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 2022, Illinois exported $78.2 billion worth of goods, with international trade supporting more than 1.6 million jobs in the state.

Job Creation

  • In Illinois, 1,632,000 jobs were supported by international trade in 2019, representing 20.5% of all jobs in the state.1,2
  • In 2020, 21,836 companies exported goods from Illinois of which 89% were small- and medium-sized enterprises. In 2018, 375,300 people were employed by affiliates of companies at least 50% foreign-owned.3,4

Exports and Growth

  • Illinois exported $65.9 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2021, a 24% increase compared to 2020 driven by continued economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy.5
    • Canada ($23.8 billion)
    • Mexico ($11.5 billion)
    • Australia ($4.6 billion)
    • Germany ($4.3 billion)
    • China ($4.0 billion)
  • Agricultural exports are important to Illinois's' economy, totaling $11.1 billion in 2020, according to the USDA.6
  • Since 2014, the U.S. Export-Import Bank has financed $5 billion in exports from 234 companies in Illinois.7
  • Since 1992, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency has helped facilitate $2.5 billion in exports from Illinois companies.9

Education and Research

  • During 2020, 46,599 international students were enrolled in Illinois colleges and universities and contributed $1.6 billion to the Illinois economy.10

Global Engagement

  • Since 1961, 9,274 Peace Corps volunteers from Illinois have served in dozens of countries overseas.11