After Chicago and Aurora, Rockford is the largest city in the State of Illinois. Rockford is located in Winnebago County, which has a population of 150,115. The neighboring communities of Loves Park, Machesney Park, and Cherry Valley are considered an integral part of the Rockford metro area. Traditionally known as the 'Forest City,' Rockford, IL, is a tourist destination during the non-winter months. Kishwaukee River Valley, Anderson Japanese Gardens, Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden, and Tinker Swiss Cottage are just a few of the attractions that draw visitors throughout the year.
Per capita income in Rockford is $19,781, which is slightly lower than the national average. Median household income is also lower than the national average. Manufacturing, healthcare, retail trade, and the local government employ the largest number of people. Many also work in education, hospitality, and food services as well. The single biggest employer in Rockford, IL, is the Rockford school district, followed by the Rockford Health System.
Rockford is a busy transport center but the recent decline in the manufacturing sector has negatively impacted the local economy. There is good news, however. In May of 2006, the city officials announced that over the next four years, 440 manufacturing jobs would be created in Rockford. Buoyed by the grants given by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and efforts by the city administrators, the business and economy of Rockford, IL seem to be poised for improvement, growth, and revitalization. By the next official census, it will be easier to gauge the efficacy of these bold developments.
For more information on colleges and universities in Illinois, explore our Illinois state page.