Illinois Population 2016

12,837,801

The population of Illinois in 2016 is estimated at 12,837,801. The 2015 Census estimates put the population at 12,859,995, which was a decrease from the 2014 numbers.

Illinois is one of only 7 states that has a negative growth rate in 2016. At -0.17% per year, it is ahead of only West Virginia. Between 2000 and 2010, the population of Illinois grew by a mere 3.3%, compared to the national average US population growth of 9.7%.

The 2016 population makes Illinois the fifth largest state in the USA based on population.

Chicago, Largest City in Illinois

Most of the Illinois population is based in the North East of the state. Chicago, home to 2,720,546 people, remains the largest city in Illinois. It dwarfs the state's other cities. The next largest is Aurora, with 200,661 people.

This marks one of Illinois' defining features -- although it has a large urban population, it is spread through a number of smaller cities. Including Chicago, there are twelve cities with more than 75,000 people.

Many of these smaller cities make up a part of the Chicago Metropolitan Area (prosaically also known as Chicagoland), which holds between 8.3 and 9.8 million people, depending on how you classify its boundaries.

Cook County is the largest county in Illinois, housing 5,238,216 people. The next largest county is neighboring Dupage, with 933,736 people. Almost half of the Illinois population can be found in just those two counties.

Illinois Population Chart

Illinois Population History

Illinois saw massive growth throughout the 19th century, from a measley 2,458 people in 1800 to nearly 5 million in 1900. This rise made Illinois the 3rd largest state by the turn of the century. Growth continued into the 20th century, albeit at a slower pace.

Illinois Population Growth

In Illinois' cities, population growth has stalled. Chicago was, for much of its early history, one of America's fastest growing cities. Between 1850 and 1930, the city grew by at least 25% each decade, and in some decades it doubled or even tripled in size. However, from the 1960s onwards, Chicago has been steadily shrinking and a city which was home to 3.5 million people in 1960 is home to just 2.7 million today.

If the current decline continues, Illinois will fall back to the 6th spot in state rankings at the 2020 Census, behind Pennsylvania.

Some estimates expect Illinois to see growth again by 2020, and possibly reach 13.1 million in 2020.

Population Data via US Census

Illinois Growth Rate

Illinois State Rank

Year Pop % Change
2020 12,749,025 -0.17%
2019 12,771,219 -0.17%
2018 12,793,413 -0.17%
2017 12,815,607 -0.17%
2016 12,837,801 -0.17%
2015 12,859,995 -0.17%
2014 12,882,189 -0.06%
2013 12,889,580 0.11%
2012 12,875,167 0.10%
2011 12,861,882 0.24%
2010 12,830,632 0.33%
2000 12,419,293 0.83%
1990 11,430,602 0.00%
1980 11,426,518 0.28%
1970 11,113,976 0.98%
1960 10,081,158 1.47%
1950 8,712,176 0.99%
1940 7,897,241 0.34%
1930 7,630,654 1.64%
1920 6,485,280 1.41%
1910 5,638,591 1.58%
1900 4,821,550 2.34%
1890 3,826,351 2.20%
1880 3,077,871 1.94%
1870 2,539,891 4.02%
1860 1,711,951 7.23%
1850 851,470 5.98%
1840 476,183 11.70%
1830 157,445 11.05%
1820 55,211 16.22%
1810 12,282 17.45%
1800 2,458 0.00%

Illinois Facts

Illinois  Population in 2016 Source: Daniel Schwen

  • Illinois has the world's only river that flows backwards.
  • Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo is the country's oldest public zoo.
  • Almost 80% of the land in Illinois is farm land.
  • The Sears Tower, located in Chicago, is the tallest building in North America.
  • In 1865, Illinois ratified the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery. It was the first state to do so.
  • There are 102 counties in the state of Illinois.
  • The world's largest public library is the Chicago Public Library, which houses over 2 million books.
  • Chicago was the home of the first aquarium, which opened in 1893.
  • The oldest community in Illinois is Peoria.

Illinois Population Density by County

  • Population
  • Density
  • Growth Since 2010
  • State Rank
  • % of State

Illinois Population Growth Rate by County

When looking at population growth of the state of Illinois by county, the data show that the majority of counties have seen population declines. However, there were still a handful of counties that saw small rates of growth, based on data taken from the 2010 Census and again during 2015 estimates taken by the US Census Bureau. During this 5-year period, Kendall County exhibited the most growth at a rate of 6.98%. Other counties that saw growth during this time period include Kane County at 2.86%, Champaign at 3.66%, and Monroe at 2.63%.

There were far more counties that experienced declines in population. This includes Alexander County, which by far had the biggest decline percentage at over 17%. Other counties with declining populations include Mason at 6.49%, Livinsgton at 5.66%, and Cass at 5.77%, among others.

Population Pyramid

To compare Illinois to other states, click here.

Population by Race

Race Population Percentage

Based on data from the 2010 Census, Illinois has the 14th highest percentage of African Americans across all states. Based on 2011 data, the state also has the 5th highest Hispanic population in the country with over 2 million Hispanic residents, and the 10th highest percentage of Hispanics that account for its total population.

In recent years, Illinois has seen significant declines in its white population, with numbers dropping from 83.5% of the total population in 1970 to 63.3% just 40 years later. According to 2011 data, almost 50% of the population under the age of 1 were minorities.

According to data from 2007, over 1.7 million people in Illinois were foreign-born. This represented, at the time, almost 14% of the population. Over 48% of Illinois' foreign-born inhabitants came from Latin America, while almost one-quarter of the total number came from Asia. It is estimated that over 58% of the total 1.7 million foreign-born inhabitants recorded were not US citizens.

Languages Spoken in Illinois

Language Population Percentage
Population 5 years and over 12,027,783 100
English 10,025,978 83.36
Spanish 1,570,810 13.06
Chinese 65,740 0.55
German 45,780 0.38
French 35,005 0.29
Kru, Ibo, Yoruba 17,940 0.15
Romanian 16,340 0.14
Serbian 14,635 0.12
Lithuanian 14,415 0.12

This chart shows the top 10 non-English languages that are spoken at home in Illinois . The data comes from the most recent release of the American Community Survey (ACS).

Illinois Economy

HighSchoolGraduate 88
BachelorsDegree 32
Disabled 7
NoHealthInsurance 11
LaborForceTotal 66
LaborForceFemale 61
FoodServiceSales 27,937,381
HealthCareRevenue 83,431,778
ManufacturerShipments 281,037,755
MerchantWholesalesSales 295,456,992
RetailSales 166,634,514
RetailSalesPerCapita 12,942
MeanWorkTravelTime 28
MedianHouseholdIncome 57,166
PerCapitaIncome 30,019
PovertyPercentage 14

Illinois Business

NonemployerEstablishments 955,153
AllFirms 1,135,017
MenOwnedFirms 609,648
WomenOwnedFirms 417,500
MinorityOwnedFirms 311,684
NonminorityOwnedFirms 795,129
VeteranOwnedFirms 89,110
NonveteranOwn 1,006,885

Illinois Housing

HousingUnits 5,317,383
HousingUnits 5,296,715
OwnerOccupiedRate 67
OwnerOccupiedMedianValue 175,700
MonthlyOwnerCostsMortage 1,676
MonthlyOwnerCostsNoMortage 572
MedianGrossRent 903
BuildingPermits 19,571
Households 4,778,633
PersonsPerHousehold 3
SameHouseOneYearAgo 87
NonEnglishAtHome 23
Data Sources
  1. Census State Population Estimates - Most recent state estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program - released 6/23/2016
  2. Census County Population Estimates - Most recent county estimates from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program - released 6/23/2016
  3. American Community Survey (2009 - 2013)
  4. Census QuickFacts