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%).
Because Charleston has a very large number of students who are 18 years or older and in college, it is thought of as a college town. This has a major influence on local Charleston lifestyle, entertainment, and culture in general. Life in Charleston is very much tied to the academic calendar: when students return from the summer break in the fall, one will notice them out and about, buying groceries, out with friends, and generally getting re-acquainted with each other. In Charleston people study hard and play hard, and there is ample opportunity to do both.
One of the benefits of Charleston is that there is very little traffic. The average commute to work is 16.01 minutes, which is substantially less than the national average. Not only does this mean that the drive to work is less aggravating, but noise and pollution levels are lower as a result.
The population of Charleston is very well educated relative to most cities and towns in the nation, where the average community has 21.84% of its adult population holding a 4-year degree or higher: 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.