Is Illinois East Of The Mississippi River

Background Information

Illinois is a state located in the Midwestern United States. It is the sixth most populous state in the United States and the twenty-fifth largest in terms of land-area. Illinois borders Wisconsin to the north, Iowa to the west, Indiana and Kentucky to the east, and Missouri and the Mississippi River to the south. The state is made up of 102 counties and has three primary metropolitan areas – Chicago, Rockford and Springfield.
The Mississippi River is one of the longest rivers in the United States and is the largest watershed in North America. It begins in Minnesota and flows through states such as Illinois and Arkansas, before ultimately emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. It has long been an important part of American life, providing transportation and sustenance for communities along its banks.

Location of Illinois

Illinois is located east of the Mississippi River. In particular, the Illinois-Missouri border is located along the Mississippi River. This border runs only a few short miles north and south of the river, meaning that almost all of the state of Illinois is east of the river. Illinois is bordered by Wisconsin to the north, Iowa to the west, Missouri and Mississippi to the south, and Indiana and Kentucky to the east.

Effects of Being East of the Mississippi River

There are a few important implications of being east of the Mississippi River. The first is that much of Illinois’ agricultural activity is east of the river and so heavily relies on the river’s resources. Additionally, because of its proximity to the Mississippi, Illinois has benefitted from increased trade opportunities with the river, meaning that it has access to a larger market than many other states within the region.
The second implications of being east of the Mississippi River is that Illinois has historically received less rainfall and more extreme weather patterns due to the river’s influence on weather patterns. This has resulted in both floods as well as droughts, leading to significant economic and environmental damage over the years.

Illinois’ Economy

The economy of Illinois is largely based on agriculture and manufacturing, both of which are heavily reliant on the Mississippi River. With the river providing transportation and sustenance, farmers in the region have been able to thrive and expand their operations. Manufacturing has also benefitted from the easy access to the river, as the transportation of materials and finished goods has been much easier.
It is estimated that the agricultural and manufacturing sectors of the Illinois economy contribute a total of $140 billion to the state’s GDP. Additionally, the state is home to some major companies such as Caterpillar and Boeing, both of which employ thousands of people in their various facilities throughout the state.

Economic Benefits and Challenges

Living in a state that is east of the Mississippi River has its share of both economic benefits as well as challenges. On the one hand, being east of the Mississippi exposes Illinois to a larger market and provides access to a larger pool of resources. On the other hand, the state has had to contend with floods and droughts due to extreme weather patterns that arise due to the river’s influence.
In terms of the challenges, many of them have to do with infrastructure. Floods are an ever-present problem in the region and sometimes cause millions of dollars in damage. Additionally, the state has had to build some costly flood protection systems in order to protect properties near the river. The high cost of these infrastructure projects has also posed a financial burden on the state.

Sustainability Efforts

In recent years, the state of Illinois has been working hard to ensure the sustainability of the environment in and around the state. Specifically, the state has created numerous programs and initiatives aimed at promoting green energy and reducing the state’s environmental impact.
One such program is the Illinois Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard, which requires utilities to source at least 25% of the energy they supply from renewable sources. The state is also working on its “ReGreen Illinois” initiative, which aims to reduce overall energy consumption through efficiency and renewable energy programs.

The Role of Citizens

The sustainability of the state of Illinois, as well as its economy, is largely in the hands of citizens. People living in the state can do their part by utilizing renewable energy sources and being mindful of their energy consumption. Additionally, citizens should consider supporting the green initiatives that the state has implemented and advocate for the protection of natural resources such as the Mississippi River.

Transportation Options

Transportation is another key element of life in Illinois. With the Mississippi River being a key component of transportation infrastructure in the region, it is important for people living in the state to understand their options. Amtrak and motor vehicle are two popular options for getting around in the state, while the Illinois Waterway is a possible route for barge traffic.
Illinois also has several airports to choose from, many of which are located near the Mississippi River. These airports are used for both domestic and international travel, and their proximity to the river makes them attractive options for travelers.

Industrial Projects

Industrial projects such as the Joliet port are also increasingly important for helping to make Illinois successful. These projects involve the construction of various facilities along the Mississippi River, such as docks, warehouses and processing plants. They are meant to make the state more attractive to industrial investment, and to increase the economic benefits of being east of the Mississippi River.


Illinois is located east of the Mississippi River and has benefitted from the economic and environmental opportunities that this location provides. Farming, manufacturing, and energy-related initiatives have been key to the state’s economy in recent years, and there are numerous programs and projects in place to promote sustainability. Transportation options along the river, such as Amtrak, motor vehicles and the local airports, enable people living in the state to get around easily. Finally, industrial projects such as the Joliet port are helping to increase the economic benefits associated with being east of the Mississippi River.

Raymond Strasser is a passion-driven writer and researcher, dedicated to educating readers on the topic of world rivers. With a background in Geography and Environmental Studies, Raymond provides insightful pieces which explore the impact and importance that rivers have around the world.

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