What is the population of Chicago? As the third largest city in the United States, the Chicago population has grown tremendously over the years and currently sits at 2.75 million people. This, in addition to the 60 million tourists who travel to Chicago each year and the 3 million metro area residents who commute to the city each day, adds 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 2.75 million residents living on the city’s 234 million square miles. (The metro area Chicago population is 9.459 million.) Chicago ranks as:

  • #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 follow it up with dinner at a fine dining establishment. Chicago also offers a wealth of culture, entertainment, education, and career opportunities, attracting residents with various interests and passions. 

Reasons for Chicago’s Population Growth

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 to over 30,000. 

The city was home to more than 320,000 people by the time of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871,  but the historic disaster reduced the population of Chicago by a third 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 beacon in the midwest for entertainment and opportunity, drawing over 50 million visitors a year. 

How Many People Commute to Chicago Each Day?

The population of Chicago doesn’t change quite so easily, but the number of people in the city may rise by more than 3 million during weekday work hours. About 3 million people travel to Chicago or work each day, but the total number of commuters must also include those taking other modes of transport. Metra trains are a popular choice for residents in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties, and the commuter rail system reports a daily ridership of nearly 116,000 per weekday.

Learn More About Chicago at the Skydeck Museum

Get a bird’s eye view of the city from Skydeck or purchase your tickets to visit the SkyDeck Museum, an interactive journey through Chicago history. 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!