Illinois ranks 24th in size in the US covering a total land area of 56,345 sq miles (145,934 sq kms), of which the land mass comprises 55,645 sq miles (144,120 sq kms) and inland water mass 700 sq miles (1,814 sq kms). Learn more about Illinois in this interesting US Geography about Illinois:
Situated in the eastern north-central US, Illinois has a boundary on the North with Wisconsin; on the East with Lake Michigan and Indiana; on the South East and South with Kentucky; and on the West with Missouri and Iowa. Illinois’ geographic center is located in Logan County, some 28 mi (45 km) northeast 0f Springfield, the capital of Illinois.
Rivers, hills and local festivals make Illinois an enjoyable trip for everyone. According to Illinois Bureau of Tourism, the Seven Wonders of Illinois are Wrigley Field, the beautiful Bahai House of Worship in Chicago, Starved Rock State Park in Northern Illinois, Allerton Park and Retreat Center in Central Illinois, Black Hawk State Historic Site in Illinois, Rend Lake in Southern Illinois and the National Scenic Byway in Southwest.
Among other major attractions in Illinois are Navy Pier on Lake Michigan, thrill rides in Six Flags Great America- Gurnee, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. Check out also this post about the Amish in Illinois.
Most of Illinois’ native American population is found in the Chicago area and around 1940, the state counted a 387,000 black population. Migration during and after WW II brought Illinois’ total black population to almost 2 million by 2000, more than half of which lived in Chicago, and almost 40% black was. There were also some smaller numbers of blacks living in Rockford, Peoria (Abraham Lincoln’s hometown), or specific Chicago suburbs.
Illinois’ Hispanic population started to grow from the 1970s and by 2000, the number of Latinos and Hispanics living in Illinois was just over 1.5 million, most of whom lived in the Chicago area representing just over 12% of the state’s total population. Mexicans numbered about 1,1 million in 2000 while Puerto Ricans were almost 160,000 and Cubans were just over 18,000.
By 2000, Illinois counted some 76,000 Chinese, 20,300 Japanese, 86,000 Filipinos, 51,000 Koreans, and 19,000 Vietnamese. There is also a good presence of Irish, Scandinavians, Lithuanians, Eastern European Jews, Serbs, Ukrainians, Hungarians, Slovaks, Czechs, Dutch, and Greeks. The Irish have always played an important role as showed again at Peoria’s 2018 Irish Fest in Augustus.
The topography of Illinois is mainly flat with some hills in the state’s northwest and around the Ozark Plateau.
Charles Mound is the highest point in the state (at 1,235 ft or 377 meters) above sea level, by far not as high as the towering skyscrapers of Chicago. The lowest point in Illinois is located at the southern-most tip along the mighty Mississippi River at 279 ft or 85 meters above sea level. When visiting Illinois, it may ba a good idea to also pay a visit to Hanna City Wildlife Park.
Illinois has very poor drainage though it has over 2 thousand rivers and streams that total more than 9 thousand miles or almost 14 thousand kilometers. Illinois’ most important rivers are the Ohio and the Wabash forming the state’s southern and southeastern border. Other important rivers are the Illinois River that flows from northeast to southwest across Central Illinois and the Mississippi that forms the state’s western border. Lake Carlyle is the largest body of inland water.