As the fifth largest exporting state in the U.S. -- and the largest in the Midwest -- exports are a major part of the Illinois economy. In 2018, Illinois exported more than $65 billion worth of goods, with international trade supporting more than 1.5 million jobs in the state.

Job Creation

  • In Illinois, 1,566,800 jobs were supported by international trade in 2017, representing 19.9% of all jobs in the state.1,2
  • In 2016, 22,551 companies exported goods from Illinois of which 89% were small- and medium-sized enterprises. In 2016, 340,500 people were employed by affiliates of companies at least 50% foreign-owned.2,3

Exports and Growth

  • Illinois exported $65.4 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2018. Illinois's largest markets in 2018 were:4
    • Canada ($17.6 billion)
    • Mexico ($10.2 billion)
    • China ($3.4 billion)
    • Germany ($3.3 billion)
    • Australia ($3.2 billion)
  • Agricultural exports are important to Illinois's' economy, totaling $8.2 billion in 2017, according to the USDA.5
  • Since 2014, the U.S. Export-Import Bank has financed $2 billion in exports from 213 companies in Illinois.6
  • Since 1971, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation has invested $2.1 billion in Illinois companies for overseas investment.7
  • Since 1992, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency has helped facilitate $2.2 billion in exports from Illinois companies, supporting an estimated 12,350 jobs in the state.8

Education and Research

  • In 2016-2017, 9,761 Illinois students studied abroad.9
  • During 2018, 53,362 international students were enrolled in Illinois colleges and universities and contributed $1.8 billion to the Illinois economy.9

Global Engagement

  • Since 1961, 9,274 Peace Corps volunteers from Illinois have served in dozens of countries overseas.10