People often think of Chicago when they think of Illinois. However, about an hour and a half from Chicago is a mid-sized city named Rockford. The city is in northern Illinois and offers a lot of what a big city like Chicago can offer, but for less money and with less big city hassle. One of the best things about Rockford is that you can go out on the town to one of hundreds of restaurants, go to the theater, catch a concert, or check out one of the city’s many museums as you would in a bigger city. You don’t have to worry as much about traffic, parking and crowds … or huge price tags for a night or day out!
Rockford was nicknamed “Forest City” by early settlers because of its lush and beautiful wooded areas. Some continue to call it that because of the tree-lined streets and abundance of parks. In recent times, people have nicknamed Rockford the “City of Gardens” because of its exceptional public gardens and 7,000 acres of parkland. The city’s best-known garden, Anderson Japanese Gardens, is considered to be the best garden of its type in North America – some say the best of two in all of the Western world. The Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden is also a wonderful garden in the area, and it is said to only be topped by a similar garden in France.
The population of Rockford has grown some in the last 10 years, but it’s been a very manageable growth. According to the 2008 census estimate, the city’s population is approximately 163,272 in the city itself. The metropolitan area, which consists of all of the cities in the two counties of Boone and Winnebago, is estimated to be around 353,722.
The Rockford population is really quite diverse. Census information tells us that although a large population is white, there are people of African American decent as well as Native Americans. Just less than half of the people living in Rockford are married couples, a large number with children, and the largest age group was 25 to 44 (with the median age being 34 years).
When living in Rockford, or just visiting, you can find a wonderful blend of people living in your neighborhood. No matter what your favorite activities are, on your own or with your family, you will find someone in the city – or very nearby – that can cater to that.