Making Sense of the 2010 Census Series

While the City of Aurora, Illinois has known for years that its population has been on a steady increase, official 2010 Census data confirms that the City has surpassed Rockford, becoming the second largest city in the state.

Aurora’s population increased by 38.4 percent over the past decade, and is currently home to 197,899 residents, according to the 2010 Census. Chicago remains the largest city in Illinois.

Aurora has an interesting “coming-of-age” story in that its growth over the past decade can be traced to a fundamental mission: making the City a desirable place to live, work, and raise a family, according to Kevin Stahr, Aurora’s Public Information Coordinator. Unlike some cities whose economy was boosted by a single industry or sector, or others that experienced a housing boom, Aurora’s growth stems from a variety of factors.

Over the past decade, Chicago’s western suburbs, including Aurora, have benefited from many transportation improvements, making commutes in and out of Aurora increasingly convenient.  Metra, Chicago’s commuter rail system, has two stops along its Burlington Northern Santa Fe line, which ends in Aurora. According to a Metra spokesperson, the Aurora station is the 7th largest in the entire Metra system, and the Route 59 station (Aurora/Naperville) is even busier – ranking among the top three busiest stations, with approximately 6,000 passengers per day.

In addition, commuters can choose to access Aurora from six different interchange points along Interstate 88, the Reagan Memorial Tollway, which spans from the western suburbs all the way to the Iowa border.

Aurora has made great strides in its crime-fighting efforts, and prides itself on becoming a safe community. Its major crime rate hit a 32-year low in 2010 – a particularly impressive trend in light of the growth in population, says Stahr. The City developed and continues to maintain several partnerships with other area law enforcement agencies, including the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Police, and even the FBI to fight the gangs and crimes that once posed a risk to public safety in the area. In addition, Aurora has a successful community-oriented policing program, including neighborhood watch groups.

Housing stock in the area is varied, with opportunities for buyers in every price bracket, from starter houses selling for less than $75,000 up through million-dollar properties. The City proudly embraces its socioeconomic as well as its racial and ethnic diversity.

“Aurora takes great pride in being Illinois’ second largest city,” Stahr said. “Aurora is a place where people of all different backgrounds can enjoy amenities associated with a major metropolitan area but can raise their families in a safe suburban community setting.”

Stahr says that the City’s cultural amenities, including the Paramount Theater, with an annual audience of 150,000 patrons, two shopping malls and restaurants, also attract people to the area.

The good news doesn’t stop here. Based on results of the 2010 Census, Aurora will receive a projected additional $3.8 million in federal funding, which will be used for general government operations, street-related projects, and community block-grants that benefit low and moderate income families.