Joliet is a city in Will and Kendall counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Chicago. It is the county seat of Will County and a major part of the southwest Chicago metropolitan area. At the 2010 census, the city was the fourth largest in Illinois, with a population of 147,433. A population estimate in 2016 put Joliet's population at 149,395, which would make it the 3rd largest city in Illinois if accurate.
Joliet is located at 41°31′14″N 88°09′02″W (41.5204200, -88.1505261). According to the 2010 census, Joliet has a total area of 62.768 square miles (162.57 km²), of which 62.11 square miles (160.86 km²) (or 98.95%) is land and 0.658 square miles (1.70 km²) (or 1.05%) is water. It has a sprawling, irregular shape that extends into nine different townships, more than any other Illinois city. They are: Joliet, Plainfield, Troy, New Lenox, Jackson, Channahon, and Lockport in Will County, and Na-Au-Say and Seward in Kendall County. Joliet is a Des Plaines River town, with the downtown located in the river valley. This is especially evident on Interstate 80 if one is coming from the east or the west where it has been flat for many miles and suddenly the land drops as one approaches the river. This offers a great view looking north to see downtown Joliet. For most of its existence Joliet geographically has had its "west side" and "east side", referring to areas to the west or the east of the Des Plaines River, which runs through the city. Both sides were roughly proportionate throughout most of its history until the 2nd half of the 20th century when westward expansion began. Many businesses moved from the downtown area to the expanding areas west of the river. Many stores relocated to the west side in new strip malls and shopping centers with more parking and easier access. This began the decline of the downtown shopping district which is still felt today. Today Joliet has a "west side" and a "far west side" (which includes all city limits in Kendall County). This has given rise to a newly referenced "Central Joliet" portion of the city which essentially is all land west of the Des Plaines River and east of Interstate 55. This new reference may soon change the current meaning of "west side" to west of Interstate 55.
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