Charleston, IL
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Living in Charleston


Charleston is a medium-sized city located in the state of Illinois. With a population of 21,196 people and four constituent neighborhoods, Charleston is the 116th largest community in Illinois.

Unlike some cities, Charleston isn’t mainly white- or blue-collar. Instead, the most prevalent occupations for people in Charleston are a mix of both white- and blue-collar jobs. Overall, Charleston is a city of sales and office workers, service providers, and professionals. There are especially a lot of people living in Charleston who work in office and administrative support (16.16%), food service (12.18%), and teaching (10.76%).

Charleston is also a major college town with a large number of people who are 18 years or older and attending college. As is often the case in college towns, the many students that live in Charleston have a strong influence on the local culture and entertainment scene, which may seem dormant by comparison in the summer months when much of the student population is away. In the fall, the return of students has a reinvigorating effect on the community. Because colleges are lasting institutions, they have a stabilizing effect on the economy by providing direct local benefits such as jobs for faculty and staff and spending by students. Charleston’s economy is one such example of this.

Compared to the rest of the country, citizens of Charleston spend much less time in their cars: on average, their commute to work is only 16.01 minutes. This also means that noise and pollution levels in the city are less than they would otherwise be.

The education level of Charleston citizens is very high relative to the national average among all cities (21.84%): 34.56% of adults in Charleston have a bachelor's degree or even advanced degree.

The per capita income in Charleston in 2010 was $20,057, which is low income relative to Illinois, and lower middle income relative to the rest of the US. This equates to an annual income of $80,228 for a family of four. However, Charleston contains both very wealthy and poor people as well. Charleston also has one of the higher rates of people living in poverty in the nation, with 33.91% of its population below the federal poverty line.

Charleston is a somewhat ethnically-diverse city. The people who call Charleston home describe themselves as belonging to a variety of racial and ethnic groups. The greatest number of Charleston residents report their race to be White, followed by Black or African-American. Important ancestries of people in Charleston include Irish, English, Italian, and Polish.

The most common language spoken in Charleston is English. Other important languages spoken here include Spanish and Greek.

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