Des Plaines, IL

This article is about the suburb of Des Plaines, Illinois. You may be looking for the nearby Des Plaines River.
Des Plaines, Illinois
Location within Chicagoland.The Chicagoland tristate area.
IncorporatedCity in 1874.
County, StateCook County, Illinois
TownshipMaine Township
MayorRudy H. Schuller IV
Population (2000)58,720 (up 10.33% from 1990)
Pop. density1,572.3/km2 (4,071.2/mi2)
Zip code(s)60016, 60017, 60018, 60019
Area code847 & 224
Land Area37.3 km2 (14.4 mi2)
Lat. / long.42°2.2"N 87°53.59"W
IncomePer capita:   $24,146
Household: $53,638
Home valueMean:    $180,168 (2000)
Median: $174,800
Demographics (Full data)

Des Plaines (DEHS PLAYNZ, IPA /dɛzˈplejnz/) (formerly Rand, Illinois) is a city located in Cook County, Illinois. It has adopted "City of Destiny" as its official city nickname. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 58,720. It is a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, and is adjacent to O'Hare International Airport, one of the two largest airports in the world. The Des Plaines River separates Des Plaines from Park Ridge, Illinois to its east. Des Plaines is one of the most economically diverse towns of less than 100,000 persons in the United States, with home values ranging from $30,000 mobile home units to $1,000,000-plus estates. Because of Des Plaines close proximty to O'Hare International Airport, many older dilapidated homes are being purchased only to be torn down and replaced with extravagant abodes valued from $800,000 on up.


Des Plaines is located at 42°2'2" North, 87°53'59" West (42.033848, -87.899786).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.6 km2 (14.5 mi2). 37.3 km2 (14.4 mi2) of it is land and 0.3 km2 (0.1 mi2) of it is water. The total area is 0.76% water.

Des Plaines is named for the Des Plaines River, which flows through it. The name is French, meaning "of the plains" or "of the prairies". The Des Plaines River came off the prairie, as opposed to "off the lake", the route the early French explorers were looking for.

Portions of Des Plaines are underlain by the "Des Plaines Disturbance", an area in which the layers of sedimentary rock are highly abnormal. This probably represents an ancient meteor crater. The bedrock was highly fractured by the impact, with large blocks of sediment upended. The crater was eventually filled by glacial activity, so that no trace now remains on the surface.


As of the census of 2000, there were 58,720 people, 22,362 households, and 15,071 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,572.3/km2 (4,071.2/mi2). There were 22,851 housing units at an average density of 611.8/km2 (1,584.3/mi2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.44% White, 1.01% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 7.65% Asian / Asian American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 4.64% from other races, and 1.97% from two or more races. 14.01% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 22,362 households, out of which 29.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.21.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $53,638, and the median income for a family was $65,806. Males had a median income of $42,241 versus $30,885 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,146. 4.6% of the population and 3.0% of families were below the poverty line. 4.8% of those under the age of 18 and 4.8% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.


Des Plaines is served by elementary and middle school District 62 and District 59 as well as high school District 207 with tha nationally acclaimed Maine West High School and District 214 Elk Grove High School. A private school called Science and Arts Academy is also located there.

Landmarks / History

An item of note about Des Plaines is that it is the home of the first McDonald's restaurant to be franchised by Ray Kroc, which is now closed and converted to a museum on South Lee Street.

  • Des Plaines Public Library
  • St. Zachary Church
  • Oakton Community College
  • Des Plaines Theater
  • Lake Opeka
  • McDonald's Museum
  • Des Plaines History Center

Pop Culture

  • Serial killer John Wayne Gacy lived on Summerdale Avenue in an unincorporated area surrounded by Northwest Chicago. It was the abduction and murder of 15-year-old Rob Priest of Des Plaines that finally led to Gacy's capture. Des Plaines City detectives tracked Gacy down, as the 30-40 previous victims were investigated by Chicago and other detectives that mainly wrote off the disappearances as "runaways" and closed the files.
  • Des Plaines is featured in the Left Behind series of novels as well as a recently released American Girl book.