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 where white-collar or blue-collar occupations dominate the local economy, Charleston is neither predominantly one nor the other. Instead, it has a mixed workforce 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%).

In addition, Charleston is a major college town that has a very high percentage of its residents over 18 years old who are college students. Naturally, collegiate life has a major influence on local Charleston culture, lifestyle and entertainment options. Charleston really pulses to the beat of the academic calendar. In Charleston every fall, returning students reinvigorate the community, who you will notice are all over town, buying groceries, out with friends, and getting acquainted or re-acquainted with each other and Charleston. One of the beneficial effects that colleges provide is that they tend to be lasting institutions that deliver direct economic benefits to the local economy in the form of such things as jobs for faculty and staff, and spending by students. Charleston benefits directly from this.

Residents of the city have the good fortune of having one of the shortest daily commutes compared to the rest of the country. On average, they spend only 16.01 minutes getting to work every day.

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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