Will County, Illinois

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Will County
Flanders House (5978683004).jpg
Midewin bison 2016-06-05 16.32.59 crop3.jpg
Flanders House in Plainfield (1840), Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
Map of Illinois highlighting Will County
Location within the U.S. state of Illinois
Map of the United States highlighting Illinois
Illinois's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 41°26′42″N 87°58′43″W / 41.44503°N 87.97866°W / 41.44503; -87.97866
Country United States
State Illinois
FoundedJanuary 12, 1836
Named forDr. Conrad Will
SeatJoliet
Largest cityJoliet
Area
 • Total849 sq mi (2,200 km2)
 • Land837 sq mi (2,170 km2)
 • Water12 sq mi (30 km2)  1.5%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total696,355
 • Estimate 
(2019)[1]
690,743
 • Density810/sq mi (310/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional districts1st, 2nd, 3rd, 11th, 14th, 16th
Websitewww.willcountyillinois.com

Will County is a county in the northeastern part of the state of Illinois. According to the 2020 census, it had a population of 696,355, an increase of 2.8% from 677,560 in 2010, making it Illinois's fourth-most populous county.[2] The county seat is Joliet.[3] Will County is one of the five collar counties of the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area. The portion of Will County around Joliet uses the 815 and 779 area codes, 630 and 331 are for far northern Will County, and 708 is for central and eastern Will County.

History[edit]

Will County was formed in 1836 out of Cook and Iroquois. It was named after Dr. Conrad Will, a businessman involved in salt production in southern Illinois, and also a politician.[4] Will was a member of the first Illinois Constitutional Convention and a member of the Illinois Legislature until his death in 1835. On January 12, 1836, Will County was formed from Cook County and Iroquois County. Besides its present area, it included the part of Kankakee County, Illinois north of the Kankakee River. Will County lost that area when Kankakee County was organized in 1852. Since then its boundaries have been unchanged.

36 locations in Will County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"WILL, a county in the E. N. E. part of Illinois, bordering on Indiana, has an area of 1,236 square miles (3,200 km2). It is intersected by the Kankakee and Des Plaines Rivers, branches of the Illinois. The surface is generally level, and destitute of timber, excepting small groves. The soil is very fertile, and much of it is under cultivation. The soil of the prairies is a deep, sandy loam, adapted to Indian corn and grass. In 1850 the county produced 527,903 bushels of Indian corn; 230,885 of wheat; 334,360 of oats; 32,043 tons of hay, and 319,054 pounds of butter. It contained 14 churches, 3 newspaper offices; 3472 pupils attending public schools, and 200 attending other schools. Quarries of building stone are worked near the county seat. The Des Plaines river furnishes water-power. The county is intersected by the Illinois and Michigan canal, by the Chicago branch of the Central railroad, the Chicago and Mississippi, and by the Chicago and Rock Island railroad. Named in honor of Conrad Will, for many years a member of the Illinois legislature. Capital, Joliet. Population 16,703."

1854 U.S. Gazetteer

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 849 square miles (2,200 km2), of which 837 square miles (2,170 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (1.5%) is water.[5]

The Kankakee River, Du Page River and the Des Plaines River run through the county and join on its western border. The Illinois and Michigan Canal and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal run through Will County.

A number of areas are preserved as parks (over 20,000 acres (81 km2) total) under the Forest Preserve District of Will County. The 17,000 acres (69 km2) Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is a U.S. Forest Service park in the county on the grounds of the former Joliet Arsenal. Other parks include Channahon State Park and the Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area.

Climate and weather[edit]

Joliet, Illinois
Climate chart (explanation)
J
F
M
A
M
J
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D
 
 
1.6
 
 
30
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1.6
 
 
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3.8
 
 
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3.9
 
 
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48
 
 
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3.8
 
 
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3.1
 
 
76
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2.7
 
 
64
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48
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2.4
 
 
35
20
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[6]

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Joliet have ranged from a low of 13 °F (−11 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −26 °F (−32 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and a record high of 104 °F (40 °C) was recorded in June 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.58 inches (40 mm) in January to 4.34 inches (110 mm) in July.[6]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
184010,167
185016,70364.3%
186029,32175.5%
187043,01346.7%
188053,42224.2%
189062,00716.1%
190074,76420.6%
191084,37112.8%
192092,91110.1%
1930110,73219.2%
1940114,2103.1%
1950134,33617.6%
1960191,61742.6%
1970249,49830.2%
1980324,46030.0%
1990357,31310.1%
2000502,26640.6%
2010677,56034.9%
2020696,3552.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790–1960[8] 1900–1990[9]
1990–2000[10] 2010–2019[11]

As of the 2010 Census, there were 677,560 people, 225,256 households, and 174,062 families residing in the county.[12] The population density was 809.6 inhabitants per square mile (312.6/km2). There were 237,501 housing units at an average density of 283.8 per square mile (109.6/km2).[5] The racial makeup of the county was 76.0% white, 11.2% black or African American, 4.6% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 5.8% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 15.6% of the population.[12] In terms of ancestry, 21.6% were German, 18.6% were Irish, 13.3% were Polish, 11.1% were Italian, 5.9% were English, and 2.1% were American.[13]

Of the 225,256 households, 44.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.9% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 22.7% were non-families, and 18.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.41. The median age was 35.4 years.[12]

The median income for a household in the county was $75,906 and the median income for a family was $85,488. Males had a median income of $60,867 versus $40,643 for females. The per capita income for the county was $29,811. About 5.0% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.0% of those under age 18 and 5.6% of those age 65 or over.[14]

Government[edit]

Will County is governed via a 26-member county board who are elected from one of 13 districts. Each district elects 2 members. The County Executive, County Clerk, Coroner, Auditor, Treasurer, Recorder of Deeds, State's Attorney and Sheriff are all elected in a countywide vote.

Politics[edit]

Like most of the collar counties, Will County was once a Republican stronghold. It went Republican in all but three elections from 1892 to 1988. However, it has become a swing county since the 1990s. It voted for the national winner in every presidential election from 1992 to 2012, but Chicago-born Hillary Clinton won it along with the rest of the "collar counties" aside from McHenry in 2016.

United States presidential election results for Will County, Illinois[15]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 155,116 44.95% 183,915 53.29% 6,074 1.76%
2016 132,720 43.63% 151,927 49.94% 19,579 6.44%
2012 128,969 46.36% 144,229 51.85% 4,967 1.79%
2008 122,597 42.69% 160,406 55.86% 4,178 1.45%
2004 130,728 52.37% 117,172 46.94% 1,709 0.68%
2000 95,828 50.00% 90,902 47.43% 4,940 2.58%
1996 62,506 42.15% 69,354 46.76% 16,444 11.09%
1992 58,337 38.35% 59,633 39.20% 34,153 22.45%
1988 73,129 59.10% 49,816 40.26% 786 0.64%
1984 78,684 63.25% 45,193 36.33% 520 0.42%
1980 69,310 57.44% 41,975 34.79% 9,373 7.77%
1976 61,784 53.85% 51,103 44.54% 1,840 1.60%
1972 65,155 65.67% 33,633 33.90% 430 0.43%
1968 43,630 49.32% 31,576 35.70% 13,254 14.98%
1964 38,619 43.75% 49,663 56.25% 0 0.00%
1960 42,575 50.86% 41,056 49.04% 81 0.10%
1956 45,628 64.34% 25,188 35.52% 100 0.14%
1952 38,533 56.34% 29,749 43.50% 110 0.16%
1948 28,601 51.41% 26,430 47.51% 597 1.07%
1944 30,058 52.32% 27,085 47.14% 310 0.54%
1940 32,291 52.13% 29,442 47.53% 213 0.34%
1936 25,028 45.25% 28,135 50.86% 2,151 3.89%
1932 25,173 48.16% 25,798 49.36% 1,295 2.48%
1928 26,081 55.02% 20,877 44.04% 447 0.94%
1924 22,780 64.16% 4,707 13.26% 8,018 22.58%
1920 21,746 76.37% 5,410 19.00% 1,318 4.63%
1916 19,881 62.59% 11,378 35.82% 506 1.59%
1912 3,331 19.87% 4,717 28.13% 8,719 52.00%
1908 10,358 61.29% 5,693 33.68% 850 5.03%
1904 10,001 66.39% 3,191 21.18% 1,873 12.43%
1900 10,056 59.22% 6,655 39.19% 269 1.58%
1896 9,249 56.94% 6,873 42.32% 120 0.74%
1892 6,720 49.51% 6,434 47.40% 420 3.09%


Education[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Will County is served by 4 US Interstate Highways, 4 US Highways, and 12 Illinois Highways.

Major highways[edit]

Rail[edit]

Four different Metra commuter rail lines (Metra Electric Main Line, Southwest Service, Rock Island District and Heritage Corridor) connect the parts of the county with the Chicago Loop.

Energy infrastructure[edit]

Pipelines[edit]

The county is a major hub in the United States natural gas pipeline grid where pipelines from Canada and the Gulf of Mexico meet and then fan out to serve the Midwest. The following major energy companies own pipeline that run through Will County:

Joliet Refinery[edit]

ExxonMobil owns and operated the Joliet Refinery which is located along the Des Plaines River just east of I-55. According to ExxonMobil, the refinery employs about 600 people and was constructed in 1972.[17]

Municipalities[edit]

The municipalities with their population within Will County and their total population as of the 2010 Census, are:[18]

Cities[edit]

Villages[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Townships[edit]

The 24 townships of Will County, with their populations as of the 2010 Census, are:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Specific
  1. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Will County, Illinois". www.census.gov. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ "Was Dr. Conrad Will really worth his salt?" Archived October 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Ledger-Sentinel, Roger Matile, June 22, 2006
  5. ^ a b "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Joliet, Illinois". The Weather Channel. Archived from the original on January 27, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 24, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  11. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  12. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  13. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  14. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  15. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  16. ^ retrieved 2007-02-13 Archived December 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "GCT-PH1 Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County -- County Subdivision and Place". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
General
  • Forstall, Richard L. (editor) (1996). Population of states and counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990: from the twenty-one decennial censuses. United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Population Division. ISBN 0-934213-48-8. {{cite book}}: |first= has generic name (help)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°26′N 87°59′W / 41.44°N 87.98°W / 41.44; -87.98