Champaign, Illinois

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Champaign, Illinois

Introduction to Champaign, Illinois

Nestled amidst the prairies and farms of America’s heartland, The Illinois city of Champaign is still only a little more than a 2-hour drive from Chicago (135 miles to the north). Serviced by three interstate highways (I-57, I-72, and I-74), Champaign is abutted by its "twin City" Urbana, with which it shares the flagship campus of the University of Illinois. Champaign is also home to Parkland College. Other nearby cities include Decatur (48 miles to the southwest), Bloomington (54 miles to the northwest), and Springfield (85 miles to the southwest). Situated in the eastern part of the state of Illinois, Champaign is only about 45 miles from the Indiana border and about 120 miles west of Indianapolis.

Founded in 1855 and incorporated as a city in 1860, Champaign was originally called West Urbana but had its name changed by legislative act at the time of its incorporation. The year 1867 saw the founding of the University, established as a Land Grant university for the state of Illinois. A university town centered in a fertile farm area, Champaign has an economy anchored by agriculture, medicine, and education, although the city also maintains a burgeoning high-tech and software industry focused on research and development of new technologies. In 1985, Champaign hosted the first Farm Aid concert at the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium.

Arts and Culture in Champaign

Champaign's downtown area recently underwent a successful revitalization effort which increased the size of the downtown area while maintaining its distinctive turn-of-the-century architecture. Some of the city's downtown attractions include:

  • Boardman's Art Theatre: Built in 1921 as the Park Theatre, this site features critically-acclaimed independent and foreign films
  • Historic Virginia Theatre: Dating back to the 1920s, the theater features an ornate interior and an elaborate Wurlitzer pipe organ
  • Orpheum Children's Museum
  • Verde Gallery
  • Springer Cultural Center

Other area museums and cultural sites include:

  • University of Illinois Arboretum
  • Anita Purves Nature Center
  • Champaign County Historical Museum
  • Early American Museum
  • John Philip Sousa Library and Museum
  • Krannert Art Museum & Kinkead Pavilion
  • Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum
  • Spurlock Museum
  • The Museum of Natural History
  • Wandell Sculpture Garden
  • William M. Staerkel Planetarium

Collegiate sports take center stage in Champaign due to the presence of the University of Illinois Fighting Illini athletic teams. All of the University's teams belong to the Big Ten Conference and participate in the NCAA's Division I sports. Sports represented by Fighting Illini teams include football, baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, tennis, track and field, and wrestling.

Fans of Minor League Baseball do not have to go outside the confines of the city of Champaign to catch some games. The Champaign Homers are an independent team playing in the Upper Mississippi Baseball League (UMBL). A virtual smorgasbord of major league sports action can be found within a two and a half hour drive north to the city of Chicago, which houses the following teams:

  • Major League Baseball: Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs
  • National Football League: Chicago Bears
  • National Basketball Association: Chicago Bulls
  • National Hockey League (NHL): Chicago Blackhawks
  • Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA): Chicago Sky
  • Major League Soccer (MLS): Chicago Fire
  • Major League Lacrosse (MLL): Chicago Machine

Chicago is also home to the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League (AFL) and the Chicago Rockstars of the American Basketball Association (ABA).

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High Points

Champaign strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in Illinois):

Category Trophy
Walking and Biking to Work
(vs. Peers)
Top 2% trophy Champaign Walking and Biking to Work
Short Commute Times
(vs. Peers)
Top 4% trophy Champaign Short Commute Times
Racial Diversity
(vs. State)
Top 7% Champaign Racial Diversity
College Educated Adults
(vs. State)
Top 8% Champaign College Educated Adults
Public Transportation Use
(vs. State)
Top 13% Champaign Public Transportation Use

Comparative Profile of Champaign, Illinois

Comparing Champaign to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in Illinois (State):

Ratings range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The People

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Male Share of the Population 10 10
Racial Diversity 7 10
Well-Paid Single Men 6 7
Well-Paid Single Women 6 7
Senior Citizens 2 2
Children Under 5 Years Old 1 1
Female Share of the Population 1 1
Age of the Population 1 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Average Household Size 1 1
Portion of People Married 1 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
College Educated Adults 9 10
Median Family Income 6 7
People in Middle Class or Better 3 2
People Above Poverty 2 1

Commute & Sprawl

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Walking and Biking to Work 10 10
Short Commute Times 10 10
Public Transportation Use 9 9
Working at Home 8 8


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
People Living Alone 10 10
Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals 9 10
Affordability of Rents 8 4
Housing Recently Built 5 8
Affordability of Property Taxes 5 4
Seasonal and Vacation Housing 3 4

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Champaign Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 113 miles W of Indianapolis, Indiana
County Champaign
Metro Area Champaign - Urbana
Standard Zip Codes 61820, 61821, 61822
P.O. Box Zip Codes 61824, 61825, 61826
Phone Area Codes 217
Time Zone Central (-6 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 40.116
Longitude -88.243

Champaign Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)
Station URBANA
Distance 2.3 miles
Jan Temp 16 to 32 F
Apr Temp 40 to 62 F
Jul Temp 64 to 85 F
Oct Temp 43 to 65 F
Annual Precip 41 inches
Distance 14.4 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 33 F
Apr Temp 39 to 63 F
Jul Temp 64 to 87 F
Oct Temp 41 to 67 F
Annual Precip 38.7 inches
Distance 22 miles
Jan Temp 18 to 34 F
Apr Temp 42 to 66 F
Jul Temp 66 to 88 F
Oct Temp 45 to 68 F
Annual Precip 40.6 inches
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Champaign Population (2000)

Category Count Percent
Total Population 67,518 100%
Male 34,206 50.7%
Female 33,312 49.3%
Under 18 12,011 17.8%
18+ 55,507 82.2%
65+ 5,678 8.4%
Median Age 25.3
Average Family Size 2.95
White 49,398 73.2%
African-American 10,543 15.6%
Asian 4,611 6.8%
American Indian & Alaskan 159 0.2%
Other 1,307 1.9%
Mixed Race 1,477 2.2%
Hispanic (included in categories above) 2,724 4%

Estimated Champaign Population Growth 2000-2005

Category Value
Est. 2005 Population 71,568
Growth 4,050
Growth % 6%

Champaign Ancestry

(From 2000 Census, as reported by individuals)

Note: This is national, not racial, ancestry, so, e.g., the Census doesn't have categories for Hispanic and African-American people. CityTownInfo is currently gathering additional ancestry data for this site.
Ancestry Percent
Other (often includes Hispanic and African American) 29.6%
German 21.1%
Irish 9.9%
English 7.6%
US/American 4.2%
Italian 4.1%
Polish 3.7%
Swedish 2%
European 1.6%
Norwegian 1.5%
Scottish 1.4%
French (except Basque) 1.4%
Scotch-Irish 1.3%
Russian 1.1%
African 1%
Dutch 0.9%
British 0.7%
Greek 0.6%
Swiss 0.4%
Czech 0.4%
French Canadian 0.4%
Austrian 0.3%
Hungarian 0.3%
Welsh 0.3%
Lithuanian 0.3%
Ukrainian 0.2%
Slovak 0.2%
Liberian 0.2%
Danish 0.2%
Canadian 0.2%
Scandinavian 0.2%
Arab/Arabic 0.2%
Northern European 0.2%
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Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Pop. Median Family
Income (2000)
Champaign 67,518 $52,628
Bondville 455 $38,462
Philo 1,314 $60,365
Savoy 4,476 $61,927
Thomasboro 1,233 $47,212
Tolono 2,700 $51,763
Urbana 36,395 $42,655

Champaign Public Libraries

Champaign P.l. & Info. Cntr.
Champaign, Illinois
(217) 356-8207
Library Web Site

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More Information for Librarians

Starbucks in Champaign

(As of 2005)
5th & Green
503 E. Green Street
Market Place Mall
2000 North Neil St.

Wal-mart in Champaign

(As of 2006)
2610 No Prospect Ave
(217) 352-0700
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Champaign High Schools (2004)

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 1,483 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.1

Serves 1,343 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 16.3

1103 N NEIL ST
A Special Education School
Serves 47 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 3.9

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City, State Similarity   1 Person Houses 65+ College Grads Commute Minutes Family Income Kids 0-4 Non White Pop. Poverty Prop. Crime Seasonal Housing Viol. Crime
      loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
1. Carrboro, North Carolina 90.1   37.1% 5.1% 60.9% 22 $47,330 5.4% 27.3% 16,782 19% 68.5 0.4% 5.9
2. Greenville, North Carolina 88.7   35.6% 8.8% 38.4% 19 $44,491 5.6% 38.6% 60,476 26.1% 74 0.4% 8.2
3. Athens, Georgia 87.5   29.9% 8.1% 40% 19 $41,407 5.2% 35.1% 101,489 28.6% 59 0.4% 4.6
4. St. Cloud, Minnesota 83.5   30.3% 10.3% 29.6% 18 $50,460 5.5% 8.3% 59,107 13.1% 46.8 0.3% 4.3
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