Chicago, Illinois 2020

Chicago is the largest city in Illinois and the third largest in the United States. This makes it a diverse place that can offer a peak of everything. It is known for its bold architecture, being the first home of a skyscraper, as well as its art collection and jazz community. Situated on the shores of the third largest lake in the Great Lakes, Chicago’s location has helped the metropolitan area it belongs to become one of the largest and most diverse economies in the world. As such, Chicago has always been and continues to be a hub for business, recreation, and culture.

Chicago Geography

Chicago downtown skyscrapers and Lake Michigan cityscape, Illinois, USA.

Chicago occupies 228.4 square miles at the southeastern tip of Lake Michigan in northern Illinois. Some of the closest major cities are in Wisconsin, such as Milwaukee at 83.1 miles and Madison at 122.8 miles. Chicago sits on a relatively flat glacial plain as it once was at the bottom of Lake Chicago. The city is land for the flow of the Chicago River. Its two branches cross Chicago, dividing it into thirds until the branches meet 1 mile west of Lake Michigan. The wealth of the city in water bodies does not stop there since the industrial south-eastern part includes the Calumet lake. This lake forms a water system by being connected to the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal by the Calumet Sag Channel and to Lake Michigan by the Calumet River.

Chicago Climate

Chicago’s climate is hot continental in summer, according to the Köppen climate classification system. This makes summers hot, humid and humid and winters freezing, snowy and windy. The hot season lasts from June to September, the hottest month being July. It records the highest average temperature at 76°F. Meanwhile, January has the lowest average temperature at 27°F, making it the coldest month of the winter season which runs from December to march. January is also the cloudiest month of the year when the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 59% of the time. Although Chicago experiences seasonal fluctuations, it generally remains partly cloudy year-round. The clearest month of the year is July, when the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 67% of the time. Precipitation is most often rain, with the wettest month being June, with an average rainfall of 3.5 inches, and the driest month being January, with an average rainfall of 1.0 inches. Although it is also the wettest season in terms of humidity, the period from mid-June to mid-September enjoys the longest hours of sunshine, making it the optimal time to visit Chicago for hot weather activities, based on tourism score.

Population and Economy of Chicago

People enjoying a live concert at Chicago City Park
People enjoying a live concert at City Park in Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago has a total population of 2,746,388, according to the 2020 United States Census Bureau. Like other American cities, Chicago has seen a decline in population over the past few decades in favor of surrounding suburbs. The median age is 34.8 years, where the population is divided into 20.5% under 18 years old, 66.8% from 18 to 64 years old and 12.7% aged 65 and over. Chicago is known for its diversity as 53% of its population are non-US citizens. This diversity results in a heterogeneous mixture of racial origins. The most recent census found the racial makeup to be 49.99% White, 29.62% Black or African American, 6.63% Asian, 0.31% Native American, 0 .03% Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 2.85% multiracial, and 10.58% other races.

When it comes to the economy, Chicago has a median household income of $62,097. It has an employment rate of 61.8%, with the majority employed in private companies. In terms of field, the majority work in the fields of management, business, science, and the arts. This distribution matches the educational background of 41.1% of residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher. When it comes to poverty rates, 17.3% of people are struggling with poverty in Chicago.

Brief History of Chicago

La Salle Street, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
La Salle Street, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Prior to the Marquette and Jolliet Expedition of 1673, the Miami, Sauk, Fox, and Potawatomi tribes lived in the area. It is possible that the name of the city comes from a Miami Indian origin, where “Chicago” could refer to the wild leeks that grew on the bank of the short Chicago River. The very first non-native settler in Chicago was a trader named Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, who had mixed African and French ancestry. In 1803 the US government built Fort Dearborn on the south bank of the Chicago River, only to be destroyed in 1812 after the Battle of Fort Dearborn. It was then rebuilt in 1816 and permanently demolished in 1857. The city experienced many struggles before its founding, with the Black Hawks War of 1832 ending the last Native American resistance. In 1833, Chicago was incorporated as a city, but it continued to grow, reaching 4,000 residents in 1837, leading to its incorporation as a city. Following many innovations and facilities such as railways, grain elevators and the telegraph, the city quickly became the largest grain port in the world in 1854, with over 30,000 inhabitants. After years that saw Chicago go through the Great Fire, reconstruction and growth, the city presented the world with the very first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, in 1885, which has become its distinctive character to this day.

The general disruption and chaos brought about by World War I caused an influx of African-American immigrants to Chicago from the South. This cultural difference from Chicago’s established European ethnic groups caused violence in the city. The tension continued over the years as Chicago became home to 3 million people from different backgrounds and classes in the 1930s. The post-war years showed a decrease in population with displacement towards the suburbs and the implications of the reforms in poor neighborhoods.

Attractions in Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago Art Institute
The Art Institute of Chicago.

You can’t see Chicago without its art. Home to some of the important architects and artists of the 20th century, the institute offers a collection that spans thousands of years, countless countries, and nearly every different art form. He is particularly famous for his impressionist and post-impressionist work. The building itself, now a complex, is built in the Beaux-Arts style.

navy wharf

Originally established as an amusement park in 1916, Navy Pier is today Chicago’s waterfront treasure. It sits on 50 acres of land, offering all the fun attractions, from gardens and parks to shops, music venues and restaurants.

Wrigley Field

chicago wrigley field
Wrigley Field in Chicago. Editorial credit: Steve Broer / Shutterstock.com

Home to the Chicago Cubs and the second oldest Major League Baseball park in the United States, Wrigley Field has seen some of baseball’s most historic moments and continues to do so to this day. So sit on those bleachers and watch the pitch where Babe Ruth’s “call shot” took place 90 years ago.

Chicago has been home to countless ethnicities since its founding and has witnessed and participated in events that have shaped the course of history and innovation in the United States and around the world. It is a beautiful city with diversity in its people, places, culture and opportunities. Chicago has earned many names, from “Windy City” to “Chi-town,” and it has a lot of stories to tell for those.

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