Will County is a county located in the northern part of the state of Illinois. This county is part of Chicagoland. As of 2000, the population is 502,266.
The county seat of Will County is Joliet, Illinois. The towns in the northern part of the county form the southern suburbs of Chicago, Illinois while the southern part of the county contains small towns and farmland.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,200 km² (849 mi²). 2,168 km² (837 mi²) of it is land and 32 km² (12 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.47% water.
The Kankakee River, Du Page River and the Des Plaines River run through the county and join on its western border. The Illinois and Michigan Canal and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal run through Will County.
The 17,000 acre (69 km²) Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie is a U.S. Forest Service park in the county on the grounds of the former Joliet Arsenal. Other parks include Channahon State Park and the Des Plaines Fish & Wildlife Area.
Will County was formed in 1836 out of Cook, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties. It was named after Dr. Conrad Will, a businessman and politician who used slaves in his southern Illinois salt production. A law allowed slaves to be leased from other states and used in the free state of Illinois only for salt production.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 502,266 people, 167,542 households, and 131,017 families residing in the county. The population density is 232/km² (600/mi²). There are 175,524 housing units at an average density of 81/km² (210/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 81.83% White, 10.45% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 2.21% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.63% from other races, and 1.63% from two or more races. 8.71% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 167,542 households out of which 42.70% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.80% are married couples living together, 9.60% have a female householder with no husband present, and 21.80% are non-families. 17.80% of all households are made up of individuals and 6.00% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.94 and the average family size is 3.36.
In the county the population is spread out with 30.00% under the age of 18, 8.10% from 18 to 24, 32.90% from 25 to 44, 20.60% from 45 to 64, and 8.30% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 99.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 97.40 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $62,238, and the median income for a family is $69,608. Males have a median income of $50,152 versus $31,345 for females. The per capita income for the county is $24,613. 4.90% of the population and 3.40% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 5.60% of those under the age of 18 and 5.50% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.