Will County, Illinois

Will County, Illinois

Infobox U.S. County
county = Will County
state = Illinois

map size = 125
founded = 1836
seat = Joliet | area_total_sq_mi =849
area_land_sq_mi =837
area_water_sq_mi =12
area percentage = 1.47%
census yr = 2000
pop = 502266
density_km2 =232
web = www.willcountyillinois.com

Will County is a county located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Illinois. This county is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. As of 2000, the population was 502,266. In 2007, the estimated population is 673,586, making it one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. The county seat of Will County is Joliet, Illinois. The portion of Will County around Joliet uses the 815 area code, 630 area code for extreme northern Will County, and 708 area code for eastern Will County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 849 square miles (2,200 km²), of which, 837 square miles (2,168 km²) of it is land and 12 square miles (32 km²) of it (1.47%) is water.

The Kankakee River, Du Page River and the Des Plaines River run through the county and join on its western border. The Illinois and Michigan Canal and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal run through Will County.

The 17,000 acre (69 km²) Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is a U.S. Forest Service park in the county on the grounds of the former Joliet Arsenal. Other parks include Channahon State Park and the Des Plaines Fish & Wildlife Area.


Channahon, Crete, Custer, DuPage, Florance, Frankfort, Green Garden, Homer, Jackson, Joliet, Lockport, Manhattan, Monee, New Lenox, Peotone, Plainfield, Reed, Troy, Washington, Wesley, Wheatland, Will, Wilmington, Wilton

Adjacent counties

*DuPage County and Cook County (north)
*Lake County, Indiana (east)
*Kankakee County (south)
*Grundy County (southwest)
*Kendall County (west)
*Kane County (northwest)


Will County was formed in 1836 out of Cook, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties. It was named after Dr. Conrad Will, a businessman involved in salt production in southern Illinois, and also a politician. (An interesting point about salt production at that time was the law allowed slaves to be leased from other states and used in the free state of Illinois only for salt production.)

The county received its name from Dr. Conrad Will, a member of the first Constitutional Convention and a member of the Illinois Legislature until his death in 1835. In the year 1836, January 12th, Will County was formed from Cook County and Iroquois County and included besides its present area, the part of Kankakee County, Illinois lying north of the Kankakee River. Will County lost a small area when Kankakee County, Illinois was organized in 1852, but since then its boundaries have been unchanged.

Will County is located in northeastern Illinois, south of Cook County. The county seat is in Joliet, Illinois which is located approximately 40 miles southwest of Chicago on the Des Plaines River.

It is divided into 24 townships: Channahon, Crete, Custer, Du Page, Florence, Frankfort, Green Garden, Homer, Jackson, Joliet, Lockport, Manhattan, Monee, New Lenox, Peotone, Plainfield, Reed, Troy, Washington, Wesley, Wheatland, Will, Wilmington, and Wilton.

From the 1854 US Gazetteer:quotation|WILL, a county in the E. N. E. part of Illinois, bordering on Indiana, has an area of 1236 square miles. It is intersected by the Kankakee and Des Plaines rivers, branches of the Illinois. The surface is generally level, and destitute of timber, excepting small groves. The soil is very fertile, and much of it is under cultivation. The soil of the prairies is a deep, sandy loam, adapted to Indian corn and grass. In 1850 the county produced 527,903 bushels of Indian corn; 230,885 of wheat; 334,360 of oats; 32,043 tons of hay, and 319,054 pounds of butter. It contained 14 churches, 3 newspaper offices; 3472 pupils attending public schools, and 200 attending other schools. Quarries of building stone are worked near the county seat. The Des Plaines river furnishes water-power. The county is intersected by the Illinois and Michigan canal, by the Chicago branch of the Central railroad, the Chicago and Mississippi, and by the Chicago and Rock Island railroad. Named in honor of Conrad Will, for many years a member of the Illinois legislature. Capital, Joliet. Population, 16,703.


1900 = 74764
1910 = 84371
1920 = 92911
1930 = 110732
1940 = 114210
1950 = 134336
1960 = 191617
1970 = 249498
1980 = 324460
1990 = 357313
2000 = 502266

As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 502,266 people, 167,542 households, and 131,017 families residing in the county. The population density was 600 people per square mile (232/km²). There were 175,524 housing units at an average density of 210 per square mile (81/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 81.83% White, 10.45% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 2.21% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.63% from other races, and 1.63% from two or more races. 8.71% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.1% were of German, 12.8% Irish, 10.1% Polish and 9.8% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 167,542 households out of which 42.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.80% were married couples living together, 9.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.80% were non-families. 17.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.36.

In the county the population was spread out with 30.00% under the age of 18, 8.10% from 18 to 24, 32.90% from 25 to 44, 20.60% from 45 to 64, and 8.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 99.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $62,238, and the median income for a family was $69,608. Males had a median income of $50,152 versus $31,345 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,613. About 3.40% of families and 4.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.60% of those under age 18 and 5.50% of those age 65 or over.


Will County is divided into these townships:


*Andres - unincorporated
*Aurora - partly in DuPage, Kane, and Kendall County
*Bolingbrook - small sections in DuPage and Cook County
*Crest Hill
*Crystal Lawns - unincorporated
*Fairmont - unincorporated
*Frankfort Square - unincorporated
*Goodings Grove - unincorporated
*Homer Glen
*Ingalls Park - unincorporated
*Joliet - small section in Kendall County
*Lakewood Shores - unincorporated
*Naperville - partly in DuPage County
*New Lenox
*Park Forest - mostly in Cook County
*Preston Heights - unincorporated
*Sauk Village - primarily in Cook County, very small parcel in Will County
*Steger - partly in Cook County
*Tinley Park - primarily in Cook County, very small parcel in Will County
*University Park - partly in Cook County
*Willowbrook - unincorporated, not to be confused with the Village of Willowbrook, Illinois.
*Wilton center- unincorporated
*Woodridge - partly in DuPage and a small parcel in Cook County


Governors State University is a 6,000 student four year public university located in University Park, Illinois. Lewis University is a 5,200 student four year private university located in Romeoville, Illinois.

The county is in Community College District 525 and is served by Joliet Junior College in Joliet. [http://www.illinoisatlas.com/illinois/education/pdf/il_cc_2002.pdf retrieved 2007-02-13] Joliet Junior College was the first two-year higher education institution in the United States.


The county is a major hub in the United States natural gas pipeline grid where pipelines from Canada and the Gulf of Mexico meet and then fan out to serve the Midwest.

Major highways in the county include Interstate 55 and Interstate 80. The Interstate 355 toll road extension has been completed and now connects with Interstate 80.

Four different Metra commuter rail lines (Metra Electric Main Line, Southwest Service, Rock Island District and Heritage Corridor) connect the county with the Chicago Loop.

Historic sites

The following sites, in Will County, Illinois, are on the National Register of Historic Places Listing:

External links

* [http://www.willcountyillinois.com/ Official Will County Website]
* [http://www.willcountyrepublicans.com/ Will County Republican Central Committee]
* [http://www.willcountydemocrats.com/ Will County Democratic Organization]
* [http://www.wcgp.org/ Will County Green Party]
* [http://www.willcountylp.org/ Will County Libertarian Party]


*cite book
first = Richard L. (editor)
last = Forstall
year = 1996
title = Population of states and counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990 : from the twenty-one decennial censuses
publisher = United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Population Division
id = ISBN 0-934213-48-8

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