Illinois achieved its statehood during the year 1818. Settlers began coming from Kentucky in the 1810s and within some time, the state filled up from south to north. Chicago city was founded during the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River. This is one of the few natural harbors on southern Lake Michigan. Illinois' rich prairie land became amongst the worlds most productive and valuable farmlands with the invention of John Deer's self-scouring steel plow and the railroads. Immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden came to live.
The growth of industrial jobs in the 1900s among the northern cities, together with coal mining within the central and southern regions of the state, attracted several immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. Illinois became an essential manufacturing center during both of WWI and WWII. The Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to Chicago created a large community which founded the city's famous jazz and blues cultures.
Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant and Barack Obama are amongst the only U.S. Presidents selected that are from the state of Illinois. President Reagan was however, the only one raised and born within the state. The official slogan of the state "Land of Lincoln" is displayed on the states' license plates today as a way to honor and commemorate Abraham Lincoln.
In the year 2008, Illinois' gross state product was approximately $634 billion and the state's per capita gross state product that same year was around $40,006. In the year 2009, the per capita personal income in Illinois was estimated to be $41,411. In March 2010, the state reported an unemployment rate of 11.5%. By May, this figure had lessened to 10.8%.
Illinois is amongst the nations top manufacturers with a yearly value added productivity by manufacturing more than $107 billion in 2006. Roughly three-quarters of the state's manufacturers are situated in the Northeastern Opportunity Return Region and 38 percent of Illinois' about 18,900 manufacturing plants are located within Cook County.
The leading manufacturing companies in the state of Illinois based upon value-added were according to the statistics of 2006 $18.3 billion in chemical manufacturing, $13.4 billion in manufacturing machines, $12.9 billion in food manufacturing, $11.5 billion in fabricated metal products, $7.4 billion in transportation machines, $7.0 billion in rubber and plastic products and $6.1 billion in electronic and computer machinery.
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