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Fairfield is the county seat of Wayne Countymarker, Illinoismarker, United Statesmarker, the site of Frontier Community College, Fairfield Community High School, Fairfield Memorial Hospital, and Airtex; an auto parts manufacturing facility. The population was 5,421 at the 2000 census.

Fairfield is most famous for being the hometown of the Shelton Brothers Gang, notorious bootleggers who failed in defeating the Harrisburg, Illinoismarker based Birger Gang to control criminal activities in Southern Illinois. During the first half of the 20th century gang leaders Carl, Earl and Bernie Shelton made Fairfield a household name of the time. Based on testimony of Charlie Birger himself, the Shelton Brothers were convicted for a 1925 unsolved mail carrier robbery of $15,000 and were sentenced to 25 years much to the relief of the denizens of Fairfield and surrounding villages. Soon after the Shelton Gang disappeared as Birger dominated bootlegging in Southern Illinois until he himself was hanged in Benton, Il. for the murder of West City, Il. Mayor Joe Adams in 1928.

Fairfield was the hometown of Kenneth Michael Kays, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism during the Vietnam War, and Country music singer-songwriter Lance Miller.

Geography

Fairfield is located at (38.380390, -88.365818).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.5 km²), of which, 3.6 square miles (9.4 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.82%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 5,421 people, 2,495 households, and 1,494 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,499.0 people per square mile (578.2/km²). There were 2,727 housing units at an average density of 754.0/sq mi (290.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.40% White, 0.09% African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.06% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.42% of the population.

There were 2,495 households out of which 24.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.1% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.74.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.5% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 24.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 82.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,797, and the median income for a family was $36,278. Males had a median income of $28,866 versus $19,985 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,791. About 8.5% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.

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