|Coordinates: 41°26′42″N 87°58′43″W / 41.44503°N 87.97866°W|
|Founded||January 12, 1836|
|Named for||Dr. Conrad Will|
|• Total||849 sq mi (2,200 km2)|
|• Land||837 sq mi (2,170 km2)|
|• Water||12 sq mi (30 km2) 1.5%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||810/sq mi (310/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
|Congressional districts||1st, 2nd, 3rd, 11th, 14th, 16th|
Will County is a county in the northeastern part of the state of Illinois. According to the 2020 census, it had a population of 696,355, an increase of 2.8% from 677,560 in 2010, making it Illinois's fourth-most populous county. The county seat is Joliet. Will County is one of the five collar counties of the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area. The portion of Will County around Joliet uses area codes 815 and 779, while 630 and 331 are for far northern Will County and 708 is for central and eastern Will County.
Will County was formed on January 12, 1836, out of Cook and Iroquois Counties. It was named after Conrad Will, a politician and businessman involved in salt production in southern Illinois. Will was a member of the first Illinois Constitutional Convention and a member of the Illinois legislature until his death in 1835. Besides its present area, the county originally included the part of Kankakee County, Illinois, north of the Kankakee River. It lost that area when Kankakee County was organized in 1852. Since then its boundaries have not changed.
36 locations in Will County are on the National Register of Historic Places.
"WILL, a county in the E. N. E. part of Illinois, bordering on Indiana, has an area of 1,236 square miles (3,200 km2). 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."
— 1854 U.S. Gazetteer
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 849 square miles (2,200 km2), of which 837 square miles (2,170 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (1.5%) 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.
A number of areas are preserved as parks (over 20,000 acres (81 km2) total) under the Forest Preserve District of Will County. The 17,000 acres (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 and Wildlife Area.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Joliet have ranged from a low of 13 °F (−11 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −26 °F (−32 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and a record high of 104 °F (40 °C) was recorded in June 1988. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 1.58 inches (40 mm) in January to 4.34 inches (110 mm) in July.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the 2010 Census, there were 677,560 people, 225,256 households, and 174,062 families residing in the county. The population density was 809.6 inhabitants per square mile (312.6/km2). There were 237,501 housing units at an average density of 283.8 per square mile (109.6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 76.0% white, 11.2% black or African American, 4.6% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 5.8% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 15.6% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 21.6% were German, 18.6% were Irish, 13.3% were Polish, 11.1% were Italian, 5.9% were English, and 2.1% were American.
Of the 225,256 households, 44.0% had children under 18 living with them, 61.9% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 22.7% were non-families, and 18.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.41. The median age was 35.4.
The median income for a household in the county was $75,906 and the median income for a family was $85,488. Males had a median income of $60,867 versus $40,643 for females. The per capita income was $29,811. About 5.0% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.0% of those under 18 and 5.6% of those 65 or older.
Will County is governed by a 22-member county board elected from 11 districts. Each district elects two members. The county executive, county clerk, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder of deeds, state's attorney, and sheriff are all elected in a countywide vote.
Like most of the collar counties, Will County was once a Republican stronghold. It went Republican in all but three elections from 1892 to 1988. Since the 1990s, it has become a swing county. It voted for the national winner in every presidential election from 1980 to 2012, but Chicago-born Hillary Clinton won it along with the rest of the "collar counties" aside from McHenry in 2016.
K-12 school districts, including any with any territory in Will County, no matter how slight, even if the schools and/or administrative headquarters are in other counties:
Will County is served by four U.S. interstate highways, four U.S. highways, and 12 Illinois highways.
Four different Metra commuter rail lines (Metra Electric Main Line, Southwest Service, Rock Island District and Heritage Corridor) connect Will County with the Chicago Loop.
Will County is a major hub in the national natural gas pipeline grid where pipelines from Canada and the Gulf of Mexico meet and then fan out to serve the Midwest. The following major energy companies own pipeline that runs through Will County:
ExxonMobil owns and operates the Joliet Refinery along the Des Plaines River just east of I-55. According to ExxonMobil, the refinery employs about 600 people and was constructed in 1972.
The municipalities with their population within Will County and their total population as of the 2010 census are:
The 24 townships of Will County, with their populations as of the 2010 census, are:
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