Skokie, Illinois
Downtown Skokie seen on a partly cloudy day with some construction
Downtown Skokie in 2013
Flag of Skokie, Illinois
Official logo of Skokie, Illinois
Location of Skokie in Cook County, Illinois
Location of Skokie in Cook County, Illinois
Skokie is located in Greater Chicago
Skokie is located in Illinois
Skokie is located in the United States
Coordinates: 42°02′01″N 87°43′58″W / 42.03361°N 87.73278°W / 42.03361; -87.73278
Country United States
Incorporated1888; 136 years ago (1888)
 • TypeCouncil–manager
 • MayorGeorge Van Dusen (D)[1]
 • Total10.06 sq mi (26.07 km2)
 • Land10.06 sq mi (26.07 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0%
 • Total67,824
 • Density6,739.27/sq mi (2,602.03/km2)
 Up 2.27% from 2000
Standard of living (2011)
 • Per capita income$32,169
 • Median home value$297,900
ZIP code(s)
60076, 60077, 60203
Area code(s)847 & 224
FIPS code17-70122

Skokie (/ˈskki/; formerly Niles Center) is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States. According to the 2020 census, its population was 67,824.[3] Skokie lies approximately 15 miles (24 km) north of Chicago's downtown Loop. The name Skokie comes from a Potawatomi word for "marsh".[4] For many years, Skokie promoted itself as "The World's Largest Village".[5] Skokie's streets, like that of many suburbs, are largely a continuation of the Chicago street grid, and the village is served by the Chicago Transit Authority, further cementing its connection to the city.

Skokie was originally a German-Luxembourger farming community, but was later settled by a sizeable Jewish population, especially after World War II. At its peak in the mid-1960s, 58% of the population was Jewish,[failed verification] the largest proportion of any Chicago suburb. Skokie still has many Jewish residents (now about 30% of the population) and over a dozen synagogues.[6] It is home to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, which opened in northwest Skokie in 2009.[7][8]

Skokie has twice received national attention for court cases decided by the United States Supreme Court. In the mid-1970s, it was at the center of National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, in which a Nazi group, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, invoked the First Amendment in an attempt to schedule a Nazi rally in Skokie.[9] At the time, Skokie had a significant population of Holocaust survivors. Skokie ultimately lost that case, though the rally was never held.[10]


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A 1925 "Chicago"-style bungalow in Skokie

In 1888, the community was incorporated as Niles Centre.[11] About 1910, the spelling was Americanized to "Niles Center". However, the name caused postal confusion with the neighboring village of Niles. A village-renaming campaign began in the 1930s. In a referendum on November 15, 1940, residents chose the Native American name "Skokie" over the name "Devonshire".

During the real estate boom of the 1920s, large parcels were subdivided; many two- and three-flat apartment buildings were built, with the "Chicago"-style bungalow a dominant architectural specimen. Large-scale development ended as a result of the Great Crash of 1929 and consequent Great Depression. It was not until the 1940s and the 1950s, when parents of the baby boom generation moved their families out of Chicago, that Skokie's housing development began again. Consequently, the village developed commercially, an example being the Old Orchard Shopping Center, currently named Westfield Old Orchard.

During the night of November 27–28, 1934, after a gunfight in nearby Barrington that left two FBI agents dead, two accomplices of notorious 25-year-old bank-robber Baby Face Nelson (Lester Gillis) dumped his bullet-riddled body in a ditch along Niles Center Road adjoining the St. Peter Catholic Cemetery,[12] a block north of Oakton Street in the town.[13]

The first African-American family to move to Skokie arrived in 1961, and open-housing activists helped to integrate the suburb subsequently.[14]


Historic maps named the Skokie marsh as Chewab Skokie, a probable derivation from Kitchi-wap choku, a Potawatomi term meaning "great marsh".[15] Other Indigenous names include skoutay or scoti, an Algonquian words for "fire".[16] "Skokie Marsh" was used by local botanists, notably Henry Chandler Cowles, as early as 1901.[17] The village name was changed from "Niles Center" to "Skokie" by referendum in 1940. The name change may also have been influenced by James Foster Porter, a Chicago resident, who had explored the "Skoki Valley" in Banff National Park in Canada in 1911 and admired the name; Porter supported the name "Skokie" in the referendum.[18]

Supreme Court rulings

Twice in its history, Skokie has been the focal point of cases before the United States Supreme Court. National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43 (1977), involved a First Amendment issue. Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 531 U.S. 159 (2001) touched upon the Commerce Clause.

National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie

Main article: National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie

In 1977 and 1978, Illinois neo-Nazis of the National Socialist Party of America (NSPA) attempted to hold a march in Skokie, far from their headquarters on Chicago's south side. Originally, the neo-Nazis had planned a political rally in Marquette Park in Chicago. The park is located in what was then a predominantly all-white neighborhood, similar to the situation in 1966, when a crowd of 4,000 Marquette Park residents gathered to watch Martin Luther King Jr. lead a march, some waving Confederate flags or throwing bottles, bricks and rocks at the protesters; King was knocked to his knees when struck by a rock.[19] However, the Chicago authorities thwarted the NSPA's plans.[10]

Seeking another free-speech political venue, the NSPA group chose to march on Skokie. Given the many Holocaust survivors living in Skokie, the village's government thought the Nazi march would be disruptive, and refused the NSPA permission to hold the event. The NSPA appealed that decision, and the American Civil Liberties Union interceded on their behalf, in National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie. An Illinois appeals court raised the injunction issued by a Cook County Circuit Court judge, ruling that the presence of the swastika, the Nazi emblem, would constitute deliberate provocation of the people of Skokie. However, the Court also ruled that Skokie's attorneys had failed to prove that either the Nazi uniform or their printed materials, which it was alleged that the Nazis intended to distribute, would incite violence.[20]

Moreover, because Chicago subsequently lifted its Marquette Park political demonstration ban, the NSPA ultimately held its rally in Chicago. The attempted Illinois Nazi march on Skokie was dramatized in the television film Skokie in 1981. It was satirized in the film The Blues Brothers in 1980.

Migratory bird rule

See also: Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. Army Corps of Engineers

In 2001, the decision by Skokie and 22 other communities belonging to the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County to use an isolated wetland as a solid waste disposal site resulted in a lawsuit. Ultimately, the case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and resulted in an overturn of the federal migratory bird rule.


According to the 2010 census, Skokie has a total area of 10.06 square miles (26.06 km2), all land.[21] The village is bordered by Evanston to the east, Chicago to the southeast and southwest, Lincolnwood to the south, Niles to the southwest, Morton Grove to the west, Glenview to the northwest, and Wilmette to the north.

The village's street circulation is a street-grid pattern, with a major east–west thoroughfare every half mile: Old Orchard Road, Golf Road, Church Street, Dempster Street, Main Street, Oakton Street, Howard Street, and Touhy Avenue. The major north–south thoroughfares are Skokie Boulevard, Crawford Avenue, and McCormick Boulevard; the major diagonal streets are Lincoln Avenue, Niles Center Road, East Prairie Road and Gross Point Road.

Skokie's north–south streets continue the street names and (house number) grid values of Chicago's north–south streets – with the notable exceptions of Cicero Avenue, which is renamed Skokie Boulevard within Skokie, and Chicago's Pulaski Road retains its original Chicago City name, Crawford Avenue. The east–west streets continue Evanston's street names, but with Chicago grid values, such that Evanston's Dempster Street is 8800 north in Skokie addresses.


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[22]
2010[23] 2020[24]

As of the 2020 census[25] there were 67,824 people, 22,503 households, and 16,206 families residing in the village. The population density was 6,739.27 inhabitants per square mile (2,602.05/km2). There were 25,256 housing units at an average density of 2,509.54 per square mile (968.94/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 51.36% White, 7.94% African American, 0.48% Native American, 27.78% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 4.61% from other races, and 7.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.59% of the population.

There were 22,503 households, out of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.68% were married couples living together, 11.23% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.98% were non-families. 25.48% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.28% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.37 and the average family size was 2.78.

The village's age distribution consisted of 23.3% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 22.2% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 20.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.5 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $74,725, and the median income for a family was $93,491. Males had a median income of $46,915 versus $37,025 for females. The per capita income for the village was $37,827. About 7.5% of families and 9.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.9% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.

Skokie village, Illinois – Racial and ethnic composition
Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos may be of any race.
Race / Ethnicity (NH = Non-Hispanic) Pop 2010[23] Pop 2020[24] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 35,955 33,697 55.50% 49.68%
Black or African American alone (NH) 4,566 5,256 7.05% 7.75%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 70 56 0.11% 0.08%
Asian alone (NH) 16,437 18,726 25.37% 27.61%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 13 23 0.02% 0.03%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 185 424 0.29% 0.63%
Mixed Race or Multi-Racial (NH) 1,830 2,457 2.82% 3.62%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 5,728 7,185 8.84% 10.59%
Total 64,784 67,824 100.00% 100.00%

Skokie is approximately 28% Jewish[26] and has over a dozen synagogues.[6]

Skokie also contains a sizeable Assyrian population. Some Assyrian American organizations, such as the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation, report that Assyrians make up the largest ethnic group in Skokie, with the population estimate being upwards of 20,000. The population of the local high school district, Niles Township High School District 219, is reported to be about 30% Assyrian, making them the largest ethnic group at the school district as well.[27][28][29]


The village's AAA bond rating attests to strong economic health via prudent fiscal management. In 2003, Skokie became the first municipality in the United States to achieve nationally accredited police, fire, and public works departments, and a Class-1 fire department, per the Insurance Services Office (ISO) ratings. Likewise, in 2003 Money magazine named Skokie one of the 80 fastest-growing suburbs in the U.S.

Besides strong manufacturing and retail commerce bases, Skokie's economy will add health sciences jobs; in 2003, Forest City Enterprises announced their re-development of the vacant Pfizer research laboratories, in downtown Skokie, as the Illinois Science + Technology Park, a 23-acre (93,000 m2) campus of research installations—2 million square feet (190,000 m2) of chemistry, genomics, toxicology laboratories, clean rooms, NMR suites, conference rooms, etc.). In 2006, NorthShore University HealthSystem announced installing their consolidated data center operations at the park, adding 500 jobs to the economy. Map maker Rand McNally is also headquartered in Skokie. More recently, the village has focused heavily on the revitalization of both the downtown and central business districts, incorporating Transit Oriented Development principles in the process.

Top employers

According to the Village's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[30] the top employers in the village are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 NorthShore University HealthSystem 2,410
2 Federal-Mogul 1,279
3 Niles Township High School District 219 950
4 Macy's 910
5 Georgia Nut Company 815
6 Nordstrom 618
7 Village of Skokie 498
8 Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County 465
9 Skokie Park District 432
10 Generation Brands 417

Notable corporations

Arts and culture

Westfield Old Orchard, an upscale shopping center, is one of the country's first and is the third largest mall by total square footage in Illinois.[31]

Fountain at Westfield Old Orchard

The Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park is situated along the North Shore Channel between Dempster Street and Touhy Avenue on the east side of McCormick Boulevard. The first sculptures were built in the park in 1988 and it now has over 70 sculptures. Three areas are toured May through October of each year, on the last Sunday of the month with a presentation by a docent.[32] Just north of the sculpture garden is a statue to Mahatma Gandhi with five of his famous quotations engraved around the base. This was dedicated on October 2, 2004.[33]

In addition to municipally-managed public spaces, the village is also home to the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, encompassing Centre East, Northlight Theatre and the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra. The facility celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016.[34]

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center opened in Skokie on April 19, 2009.[35]


On October 7, 2008, the Skokie Public Library received the 2008 National Medal for Museum and Library Service,[36] notably for its cultural programming and multilingual services.[37]

Parks and recreation

North Shore Center for Performing Arts in Skokie

The Skokie Park District maintains public spaces and historical sites within its more than 240 acres (0.97 km2) of parkland and in its ten facilities.[38]

The Skokie Valley Trail is a multi-use trail connecting the northwest side of Chicago to the communities of Lincolnwood and Skokie.[39][40] In 2023, the Village announced plans to extend the Valley Line Trail from its current terminus at Dempster-Skokie Station to its northernmost boundary at Old Orchard Road. The result will be a continuous trail from the City of Chicago to the northern suburbs beyond Skokie. The project is estimated to be completed by 2025. [41][42]

The North Shore Channel Trail also passes through town.


Public schools

Primary school districts include:

Niles Township High School District 219 operates public high schools.

A portion of the city is served by the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 and Evanston Township High School.[43]

High schools

Niles North High School in Skokie

Junior high schools

Elementary schools

See the same map as middle schools.

Religious day schools



Roman Catholic:

Post-secondary education


Public transportation

The Chicago "L"s Yellow Line terminates at the Dempster Street station in Skokie. Construction has been completed on a new Yellow Line train station at Oakton Street, to serve downtown Skokie. It opened on April 30, 2012.[47] Additionally, the CTA is commissioning an alternatives analysis study on the extension of the Yellow Line terminal to Old Orchard Road for Federal Transit Administration New Start grants.[48] The New Starts program allows federal funds to be used for capital projects provided that all extensions for a given problem (i.e., enabling easy transportation for reverse commuters to Westfield Old Orchard) are considered. The extension recommended by the CTA, is the elevation of the Yellow Line to a new terminal south of Old Orchard Road. This extension was canceled.[49]

Although the Yellow Line is the fastest transportation to and from the city, the village also is served by CTA and Pace bus routes. The Pace Pulse Dempster Line opened through the village in 2023. However, Greyhound Bus service to the Dempster Street train station has been discontinued. For automobile transport, Interstate 94, the Edens Expressway, traverses western Skokie, with interchanges at Touhy Avenue, Dempster Street, and Old Orchard Road.

Major highways

Major highways in Skokie include:

Notable people


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  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  3. ^ "Skokie village, Illinois". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  4. ^ Newcomer's Handbook for Moving to and Living in Chicago. First Books. 2004. p. 73. ISBN 0912301538.
  5. ^ "Village of Skokie, Skokie History, Skokie, IL". Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Jewish United Fund – Locate a Synagogue". Retrieved June 7, 2021.
  7. ^ Dorfman, Daniel I. (September 30, 2020). "A survey found many Americans lack knowledge about the Holocaust. Local experts say social media misinformation hinders education efforts". Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  8. ^ "A Virtual Tour of the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie". WTTW News. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  9. ^ "Skokie: The legacy of the would-be Nazi march in a town of Holocaust survivors". ABC News. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Grossman, Ron (March 10, 2017). "'Swastika war': When the neo-Nazis fought in court to march in Skokie". Chicago Tribune.
  11. ^ "Niles Center Incorporation Papers, March 8, 1888". Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  12. ^ St. Peter Catholic Cemetery, 8115 Niles Center Rd., Skokie 60077
  13. ^ "Trace Outlaw Nelson on Death Ride". Chicago Tribune. November 29, 1934. p. 1
  14. ^ Yackley, Sel (April 30, 1967). "Integration Eases into Highland Pk". Chicago Tribune.
  15. ^ Shabica, Charles (October 12, 2012). "Swamp Secrets: The Natural and Unnatural Evolution of the Skokie Lagoons". Winnetka Historical Society. Winnetka Historical Society Gazette. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  16. ^ Virgil Vogel, "Indian Place Names in Illinois", Illinois State Historical Society, 1963
  17. ^ Henry Chandler Cowles (1901). The Plant Societies of Chicago and Vicinity. Geographic Society of Chicago. p. 68.
  18. ^ Barnes, Christine (1999). Great Lodges of the Canadian Rockies. Bend, Oregon: W. W. West. p. 130. ISBN 0-9653924-2-2.
  19. ^ Wilkerson, Isabel (2010). The Warmth of Other Suns. New York City: Random House. p. 388. ISBN 9780679444329.
  20. ^ Dubey, Diane (July 14, 1977). "No swastikas allowed: Lift march injunction". The Skokie Life.
  21. ^ "G001 - Geographic Identifiers - 2010 Census Summary File 1". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  22. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". US Census Bureau.
  23. ^ a b "P2 Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race – 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Skokie village, Illinois". United States Census Bureau.
  24. ^ a b "P2 Hispanic or Latino, and Not Hispanic or Latino by Race – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Skokie village, Illinois". United States Census Bureau.
  25. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved June 28, 2022.
  26. ^ Hautzinger, Daniel (February 27, 2020). "Skokie | Neighborhoods | Chicago by 'L'". WTTW Chicago. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  27. ^ "At a Glance: The Assyrian Community in Chicago" (PDF).
  28. ^ Snell, Joe (August 2019). "Candlelight march highlights Assyrian Martyr's Day in Skokie". The Assyrian Journal. Retrieved August 25, 2020. The Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation (AUAF) estimates roughly 100,000 Assyrians in the Chicagoland area and upwards of 20,000 in Skokie. That number, Mayor Van Dusen said, has continued to rise over the last decade.
  29. ^ "5K Walk Calls Attention to Assyrian Suffering in Iraq". Assyrian International News Agency. September 21, 2019. Retrieved August 25, 2020. The walk was held in Skokie, a suburb of Chicago which is home to 20,000 Assyrians.
  30. ^ "Village of Skokie CAFR" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  31. ^ "Dining at Westfield Old Orchard". Retrieved April 21, 2019.
  32. ^ Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park
  33. ^ "SkokieNet - Social Mobile Apps". Archived from the original on October 10, 2006. Retrieved October 29, 2006.
  34. ^ "History".
  35. ^ "Illinois Holocaust Museum Opens in Skokie: Bill Clinton, Elie Wiesel Address Crowd of Thousands". The Huffington Post. April 19, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
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  37. ^ "Chicago Suburbs News - Chicago Tribune".
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  39. ^ Zoline, Jeff (December 30, 2016). "Lincolnwood Builds New Segments of the Valley Line Trail and the Weber Spur". Streetsblog Chicago. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  40. ^ "Valley Line Trail – Recreation Path". Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  41. ^ "Bicycle Plan | Skokie, IL".
  42. ^ "New Bike Lanes, Path Extensions Planned for North Shore Suburbs". June 7, 2023.
  43. ^ "EVANSTON TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL 2018-19 School Profile" (PDF). Evanston Township High School. Retrieved July 17, 2019.
  44. ^ Sadin, Steve (January 16, 2018). "Solomon Schechter welcomes new head of school". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  45. ^ Schmich, Mary (September 24, 2014). "Important lesson at ex-Jewish school, now Muslim". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  46. ^ "Mission & Vision". MCC Academy. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  47. ^ "Oakton-Skokie Yellow Line Station Opens". Chicago Transit Authority. April 30, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2012.
  48. ^ "Yellow Line Extension Alternatives Analysis Study". Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  49. ^ "Yellow Screen 2 Presentation April 30, 2009 (text)". Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  50. ^ Sweet, Lynn (January 7, 2020). "Senate confirms Jovita Carranza, from Skokie, to be new SBA chief". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  51. ^ "A look back: Rashard Mendenhall at Niles West | Skokie Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on October 16, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013.

Further reading