Olney, IL


Olney is a city located in Richland County, Illinois. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 8,631. It is the county seat of Richland County.


Olney is known for its population of white squirrels. In 1902 William Stroup was out hunting and shot the gray mother. The shot knocked the two babies out of the nest and he brought them for his children. He latter sold them to Jasper Banks who put them on display in front of his saloon. In 1910 the Illinois legislature passed a law prohibiting the confinement of wildlife and they were released into the woods. In 1925 the city passed a law that required all dogs to be tied up. In 1943 the squirrel population reached its peak at 1000 but now the population holds steady at around 200. There is a $25 fine for running one over and cats also have to be tied up now. The police department's badge even has a picture of a white squirrel on it.


Olney is located at 38°43'50" North, 88°4'55" West (38.730546, -88.081866).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.9 km2 (5.8 mi2). 14.9 km2 (5.8 mi2) of it is land and none of it is covered by water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 8,631 people, 3,755 households, and 2,301 families residing in the city. The population density was 578.5/km2 (1,498.4/mi2). There were 4,283 housing units at an average density of 287.1/km2 (743.5/mi2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.67% White, 0.48% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. 0.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,755 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.8% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,084, and the median income for a family was $37,365. Males had a median income of $29,547 versus $18,440 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,218. 17.0% of the population and 13.0% of families were below the poverty line. 21.9% of those under the age of 18 and 8.0% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.