Decatur (pron.: /dÉËkeÉªtÉr/) is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois. The city, sometimes called "the Soybean Capital of the World", was founded in 1829 and is located along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. In 2000 the city population was 81,500, and 76,122 in 2010, due to continued population decline. Prior to massive population loss, Decatur was the sixth-most populous city in Illinois. Now Decatur is listed as number fifteen among Illinois cities, as it lost 19% of it's population from 1980 to 2010. According to Sperling's Best Places, Decatur's metropolitan area population is 114,749.
Decatur is a classic Midwest USA small city situated with homes and park areas facing Lake Decatur, and with many historic brick buildings downtown. This city is home of private Millikin University and public Richland Community College. Decatur is a college town with treelined streets and vast industrial and agricultural processing production and is located in the Interior Plains of North America. Decatur is home to the corporate headquarters of international agricultural conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland which laid off 335 workers in Decatur and 1200 companywide in 2012 according to Crain's Business newspaper. Caterpillar Inc., manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, announced layoffs of 465 workers on April 5, 2013 according to the Decatur Herald-Review.
In the transition from a manufacturing to a service economy, Decatur has experienced some population decline as new development activity grows to the outer Decatur metro area, seemingly blurring the detectable boundaries of contiguous city limits of neighboring communities Mount Zion, Harristown, and Forsyth.