The Champaign-Urbana Urbanized Area is a diverse region spanning 47 square miles and containing a population of more than 148,000 people in east-central Illinois.
The Champaign-Urbana Urbanized Area spans approximately 47 square miles and contains a population of more than 148,000 people in east-central Illinois. The region is located 135 miles south of Chicago, Illinois, 120 miles west of Indianapolis, Indiana, and 180 miles northeast of Saint Louis, Missouri. Five municipalities are partially or wholly within the Champaign-Urbana Urbanized Area, including: City of Champaign, City of Urbana, Village of Savoy, Village of Tolono, and Village of Bondville. In contrast, the Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA) is the 25-year planning area for the long range transportation plan. The MPA spans 179 square miles and includes the Champaign-Urbana Urbanized Area, as well as some additional area surrounding the urbanized area including the Village of Mahomet. The function of the MPA boundary is to consider areas that could be developed and included in the urbanized area over the next 25 years.
General characteristics of each municipality within the MPA are provided in the table below. From the 2013 to 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimates, Savoy and Mahomet experienced the greatest population growth with increases of 14.7 and 9.3 percent, respectively. Bondville and Tolono populations decreased during the same timeframe. Total land area generally remained the same or increased modestly for municipalities within the MPA. The greatest change in land area occurred in Mahomet at an almost six percent increase.
Age and Gender
To identify how this region is unique, it can be useful to use ACS data to compare local data with national data. The most significant difference between local and national age distribution is the larger share of adults between the ages of 18 and 24 in Champaign and Urbana compared with the U.S. overall due to the University of Illinois. Another significant difference is the proportion of adults 65 years and over living in Savoy compared with the US and other local municipalities, due to residential and medical facilities geared toward older adults located in Savoy.
People with Disabilities
Within the MPA, people with disabilities range from 7 to 16 percent of the each municipality’s total population. Bondville’s percentage of people with disabilities is the highest of all the MPA municipalities and higher than the US overall. Savoy has the largest percentage of adults over the age of 65 with a disability at over 40 percent of the population, followed by Tolono and Mahomet.
Race and Ethnicity
The racial and ethnic makeup of the MPA population is more diverse than the nation overall. The percentage of minority racial groups in Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy tends to be about 25 percent higher than those in Tolono, Bondville, and Mahomet. The Hispanic or Latino population is more uniformly distributed within each of the MPA municipalities, with a range of 3.7 percent of the population in Tolono to 6.4 percent in Champaign. Since 2013, the percentage of minority populations increased in all MPA municipalities with the exception of Mahomet.
Income and Poverty
The population living in poverty has generally increased within the MPA municipalities between the 2013 and 2017 according to the ACS. Urbana and Champaign have the highest percentages of people living in poverty, exceeding the national average by about 10 and 17 percent, respectively. Overall, Urbana, Bondville, and Mahomet experienced a decrease in poverty rates, while Champaign and Tolono sustained about the same poverty rates.
The high proportion of individuals living in poverty in Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy can at least partially be attributed to the university student population that largely subsides on student loans and other outside funding sources while studying at the University of Illinois. In the Fall of 2017, 47,826 undergraduate, professional, and graduate students were enrolled at the Urbana-Champaign campus.
The income to poverty ratio determines the extent to which a household’s income is above or below the poverty threshold. An income to poverty ratio of less than one corresponds with a household income below the poverty threshold, and an income to poverty ratio of less than 0.50 represents a household income at less than 50 percent of the poverty threshold. According to 2017 ACS data, about 32 percent of Urbana residents and over a quarter of Champaign residents subsisted on income below half of the poverty threshold.
Household access to motor vehicles is one dataset that can help illustrate the relationship between income and mobility. See Automobile Ownership for more information.
Population Distribution and Density
Changes in the urbanized area boundary occur every ten years in conjunction with the decennial census. Since the last LRTP update, there have been no updates to the urbanized area boundary. The urbanized area grew from 123,938 people in 2000 to 145,361 people in 2010. The urbanized area also grew by more than eight square miles from 2000 to 2010, with a continued trend of nearly a three-percent shift from rural to urban land designation per decade in Champaign County from 1980 to 2010.
Champaign County is a regional employment center because of the presence of education, health care, and manufacturing employers in the area. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), the unemployment rate decreased from an average of 9 to 5 percent during the period between 2013 and 2017. The Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators identified the following top five employments sectors for Champaign County in 2018:
- Educational Services, 18,803 workers
- Health Care and Social Assistance,12,850 workers
- Accommodation and Food Services, 9,350 workers
- Retail Trade, 8,467 workers
- Manufacturing, 6,627 workers
The following tables lists Champaign County’s top employers and the change in their numbers of employees since 2013. The University of Illinois experienced the biggest growth of 3,114 employees from 2013 to 2018 followed by Carle and FedEx. Kraft Foods, Inc., Parkland College, OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center, and Urbana School District #116 reduced the number of people they employ during that same time period.