Chicago metropolitan area

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Chicago Metropolitan Area
Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, IL-IN-WI CSA
Metropolitan region
Country United States
Principal cities
 • Metro10,856 sq mi (28,120 km2)
Elevation577 – ? ft (176 – ? m)
Population (2011)
 • Metropolitan region9,729,825
 • Density1,318/sq mi (509/km2)
 Ranked 3rd in the US
Time zoneCST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
Area codes219, 224/847, 262, 312/872, 331/630, 574, 708, 773/872 and 779/815
Jump to: navigation, search
"Chicagoland" redirects here. For other uses, see Chicagoland (disambiguation).
Chicago Metropolitan Area
Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, IL-IN-WI CSA
Metropolitan region
Country United States
Principal cities
 • Metro10,856 sq mi (28,120 km2)
Elevation577 – ? ft (176 – ? m)
Population (2011)
 • Metropolitan region9,729,825
 • Density1,318/sq mi (509/km2)
 Ranked 3rd in the US
Time zoneCST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
Area codes219, 224/847, 262, 312/872, 331/630, 574, 708, 773/872 and 779/815

The Chicago metropolitan area, or Chicagoland, is the metropolitan area associated with the city of Chicago, Illinois, and its suburbs. It is the area that is closely linked to the city through geographic, social, economic, and cultural ties.

There are several definitions of the area, including the area defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), and the area under the jurisdiction of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) (a metropolitan planning organization). The population of the Chicago CSA (Combined Statistical Area) is over 9.9 million people.[1]


Metropolitan statistical area[edit]

The Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was originally designated by the United States Census Bureau in 1950. It consisted of the Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will, along with Lake County in Indiana. As surrounding counties saw an increase in their population densities and the number of their residents employed within Cook County, they met Census criteria to be added to the MSA. The Chicago MSA, now defined as the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area, is the third largest MSA by population in the United States with a population of 9,537,289.[2][3][dead link].

The Chicago MSA is further subdivided by state boundaries into the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL Metropolitan Division, corresponding roughly to the CMAP region; the Gary, IN Metropolitan Division consisting of the Indiana counties of Lake and Porter, as well as two surrounding counties; and the Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI Metropolitan Division.

A breakdown of the 2009 estimated populations of the three Metropolitan Divisions of the MSA are as follows:[3]

Combined Statistical Area[edit]

The OMB also defines a slightly larger region as a Combined Statistical Area (CSA). The Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI Combined Statistical Area combines the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Michigan City (in Indiana), and Kankakee (in Illinois). This area represents the extent of the labor market pool for the entire region. The CSA has a population over 9,912,730 (2013 estimate).[1]

United Nations' Chicago urban agglomeration[edit]

The Chicago urban agglomeration, according to the United Nations World Urbanization Prospects report (2011 revision), lists a population of 9,545,000.[4] The term “urban agglomeration” refers to the population contained within the contours of a contiguous territory inhabited at urban density levels. It usually incorporates the population in a city plus that in the surrounding area.


Chicagoland (as defined by Construction Data Company) by county and state
A map of Chicagoland in relation to the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana

Chicagoland is an informal name for the Chicago metropolitan area. There is no official definition for Chicagoland, which may be larger than the MSA and include portions of the greater CSA.

Colonel Robert R. McCormick, editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, usually gets credit for placing the term in common use.[5][6] McCormick's conception of Chicagoland stretched all the way to nearby parts of four states (Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Iowa).[5] The first usage was in the Tribune's July 27, 1926 front page headline: "Chicagoland's Shrines: A Tour of Discoveries" by reporter James O'Donnell Bennett.[7] He stated that Chicagoland comprised everything in a 200-mile (320 km) radius in every direction and reported on many different places in the area. The Tribune was the dominant newspaper in a vast area stretching to the west of the city, and that hinterland was closely tied to the metropolis by rail lines and commercial links.[8]

Today, the Chicago Tribune's usage includes the city of Chicago, the rest of Cook County, eight nearby Illinois counties (Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee), and two counties in Indiana, Lake and Porter.[9] Illinois Department of Tourism literature uses Chicagoland for suburbs in Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, and Will counties,[10] treating the city separately. The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce defines it as all of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties.[11]

However, there are differing viewpoints, which are usually the point of view of whomever one speaks with. For example, many residents who live in the further out satellite counties still refer to themselves as being "from Chicago" or "Chicagoans." Until recently, DeKalb County wasn't considered part of the region, but as the region continues to grow, it is now commonly defined as the "far suburbs" of the city.

In addition, company marketing programs such as Construction Data Company's[12] "Chicago and Vicinity" region and the Chicago Automobile Trade Association's "Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana" advertising campaign are directed at the MSA itself as well as LaSalle, Winnebago (Rockford), Boone, and Ogle counties in Illinois, as well as Jasper, Newton, and La Porte counties in Indiana and Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth counties in Wisconsin and even as far northeast as Berrien County, Michigan. The region is part of the Great Lakes Megalopolis containing an estimated 54 million people.

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning[edit]

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is an Illinois state agency responsible for transportation infrastructure, land use, and long term economic development planning for the areas under its jurisdiction within Illinois.[13] The planning area has a population of over 8 million, which includes the following locations in Illinois:[14]

The Chicago skyline
The Chicago skyline


Further information: Geography of Chicago

The city of Chicago lies in the Chicago Plain, a flat and broad area characterized by little topographical relief. The few low hills are sand ridges. North of the Chicago Plain, steep bluffs and ravines run alongside Lake Michigan.

Along the southern shore of the Chicago Plain, sand dunes run alongside the lake. The tallest dunes reach up to near 200 feet (61 m) and are found in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Surrounding the low plain are bands of moraines in the south and west suburbs. These areas are higher and hillier than the Chicago Plain. A continental divide, separating the Mississippi River watershed from that of the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River, runs through the Chicago area.


Airborne view of the dense southern part of Chicago, running alongside Lake Michigan. Downtown Chicago is at the far left by the lake in the photo.

The suburbs, surrounded by easily annexed flat ground, have been expanding at a tremendous rate since the early 1960s. Aurora, Elgin, Joliet, and Naperville are noteworthy for being four of the few boomburbs outside the Sun Belt, West Coast and Mountain States regions, and exurban Kendall County ranked as the fastest-growing county (among counties with a population greater than 10,000) in the United States between the years 2000 and 2007.[15]

Settlement patterns in the Chicago metropolitan area tend to follow those in the city proper: the northern suburbs along the shore of Lake Michigan are comparatively affluent, while the southern suburbs (sometimes known as Chicago Southland) are less so, with lower median incomes and a lower cost of living. However, there is a major exception to this. While Chicago's West Side is the poorest section of the city, the western and northwestern suburbs contain many affluent areas. According to the 2000 Census, DuPage County had the highest median household income of any county in the Midwestern United States.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, poverty rates of the largest counties from least poverty to most are as follows: McHenry 3.70%, Dupage 5.9%, Will 6.7%, Lake 6.9%, Kane 7.4%, Cook 14.5%.

In an in-depth historical analysis, Keating (2004, 2005) examined the origins of 233 settlements that by 1900 had become suburbs or city neighborhoods of the Chicago metropolitan area. The settlements began as farm centers (41%), industrial towns (30%), residential railroad suburbs (15%), and recreational/institutional centers (13%). Although relations between the different settlement types were at times contentious, there also was cooperation in such undertakings as the construction of high schools.


As the Chicago metropolitan area has grown, more counties have been partly or totally assimilated with the taking of each decennial census.

Census Area2010 Census2000 Census1990 Census1980 Census1970 Census1960 Census1950 Census
Chicago- Naperville- Joliet, IL-IN-WIMSA9,461,1059,098,3168,065,6337,869,5427,612,3146,794,4615,495,364
Cook County, IllinoisMSA5,194,6755,376,7415,105,0675,253,6555,492,3695,129,7254,508,792
DeKalb County, IllinoisMSA105,16088,96977,93274,62471,65451,71440,781
DuPage County, IllinoisMSA916,924904,161781,666658,835491,882313,459154,599
Grundy County, IllinoisMSA50,06337,53532,33730,58226,53522,35019,217
Kane County, IllinoisMSA515,269404,119317,471278,405251,005208,246150,388
Kendall County, IllinoisMSA114,73654,54439,41337,20226,37417,54012,115
McHenry County, IllinoisMSA308,760260,077183,241147,897111,55584,21050,656
Will County, IllinoisMSA677,560502,266357,313324,460249,498191,617134,336
Jasper County, IndianaMSA33,47830,04324,96026,13820,42918,84217,031
Lake County, IndianaMSA496,005484,564475,594522,965546,253513,269368,152
Newton County, IndianaMSA14,24414,56613,55114,84411,60611,50211,006
Porter County, IndianaMSA164,343146,798128,932119,81687,11460,27940,076
Lake County, IllinoisMSA703,462644,356516,418440,372382,638293,656179,097
Kenosha County, WisconsinMSA166,426149,577128,181123,137117,917100,61575,238
Kankakee County, IllinoisCSA113,449103,83396,255102,92697,25092,06373,524
LaPorte County, IndianaCSA111,467110,106107,066108,632105,34295,11176,808
Chicago- Naperville- Joliet, IL-IN-WICSA9,686,0219,312,2558,385,3978,264,4908,089,4217,204,1985,911,816

Counties highlighted in gray were not included in the MSA for that census. The CSA totals in blue are the totals of all the counties listed above, regardless of whether they were included in the Chicago Combined Statistical Area at the time.[16]

Principal municipalities[edit]

Over 1,000,000 population[edit]

Over 100,000 population[edit]

Over 50,000 population[edit]

View of Chicago greater metropolitan region and the dense downtown area from the Willis Tower
View of Chicago greater metropolitan region and the dense downtown area from the Willis Tower

Urban areas within the Chicago CSA[edit]

Within the boundary of the 16-county Chicago Consolidated Statistical Area lies the Chicago urban area, as well as 27 smaller urban areas and clusters. Smallest gap indicates the shortest distance between the given urban area or cluster and the Chicago urban area.[17]

The extent of the 16-county Chicago CSA (in black) and the 16 counties that share a border with the Chicago CSA (in gray), with counties divided into Minor Civil Divisions. In Illinois and Indiana, townships are intermediate between counties and municipalities (with the latter lying within townships and crossing township borders, while in Michigan and Wisconsin, townships are municipal equivalents.
RankUrban areatypePopulation
(2000 census)
Land area
Smallest gap
1Chicago-Aurora-Elgin-Joliet-Waukegan, IL-INUA8,307,9045,498.1n/a
2Round Lake Beach-McHenry-Grayslake, IL-WI^ †UA226,848344.92
3Kenosha, WI †UA110,942109.21
4Michigan City-LaPorte, IN-MI^^ †UA66,19986.13
5Kankakee-Bradley-Bourbonnais, ILUA65,07371.5>10
6DeKalb-Sycamore, ILUA55,80546.3>10
7Woodstock, IL †UC20,21921.14
8Morris, ILUC13,92719.3>10
9Sandwich, IL^^^UC12,24823.9>10
10Braidwood-Coal City, ILUC11,60719.5>10
11Harvard, ILUC8,57513.3>10
12Lakes of the Four Seasons, IN †UC8,45012.54
13Lowell, INUC7,91415.8>10
14Wilmington, ILUC7,10720.8>10
15Manteno, ILUC7,1069.4>10
16Marengo, ILUC6,8548.6>10
17Rensselaer, INUC6,09610.9>10
18Plano, IL †UC5,9116.53
19Genoa, ILUC5,1375.5>10
20Genoa City, WI-IL^^^^ †UC5,12612.5>10
21Westville, INUC5,0774.4>10
22Hebron, INUC4,15011.7>10
23Momence, ILUC3,7119.7>10
24Peotone, IL †UC3,3583.59
25Wonder Lake, IL †UC2,7982.05
26Monee, IL †UC2,7873.73
27Union Township, Porter County, IN †UC2,5934.91
28Hampshire, IL †UC2,5912.06

The formerly distinct urban areas of Aurora, Elgin, Joliet, and Waukegan were absorbed into the Chicago UA as of the 2000 census.

† These urban areas and urban clusters are expected to be joined to the Chicago Urban Area by the next census in 2010.

^ The Round Lake Beach-McHenry-Grayslake, IL-WI UA extends into Walworth County, WI, which lies in the Milwaukee CSA.

^^ The Michigan City-LaPorte, IN-MI UA extends into Berrien County, MI, which lies (for the moment) outside the Chicago CSA.

^^^ The Sandwich, IL UC extends into LaSalle County, IL, which lies (for the moment) outside the Chicago CSA.

^^^^ The Genoa City, WI-IL UC extends into Walworth County, WI, which lies in the Milwaukee CSA.


Westward view from the Willis Tower in Chicago
Main article: Economy of Chicago

The Chicago metropolitan area is home to the corporate headquarters of 57 Fortune 1000 companies, which includes Boeing, McDonald's, Motorola, Discover Financial Services, United Continental Holdings, Walgreens, and Aon among others, representing a diverse group of industries.[18] The area is a major global financial center, and Chicago is home to the largest futures exchange in the world, the CME Group (Chicago Mercantile Exchange). In March 2008, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange announced its acquisition of NYMEX Holdings Inc, the parent company of the New York Mercantile Exchange and Commodity Exchange. CME'S acquisition of NYMEX was completed in August 2008.

A key piece of infrastructure for several generations was the Union Stock Yards of Chicago, which from 1865 until 1971 penned and slaughtered millions of cattle and hogs into standardized cuts of beef and pork.

The Chicago area, meanwhile, began to produce significant quantities of telecommunications gear, electronics, steel, crude oil derivatives, automobiles, and industrial capital goods.

By the early 2000s, Illinois' economy had moved toward a dependence on high-value-added services, such as financial trading, higher education, logistics, and health care. In some cases, these services clustered around institutions that hearkened back to Illinois's earlier economies. For example, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a trading exchange for global derivatives, had begun its life as an agricultural futures market.

In 2007, the area ranked first among U.S. metro areas in the number of new and expanded corporate facilities.[19] It ranked third in 2008, behind the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown and Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan areas,[20] and ranked second behind the New York metropolitan area in 2009.[21]

The Wall Street Journal summarized the Chicago area's economy in November 2006 with the comment that "Chicago has survived by repeatedly reinventing itself."[22]


Major airports[edit]

Commercial port[edit]

Rail and transit systems[edit]

Major highways[edit]


Other main highways[edit]

Major corridors[edit]

In addition to the Chicago Loop, the metro area is home to a few important subregional corridors of commercial activities. Among them are:



Further information: Sports in Chicago

Listing of the professional sports teams in the Chicago metropolitan area

The Chicagoland Speedway oval track has hosted NASCAR Cup Series and IndyCar Series races.

The Chicago Marathon is one of the World Marathon Majors.

The Western Open and BMW Championship are PGA Tour tournaments that have been held primarily at golf courses near Chicago.


Further information: Chicago § Cuisine


Main article: Media in Chicago

The two main newspapers are the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. Local television channels include WBBM-TV 2 (CBS), WMAQ-TV 5 (NBC), WLS-TV 7 (ABC), WGN-TV 9 (CW), WTTW 11 (PBS), WCIU 26 (Ind), WFLD 32 (FOX), WCPX-TV 38 (Ion), WSNS-TV 44 (Telemundo) WPWR-TV 50 (MyNetworkTV), and WJYS-TV 62 (The Way). CLTV is a 24/7 local news provider available only to cable subscribers. Radio stations serving the area include: WBEZ, WMBI, WLS-AM, and WSCR.


Area codes[edit]

From 1947 until 1988, the Illinois portion of the Chicago metro area was served by a single area code, 312, which abutted the 815 area code. In 1988 the 708 area code was introduced and the 312 area code became exclusive to the city of Chicago.

It became common to call suburbanites "708'ers", in reference to their area code.

The 708 area code was partitioned in 1996 into three area codes, serving different portions of the metro area: 630, 708, and 847.

At the same time that the 708 area code was running out of phone numbers, the 312 area code in Chicago was also exhausting its supply of available numbers. As a result, the city of Chicago was divided into two area codes, 312 and 773. Rather than divide the city by a north/south area code, the central business district retained the 312 area code, while the remainder of the city took the new 773 code.

In 2002, the 847 area code was supplemented with the overlay area code 224. In February 2007, the 815 area code (serving outlying portions of the metro area) was supplemented with the overlay area code 779. In October 2007, the overlay area code 331 was implemented to supplement the 630 area with additional numbers.

Plans are in place for overlay codes in the 708, 773, and 312 regions as those area codes become exhausted in the future.

Proposed overlays[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Table 2. Annual Estimates of the Population of Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013" (CSV). 2013 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. March 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013 - United States -- MSA". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "CSA-EST2009-alldata" (csv). United States Census Bureau. July 1, 2009. Retrieved February 15, 2011. The MSA covers 7,214 sq. mi. of land area and 2,367 sq. mi. of water area. The total area of the MSA is 9,581 sq. mi. 
  4. ^ World Urbanization Prospects, 2011 revision (online data)
  5. ^ a b Fuller, Jack (2005). "Chicagoland". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved February 20, 2010. 
  6. ^ "The Press: The Colonel's Century". TIME. June 9, 1947. Retrieved February 20, 2010. 
  7. ^ O'Donnell Bennett, James (July 27, 1926). "Chicagoland's Shrines: A Tour of Discoveries". Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963). Retrieved February 20, 2010. 
  8. ^ Cronon (1992); Keating (2005); Keating (2004)
  9. ^ "Classifieds map of Chicagoland". Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "About Chicagoland". Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  12. ^ "Bidtool Coverage area: Chicago, Indiana, Wisconsin, Colorado, Kentucky project leads". Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning". Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  14. ^ Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning - MPO boundary
  15. ^ "Kendall County is fastest growing in the nation". Daily Herald. Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Historical Metropolitan Area Definitions". Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Alphabetically sorted list of UAs". U.S. Census Bureau. 2000. Retrieved August 6, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Fortune 500 2008: States - Illinois". CNN. 
  19. ^ RON STARNER. "TOP METROS OF 2007 - Site Selection magazine, March 2008". Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  20. ^ RON STARNER (March 9, 2009). "TOP METROS OF 2008 - Site Selection magazine, March 2009". Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  21. ^ "TOP METROS OF 2009 - Site Selection Magazine, March 2010". Retrieved May 30, 2011. 
  22. ^ Brat, Ilan (November 8, 2006). "Tale of a Warehouse Shows How Chicago Weathers a Decline". The Wall Street Journal. p. A1. Retrieved February 20, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°54′N 87°39′W / 41.900°N 87.650°W / 41.900; -87.650