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Chicago (city, Illinois) - geography.

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Publié le : 4/5/2013 -Format: Document en format HTML protégé

Chicago (city, Illinois) - geography.
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Chicago (city, Illinois) - geography.
I

INTRODUCTION

Chicago (city, Illinois), city and seat of Cook County, located in northeastern Illinois, on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the Chicago River.
Chicago is the third largest city in the United States and one of the country's leading industrial, commercial, transportation, and financial centers.
Chicago covers a land area of 588.2 sq km (227.1 sq mi) and extends 47 km (29 mi) along Lake Michigan. It occupies flatland traversed by two short rivers: the
Chicago River, which flows west from the lake through the downtown area, where it forks into a North Branch and a South Branch; and the Calumet River, in the south,
which connects with the small Lake Calumet. Both rivers are linked by canals with the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, establishing Chicago as the connecting point in the
waterway between the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. The city's rapid growth was due in large part to its location, with ready access to
markets and raw materials.

II

POPULATION

Chicago's population began to decline in the 1950s. However, it increased from 2,783,726 in 1990 to 2,896,016 in 2000. According to the 2000 census, whites
constituted 42 percent of the city's population; blacks, 36.8 percent; Asians, 4.3 percent; Native Americans, 0.4 percent; and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific
Islanders, 0.1 percent. People of mixed heritage or not reporting race were 16.5 percent of inhabitants. Hispanics, who may be of any race, represented 26 percent of
the city's population. In 2006, Chicago's population was estimated at 2,833,321.
Chicago is the center of a large metropolitan area spreading across three states, from Kenosha, Wisconsin, in the north to Gary, Indiana, in the southeast. The
population of the consolidated metropolitan statistical area increased from 8,115,000 in 1980 to 8,240,000 in 1990. It reached 9,157,500 in 2000. The percentage of
minorities is lower in the metropolitan area than in the city. Blacks account for only about one in five in the metropolitan region as a whole, and Hispanics represent
approximately one in nine residents. While the proportion of Hispanics is growing in the metropolitan area, black presence has remained mostly unchanged.
Almost every ethnic group found in the United States is represented in Chicago. In 2000 more people claimed Polish ancestry in Chicago than any other ancestry,
followed by Irish and German. More than 46 percent of the more than 629,000 foreign-born people now living in Chicago entered the United States between 1990 and
2000. Spanish and Polish are the two most common languages spoken at home other than English.

III

ECONOMY

Chicago has a highly diversified economy that has been aided by an extensive transportation and distribution network. It is the nation's most important rail and trucking
center and is the location of one of the busiest airports in the United States, Chicago-O'Hare International Airport. Chicago has several commuter railroad lines that
serve the suburbs. In addition, the Chicago Transit Authority operates bus, subway, and EL (elevated train) services in the city.
The city is a significant port for both domestic and international trade. Great Lakes freighters and river barges carry steel and other metals, ores, stone, vegetable oils,
grain, and other products. Overseas vessels arrive via the St. Lawrence Seaway. The port of Chicago is located at the mouth of the Calumet River, in the southern part
of the city.
Chicago's economy is based on manufacturing, printing and publishing, finance and insurance, and food processing. Among the items manufactured in the city are
telephone equipment, radios and televisions, candy and food products, chemicals, diesel engines, musical instruments, office machines, surgical appliances, paints, and
soaps. Many of the nation's magazines, sales catalogs, and educational materials are printed or published in Chicago.
The Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange are among the world's largest commodities markets and have led in the development of futures
trading and related concepts. The city has long been an important convention and trade-show center, with numerous hotels and extensive exhibition facilities. The
increasing importance of this industry made it necessary to renovate and enlarge several facilities, including McCormick Place, a multipurpose facility on Lake Michigan
and the largest trade-show facility in North America. Additions to McCormick Place opened in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s.

IV

THE URBAN LANDSCAPE

The Chicago River divides the city into three broad sections, known traditionally as the North, West, and South sides. The North Side is largely residential, interspersed
with industry. The West Side generally is a lower-income residential area and contains numerous industrial, railroad, and wholesale-produce facilities. The South Side
occupies almost half the city and contains diverse residential neighborhoods, ranging from decayed tenement districts to areas of modest detached houses. The South
Side also incorporates the heavily industrialized Calumet district, which includes an extensive port area.
Chicago has one of the world's most beautiful lakefronts. With the exception of a few miles of industry on its southern extremity, virtually the entire lakefront is devoted
to recreational uses, with beaches, museums, harbors, and parks. The lakefront parks include three of the city's most important: Grant Park, near downtown; Lincoln
Park, to the north; and Jackson Park to the south.
The downtown area, known locally as the Loop (from the fact that it is encircled by elevated railway tracks), has been undergoing rapid change and expansion. It is an
important retail and entertainment district, although these industries are spreading, especially to the Michigan Avenue area north of downtown and to the growing
suburbs. The decline in manufacturing in the downtown area is offset by the continuing ...


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