research dollars, and a large hiring pool fed by the area's universities, Chicago is also the site of a growing number of web startup companies like CareerBuilder, Orbitz, Basecamp, Groupon, Feedburner, Grubhub and NowSecure.
Prominent food companies based in Chicago include the world headquarters of Conagra, Ferrara Candy Company, Kraft Heinz, McDonald's, Mondelez International, Quaker Oats, and US Foods.
Chicago has been a hub of the retail sector since its early development, with Montgomery Ward, Sears, and Marshall Field's. Today the Chicago metropolitan area is the headquarters of several retailers, including Walgreens, Sears, Ace Hardware, Claire's, ULTA Beauty and Crate & Barrel.
Chicago is a major world convention destination. The city's main convention center is McCormick Place. With its four interconnected buildings, it is the largest convention center in the nation and third-largest in the world. Chicago also ranks third in the U.S. (behind Las Vegas and Orlando) in number of conventions hosted annually.
Chicago's minimum wage for non-tipped employees is one of the highest in the nation at $14 per hour and will reach $15 by 2021.