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  •   State: 
    Madison County
      County all: 
    Madison | Macoupin
      County FIPS: 
    17119 | 17117
    38°54′2″N 90°9′35″W
      Area total: 
    16.95 sq mi (43.90 km²)
      Area land: 
    15.67 sq mi (40.59 km²)
      Area water: 
    1.28 sq mi (3.31 km²)
    535 ft (163 m)
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    St. Louis, MO-IL
    Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC-5:00; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC-4:00
      ZIP codes: 

    Alton, Madison County, Illinois, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    1,638.44 residents per square mile of area (632.62/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Sales taxes: 
      Income taxes: 

Alton is a city on the Mississippi River in Madison County, Illinois, United States, about 18 miles (29 km) north of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 25,676 at the 2020 census. It is a part of the River Bend area in the Metro-East region of the Greater St.Louis metropolitan area. It was the site of the last Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debate in October 1858. The former state penitentiary in Alton was used during the Civil War to hold up to 12,000 Confederate prisoners of war. Alton grew into a river trading town with an industrial character. The city rises steeply from the waterfront, where massive concrete grain silos and railroad tracks were constructed in the 19th and 20th centuries to store and ship the area's grains and produce. Brick commercial buildings are spread throughout downtown. The lower levels of Alton are subject to floods, many of which have inundated the historic downtown area. The Alton area was home to Native Americans for thousands of years before 19th-century founding by European Americans of the modern city. The image was described in 1673 by French missionary priest Father Jacques Marquette. The first bishop was Henry Damian Juncker. In 1923 the bishop's seat was moved to Springfield, Illinois. The diocese is no longer a residential bishop, and is listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see. The current bishop is Peter Baltes from Germany (1869-1886).


Alton was developed as a river town in January 1818 by Rufus Easton, who named it after his son. It became an important town for abolitionists, as Illinois was a free state across from the slave state of Missouri. Escaped slaves would cross the Mississippi to seek shelter in Alton, and proceed to safer places through stations of the Underground Railroad. Alton is located amid the confluence of three navigable rivers: the Illinois, the Mississippi, and the Missouri. The city rises steeply from the waterfront, where massive concrete grain silos and railroad tracks were constructed in the 19th and 20th centuries to store and ship the area's grains and produce. The lower levels of Alton are subject to floods, many of which have inundated the historic downtown area. On October 15, 1858, Alton was the site of the seventh debate at the Lincoln-Douglas A memorial at the Capitol. Hisman Trumbull, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, co-wrote the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, permanently ending slavery throughout the Civil War. His house is now a National Historic Monument, as is the Alton House, which is a National Register of Historic Places. The Alton Church is listed by the Catholic Church as a titular church and is located in the heart of the city. It is located on the banks of the Mississippi River, near the junction of the Illinois and Missouri rivers. It was a commercial center for a large agricultural area.


Alton is located on the Mississippi River above the mouth of the Missouri River. The Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway runs along the Alton riverfront. The National Great Rivers Museum is located at the new Lock and Dam No. 26, or Melvin Price Locks and Dam. A large bird sanctuary is located in an area of floodplain and wetlands on the west side of the river. The River Road goes right next to the river north to Grafton. It provides views of the dramatic contrast between the high cliffs of the Illinois side to the broad, flat, green countryside of Portage des Sioux, Missouri. According to the 2010 census, Alton has a total area of 16.736 square miles (43.35 km²), of which 15.47 square miles. (40.07 km²) is land and 7.28 km². (or 7.56%) is water. It is located near where the Mississippi Flyway merges the flight paths of the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri rivers. Also adjacent to the Audubon Center is the Jones-Confluence Point State Park, where one can stand at the confluence of theMissouri and Mississippi Rivers. The Great River Road is a popular bicycle touring route. It goes from Alton to Portage Des Sioux, where the river meets the Illinois state line. It also goes to the village of Elsah, once a small village with renovated houses and antique shops, now a tourist attraction.


As of the census of 2000, there were 30,496 people, 12,518 households, and 7,648 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 72.3% White, 24.7% African American, 0.18% Native American,0.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 1. 7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 1.5% of the population. The city's population was spread out, with 25.8% under the age of 18, 9.1 percent from 18 to 24, 29.1 per cent from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.0 per cent who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 88.4 males. ForEvery 100 females age 18 and over there were 83.1 males. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.02. the city's median income was $31,213, and the median income for a family was $37,910. The per capita income for the city is $16,817. About 14.7 per cent of families were below the poverty line, including 26.8 percent of those under 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the city has a population of 30,500.


In the late 19th and 20th centuries, Alton became a town of heavy industry and manufacturing. It has facilities for corporate and vacation retreats and it has transitioned into a popular tourist destination. Alton Marina; nine golf courses, including Spencer T. Olin, the only Arnold Palmer-designed and -managed course in Illinois or the St. Louis Metropolitan area. Billing itself as "the wedding capital of the Midwest", Alton has become a popular venue for weddings, receptions, and honeymoons. A designated bikeway extends for miles north of town along the Mississippi River and below the limestone bluffs. It is the area of the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway. On January 28, 2010, Illinois was selected for a $1.2 billion federal award to bring high-speed passenger rail service to Illinois by 2015-2017. Alon has been selected as a station stop on a line running from St Louis to Chicago, and opened on September 13, 2017. The town won the Small Business Revolution: Main Street contest and got a $100,000 boost to its community. It was named "Best Illinois Bed and Breakfast" in the Illinois Magazine Readers Poll. The Beall Mansion An Elegant Bed & Breakfast Inn was voted "BestIllinois Bed & Breakfasts" in Illinois Magazine readers Poll. During the migration seasons, Alon is a destination for birdwatchers along theMississippi Flyway. Winter visitors come to see the bald eagles that roost on the Illinois limestone bluff and feed on fish in the river.

Arts and culture

Alton is home to the Jacoby Arts Center (JAC), a not-for-profit organization that supports local arts and art education. The Alton Symphony Orchestra (ASO) is in its 66th season, and is considered one of the premier community orchestras in the Midwest. Lincoln dined here and may have stayed overnight when in Alton for his seventh debate with Stephen Douglas on October 15, 1858. The Mineral Springs Hotel, located at 301 East Broadway, was opened in 1914 due to the natural spring located on the property. The First Unitarian Church located at 110 E. Third Street, was built upon the foundation of St. Matthew's Catholic Church which had previously burned in the 1850s. The church is supposedly haunted by former pastor Philip Mercer who committed suicide on November 20, 1934, within the church. The Piasa Bird painting, reproduction of original on the face of a cliff north-west of the city, is on display at the Alton Children's Theater, which was founded in 1958 by Solveig Sullivan. The Beall Mansion, designed by notable architect Lucas Pfeiffenberger and built in 1902 and 1903, has been the private residence of Edmond Beall, four-time mayor of Alton and state senator. It is also one of most haunted places in the city, drawing ghosts hunters from all around the U.S. Dan Hornsey, the tallest fully documented man-stayed statue of Robert Pershing on Broadway in the world, is the current owner of the Upholstery on Broadway.


Alton Community Unit School District 11 enrollment stands at 6,480. Alton High School is the new public school, complete with a three-court gymnasium and six tennis courts. The school system has a student program for 1st through 8th grades, covering the Middle School. Marquette Catholic High School, named after the French explorer, Father Jacques Marquette, serves the area as well.Alton was home to Shurtleff College from 1827 to 1957 and prominent military prep school Western Military Academy from 1879 to 1971. The Sh Turtleff campus is now the site of the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine. The high school graduation rate is 97.7%; the elementary pupil-teacher ratio is 18.9; and the secondary pupil-taught ratio is 22.3. It is of architectural interest for its Romanesque design. The Alton Middle School serves grades 68 to 68-plus. The Middle School is made up of three buildings: the main building, annex, and Olin Building. The Main building is the oldest. It has approximately 1,500 students. The middle school is the largest middle school in Illinois. Its sports teams are called the Explorers. This program gives participating students access to wider knowledge as well as special projects. It also gives them access to special projects such as math team and music program. The High School offers an honors program and has an award-winning math team, music program, and sports team.

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in Alton, Madison County, Illinois = 10.2. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 35. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 10. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in Alton = 4.1 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 25,676 individuals with a median age of 35.6 age the population dropped by -3.96% in Alton, Madison County, Illinois population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 1,638.44 residents per square mile of area (632.62/km²). There are average 2.29 people per household in the 12,377 households with an average household income of $37,378 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is 11.20% of the available work force and has dropped -5.16% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 20.18%. The number of physicians in Alton per 100,000 population = 109.7.


The annual rainfall in Alton = 38.2 inches and the annual snowfall = 10.7 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 102. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 202. 88 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and 19.9 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 41, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in Alton, Madison County, Illinois which are owned by the occupant = 57.92%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 57 years with median home cost = $79,700 and home appreciation of 0.61%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $16.94 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $4,687 per student. There are 18.2 students for each teacher in the school, 1902 students for each Librarian and 1243 students for each Counselor. 7.40% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 11.00% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 5.32% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • Alton's population in Madison County, Illinois of 14,210 residents in 1900 has increased 1,81-fold to 25,676 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 52.41% female residents and 47.59% male residents live in Alton, Madison County, Illinois.

    As of 2020 in Alton, Madison County, Illinois are married and the remaining 51.82% are single population.

  • 25.5 minutes is the average time that residents in Alton require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    81.37% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 11.47% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool, 2.52% of the population that commutes using mass transit, including bus, light rail, subway, and ferry. 1.59% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in Alton, Madison County, Illinois, 57.92% are owner-occupied homes, another 30.20% are rented apartments, and the remaining 11.89% are vacant.

  • The 48.83% of the population in Alton, Madison County, Illinois who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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