An Overview of Chicago

The population of Chicago is approximately 6,945,000 people.

Chicago is the largest city in the state of Illinois, the largest in the Midwest, and the third largest in the United States. It is the anchor of the Chicago metropolitan area, commonly called Chicagoland, which has a population of over 9.7 million people in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, making it the third largest metropolitan area in the U.S. Rich in history and renowned for its architecture, the city is classified as an alpha world city.

Located at the site of a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837. It rapidly became a major transportation hub, a center of railroad transportation, as well as the business, financial, and cultural capital of the Midwest. Since the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, it has been regarded as one of the ten most influential cities in the world (source).

Today, the city retains its status as a major hub for industry, telecommunications and infrastructure, with O’Hare International Airport being the second busiest airport in the world in terms of traffic movements. In 2008, the city hosted 45.6 million domestic and overseas visitors. Among metropolitan areas, the Chicago area has the 4th largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the world.

Chicago is an important worldwide center of commerce. The city has one of the largest financial centers in the United States. The world cities study group at Loughborough University recognized Chicago among its leading group of cities. Chicago was named by The Atlantic as the world’s 4th most economically powerful city. Chicago has been home to influential politicians, including the current President of the United States, Barack Obama.

The city’s notoriety has found expression in numerous forms of popular culture, including novels, plays, movies, songs, various types of journals (for example, sports, entertainment, business, trade, and academic), and the news media. Chicago has many nicknames, which reflect the impressions and opinions about historical and contemporary Chicago. The best known include: “Chi-town,” “Windy City,” “Second City,” and the “City of Big Shoulders.” Chicago has also been called “the most American city” in the United States (source).

Religion in Chicago & Illinois

The wealth of Chicago’s religious heritage is displayed in its sacred architecture (especially Roman Catholic) and institutions. Christianity is predominant among the city’s population. The city also includes adherents of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and the Bahá’í, among others.

The city played host to the first two Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1893 and 1993. Chicago contains many theological institutions, which include seminaries and colleges such as the Moody Bible Institute and DePaul University. Chicago is the seat of numerous religious leaders, from a host of bishops to a wide array of Christian denominations as well as other religions. In the northern suburb of Wilmette, Illinois, sits the Bahá’í Temple (pictured below), the only temple for the Bahá’í Faith in North America (source).

Roman Catholics constitute the single largest religious denomination in Illinois; they are heavily concentrated in and around Chicago, and account for nearly 30% of the state’s population. However, taken together as a group, the various Protestant denominations comprise a greater percentage of the state’s population than do Catholics. In 2000, Catholics in Illinois numbered 3,874,933, while the largest Protestant denominations were the United Methodist Church (with 365,182 members) and the Southern Baptist Convention (with 305,838 members). Jews constituted the largest non-Christian group with 270,000 adherents. Chicago and its suburbs are also home to a large and growing population of Hindus, Muslims, Baha’is and Sikhs.

Illinois played an important role in the early Latter Day Saint movement, with Nauvoo, Illinois, becoming a gathering place for Mormons in the early 1840s. Nauvoo was the location of the succession crisis, which led to the separation of the Mormon movement into several Latter Day Saint sects. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest of the sects to emerge from the Mormon schism, claims 55,460 in Illinois today (source).

Would you pray that God would send more laborers to this city and country to lift His name high?

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