Illinois is the most populous state in the Midwest region of the nation, with 12,910,409 residents (US Census Bureau). The majority of IL’s population is centered in the Chicago metropolitan area, called Chicagoland, in Northeastern Illinois. Chigagoland is densely populated, mainly industrialized, and settled by a wide variety of ethnic groups. The larger cities in Chicagoland include Aurora, Elgin, Evanston, Joliet, Naperville, Skokie, and Waukegan. Chicagoland is adjacent to Northern and Central Illinois, the main agricultural sections of Illinois.
Springfield, in Central Illinois, is the capital. Many of the jobs in the city center on state government, and the major tourist attractions center around Springfield’s most famous former resident, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States.
Wisconsin borders Illinois to the north, rural Iowa borders Illinois to the northwest, Missouri borders Illinois to the southwest, Kentucky borders Illinois to the southeast, with Indiana and Lake Michigan to the east.
Because of Illinois’ central location within the United States, it is a national crossroads for air, auto, rail and truck traffic. Chicago’s O’Hare International. Airport and Midway Airport are busy airports. Illinois also has a major passenger and freight rail network, and Chicago is a national Amtrak hub. Illinois is one of the nation’s manufacturing leaders, with approximately three-quarters of the state’s manufacturers located in northeastern Illinois. Over 50,000 truckloads of freight are shipped from Chicago daily, and over 50% of U.S. rail freight passes through Chicago and the Chicagoland region. Statistics from the Illinois Department of Transportation show 81,971 vehicle crashes in Chicago in 2009, with 141 fatalities including 2,385 truck crashes involving semi trucks with trailers and 521 motorcycle crashes on Chicago’s crowded roadways.
Major U.S. Interstate highways crossing the state include Interstate 24, Interstate 39, Interstate 55, Interstate 57, Interstate 64, Interstate 70, Interstate 72, Interstate 74, Interstate 80, Interstate 88, Interstate 90, and Interstate 94. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports that 2009 was the safest for travel in Illinois since 1921, with 911 fatalities and fewer than 89,100 injuries. The state intends to continue aggressive highway safety programs to keep the reduction in fatalities and injuries on a downward trend, with increased enforcement details during the night, increased paid media for motorcycle awareness, and other programs. There were 3,846 motorcycle crashes in the year 2009.
Illinois residents have access to a large number of health care facilities, physicians, dentists, and other healthcare practitioners. The most notable concentration of health care facilities is in Chicago; the Illinois Medical District, the nation’s largest urban medical district, is home to world-class medical centers and hospitals such as Rush University Medical Center, the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, Jesse Brown VA Hospital, and John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, formerly known as the Cook County Hospital.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois has approximately 1,200 long-term care facilities, commonly called nursing homes. The CMS Nursing Home Database provides information about the performance of every Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing home in Illinois. This information may be used by the public to determine whether a nursing home provides adequate care and treatment or whether the facility has the potential for nursing home negligence or, in the worst case scenario, elder abuse.
A unified, three-tiered judiciary consisting of the Circuit Court, Appellate Court, and Supreme Court serves IL. The Circuit Court is a court of general jurisdiction with original jurisdiction in all civil matters such as medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, and personal injury cases, and in all criminal matters. The Circuit Court of Cook County is the largest of the 22 circuits in Illinois.