Chicago’s Population Growth

People outside by the Chicago River

What is the population of Chicago? As the third largest city in the United States, the Chicago population has seen tremendous growth over the years and currently sits at 2.71 million people. This, in addition to the thousands of visitors the city receives each year, add up to massive Chicago population density numbers, cementing its status as the biggest city in the midwest


What is the Population of Chicago? 

The most recent calculation of Chicago’s population is 2.71 million residents spanning across the city’s 234 million square miles. The number of people in Chicago help the city rank as the:

  • #1 most populous city in the Midwest
  • #3 most populous city in the United States
  • #5 most populous city in North America 

The city’s popularity is attributed to many factors. Built on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago provides its residents with a harmonious balance of city amenities and natural elements, allowing people to spend an afternoon at the beach and then dinner at a fine dining restaurant. Chicago also offers a wealth of culture, entertainment, education, and career opportunities, attracting a large population with a wide variety of interests and passions. 


How the Chicago Population Has Grown 

Chicago was incorporated in 1837 with a founding population of 4,000 residents. Modern innovations such as a dedicated railroad line and telegraph access increased the Chicago population density over the next several decades, and by 1854, the number of people in Chicago soared over 30,000. 

By the time of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, there were over 320,000 people living in Chicago, but the disaster ravaged a third of the city and left an estimated 100,000 people homeless. After a significant building effort, the city slowly began to recover and revive interest in commerce and tourism. 

Chicago’s population density saw steady inclines until the 1950s and 60s when suburban areas began drawing families away from the city. Even still, the Windy City has continued to be a midwestern beacon for entertainment and opportunity, drawing over 50 million visitors a year. 


Take in Chicago’s Population From the Top of Skydeck! 

One of the most exciting ways to get a handle on how many people are in Chicago is to get a bird’s eye view of the city from Skydeck! Located in the iconic Willis Tower, we’ll help you see everything the city has to offer from a vantage point you’ll never forget. When you plan your next visit to Chicago, save time when you get tickets in advance!

Important Notice Regarding COVID-19

Willis Tower and Skydeck Chicago have implemented measures consistent with CDC and local and federal guidance to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on the premises, including enhanced cleaning protocols. Even with these procedures in place, PLEASE BE ADVISED that building occupants, building and Skydeck visitors, or others currently or previously present upon this property and/or the Skydeck MAY HAVE CONTRACTED OR BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, and may expose you. By accessing and using building common areas, the Skydeck, and their associated amenities, you and your party voluntarily assume all risks of your use—INCLUDING THE RISK OF EXPOSURE TO INFECTIOUS DISEASE—and you waive all claims, including claims for negligence, against Willis Tower, Skydeck Chicago, and their respective owners, managers, affiliates, agents and representatives, arising out of such use. The above parties hereby disclaim all liability for any injuries arising out of your use of this property and the Skydeck, including exposure to infectious disease.

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