Real Estate - Illinois
The northeastern border of Illinois is Lake Michigan. Its eastern border with Indiana is all of the land west of the Wabash River, and a north-south line above Post Vincennes, or 87° 30' west longitude. Its northern border with Wisconsin is fixed at 42° 30' latitude. Its western border with Missouri and Iowa is the Mississippi River. Its southern border with Kentucky is the Ohio River. Illinois also borders Michigan, but only via a water boundary in Lake Michigan.
Though Illinois lies entirely in the Interior Plains, it has three major geographical divisions. The first is Chicagoland, including the city of Chicago, its suburbs, and the adjoining exurban area into which the metropolis is expanding. This region includes a few counties in Indiana and Wisconsin and stretches across much of northern Illinois toward the Iowa border, generally along Interstates 80 and 90. This region is cosmopolitan, densely populated, industrialized, and settled by a variety of ethnic groups. Cook County is the most populous county in the state, with over 5.3 million residents in 2004.
Southward and westward, the second major division is central Illinois, an area of mostly flat prairie. The western section (west of the Illinois River) was originally part of the Military Tract of 1812 and forms the distinctive western bulge of state. Known as the Land of Lincoln or the Heart of Illinois, it is characterized by small towns and mid-sized cities. Agriculture, particularly corn and soybeans, as well as educational institutions and manufacturing centers, figures prominently. Major cities include Peoria–the third largest metropolitan area in Illinois at 370,000, Springfield–the state capital, Decatur, Bloomington-Normal and Champaign-Urbana.
The third division is southern Illinois, comprising the area south of U.S. Route 50, and including Little Egypt, near the juncture of the Mississippi River and Ohio River. This region can be distinguished from the other two by its warmer climate, different mix of crops (including some cotton farming in the past), more rugged topography (the southern tip is unglaciated with the remainder glaciated during the Illinoian Age and earlier ages), as well as small-scale oil deposits and coal mining. The area is a little more populated than the central part of the state with the population centered in two areas. First, the Illinois suburbs of St. Louis comprise the second most populous metropolitan area in Illinois with nearly 600,000 inhabitants, and are known collectively as the Metro-East. Second, the Carbondale, Marion, West Frankfort, Herrin, Murphysboro area, is home to around 200,000 residents.
Collectively, all of Illinois outside the Chicago Metropolitan area is called "downstate Illinois".
In extreme northwestern Illinois, the Driftless Zone, a region of unglaciated and therefore higher and more rugged topography, occupies a small part of the state. Charles Mound, located in this region, is the state's highest natural elevation above sea level at 1,235 feet (376 m). The highest true elevation in Illinois is the Sears Tower with an elevation at the top of its roof of approximately 2,030 feet (the elevation of Chicago is approximately 580 feet and the height of the roof is approximately 1450 feet).
The floodplain on the Mississippi River from Alton to the Kaskaskia River is the American Bottom, and is the site of the ancient city of Cahokia. It was a region of early French settlement, as well as the site of the first state capital, at Kaskaskia which is separated from the rest of the state by the Mississippi River.
Information from: wikipedia