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Northern Illinois


Northern Illinois is a region generally covering the northern third of the U.S. state of Illinoismarker.

Economics

Northern Illinois is dominated by the metropolitan areas of Chicagomarker, Rockfordmarker, and the Quad Citiesmarker, which contain a majority (over 75%) of Illinois' population and economic activity, including numerous Fortune 500 companies and a heavy manufacturing, commercial, retail, service, and office based economy. Much of the economic activity of the region is centered in the Chicago Loopmarker, the Illinois Technology and Research Corridor, and the Golden Corridor. However, rural sections of this region are highly productive agriculturally, and are part of the Corn Belt. The headquarters for John Deere farming equipment are located in Molinemarker. Additional smaller cities in this area include Kankakeemarker, LaSallemarker-Perumarker, Ottawamarker, Freeportmarker, Dixonmarker, and Sterlingmarker-Rock Fallsmarker, which still have predominantly manufacturing and agricultural economies. Northern Illinois is also one of the world's busiest freight railroad and truck traffic corridors.

Interstate 80 southern boundary

Interstate 80 is sometimes referenced as the informal southern boundary of Northern Illinois, and is often used in weather reports as a reference point, as in "south of Interstate 80 will see sleet and rain, but north of Interstate 80 can expect mostly snow."

Generally, areas south of I-80 are considered "downstate."

Interstate 88 cross section

Additionally, Interstate 88 (the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) seems to connect the region, east-west, stretching from the Quad Cities, eastward through Sterling-Rock Falls, Dixon, DeKalb, Auroramarker, Napervillemarker, and into Chicago. Northern Illinois is also the only region of the state in which there are tollways, which are run by the Illinois State Toll Highway Authoritymarker, another trait separating this region from Central and Southern Illinois.

Education

Northern Illinois Universitymarker, located in DeKalbmarker is located in the heart of Northern Illinois and is the state's second largest institute of higher education in terms of enrollment, after University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaignmarker.

Additionally, several major colleges can be found in the Chicago area, including the Big Ten Conference's Northwestern Universitymarker, Illinois' third largest state school University of Illinois at Chicagomarker, and other notable schools including Loyola Universitymarker, DePaul Universitymarker, Columbia Collegemarker, University of Chicagomarker, Northeastern Illinois Universitymarker and Roosevelt University.

Several liberal arts schools such as Aurora Universitymarker, Lewis University, North Central Collegemarker, Elmhurst College, Wheaton College, Concordia University, and North Park Universitymarker dot the Metropolitan Chicago landscape. Such schools can also be found in Rockford (Rockford Collegemarker) and the Quad Cities (Augustana Collegemarker).

These schools, along with several others, help to make Northern Illinois a vibrant research area. Such significant developments in science including the creation of the Atomic Bomb and the Fujita Scale were rooted in Northern Illinois institutions.

Politics

Politically, the region is quite diverse, with Cook Countymarker and Rock Island County being long-time strongholds for Democrats and suburban counties such as DuPagemarker, Kanemarker, Kendallmarker and McHenry Countiesmarker being reliable strongholds for Republicans. However, several counties such as Winnebagomarker and Lakemarker are quite evenly divided. Famous politicians native to the area include Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan, J. Dennis Hastert, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Mayors Richard J. Daley and Richard M. Daley.

Culture

Culturally, the area is tied heavily to Chicago, and most residents of Northern Illinois tend to root for Chicago teams, lean towards the Chicago media market, and visit the Chicago Loopmarker often . For College football the Northern Illinois University Huskies have been a staple for Northern Illinois fan bases for the past several years. Conversely, residents of Central Illinois are often split between the Chicago and St. Louismarker media markets, and the fan bases for the cities' respective sports teams often overlap. In Southern Illinois, residents are tied primarily to St. Louis. Additionally, regional dialects in Northern Illinois vary from those in other parts of Illinois.

Subregions




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