Most Alumni by School in Chicago Area

#1      
While messing around on LinkedIn, I got an idea for a decent gauge at breaking down college sports fandom in the Chicago Area. Obviously, this will skew toward schools with graduates most likely to use LinkedIn (for example, my fiance is an ICU nurse and doesn't have a LinkedIn, as it's not as important for her career as it is for mine) and it will also undercount schools with large non-grad fan bases in the area (mainly Illinois and Notre Dame), but I still thought it was interesting. Again, this isn't an official number - nearly impossible to find for most schools - it is just total LinkedIn profiles in the Chicago Area by alumni status. I'm not an Illinois grad, so I don't even count in our "fan" total. :)

SCHOOLS WITH THE MOST OVERALL ALUMNI
1. Illinois - 118,770
2. UIC - 114,944
3. DePaul - 104,446
4. Northern Illinois - 96,919
5. Loyola-Chicago - 62,167
6. Illinois State - 59,264
7. Northwestern - 54,010
8. Purdue - 36,767
9. Indiana - 36,146
10. Wisconsin - 35,158
11. Univ. of Chicago - 33,225
12. Southern Illinois - 30,012
13. Western Illinois - 25,244
14. Iowa - 24,803
15. Eastern Illinois - 21,825
16. Michigan - 18,958
17. Michigan State - 18,952
18. Marquette - 16,337
19. Bradley - 14,269
20. Marquette - 16,337

"POWER FIVE" SCHOOLS ONLY
1. Illinois - 118,770
2. DePaul - 104,446
3. Northwestern - 54,010
4. Purdue - 36,767
5. Indiana - 36,146
6. Wisconsin - 35,158
7. Iowa - 24,803
8. Michigan - 18,958
9. Michigan State - 18,952
10. Marquette - 16,337
11. Notre Dame - 13,463
12. Missouri - 10,542
13. Iowa State - 10,286
14. Ohio State - 9,191
15. Arizona State - 8,016
16. Kansas - 6,822
17. Minnesota - 6,656
18. Penn State - 5,032
19. Arizona - 4,794
20. Cal - 4,024

BIG TEN SCHOOLS
1. Illinois - 118,770
2. Northwestern - 54,010
3. Purdue - 36,767
4. Indiana - 36,146
5. Wisconsin - 35,158
6. Iowa - 24,803
7. Michigan - 18,958
8. Michigan State - 18,952
9. Ohio State - 9,191
10. Minnesota - 6,656
11. Penn State - 5,032
12. Nebraska - 2,812
13. Maryland - 2,570
14. Rutgers - 1,987

Notes
- It really makes you realize how many bandwagon Notre Dame fans there are, which is just so disappointing, lol. If you assumed that about half of the Loyola/DePaul grads and 25% of the Marquette grads on here cheered for Notre Dame in football, you'd get Notre Dame at 100,854 vs. Illinois' 118,770. That leaves out plenty of other "Subway Irish" fans and of course many non-grad Illini fans (like me!), but I would say that is a reasonable two-way split for the two schools, from my experiences living here.

- There are a lot of fans "on the table" for Illinois if and when we become competitive. There are ISU, WIU, SIU, NIU and EIU grads who probably hate the Illini or are ambivalent toward us, but there are certainly some on the table who'd cheer for an exciting Illini team. My parents both raised me as an Illini fan, and they are NIU grads. If Bret can get us competitive, I think you will see a lot more Illini support in the city, as you saw this past year with basketball.

- There are a LOT of Big Ten grads in Chicago. In total, there are 4.03 million Big Ten grad LinkedIn profiles in the Chicago area! The major exceptions are Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers. There are quite a few NON-Big Ten, Power Five schools above each on the list:
Nebraska: 23 schools
Maryland: 34 schools
Rutgers: 36 schools

- There were some surprises for me with the Big Ten numbers. First off, I was shocked to see Northwestern in second and Purdue in third. I thought I remembered a Jim Philips quote from the "Chicago's Big Ten Team" era where he said NU had the tenth most alumni in the area of B1G schools, and I guess I just don't see that much Purdue stuff around here. After Illini gear, I would say I see easily the most Michigan, then Michigan State, then Indiana/Iowa/Wisconsin roughly even.

Anyway, hope someone enjoys this. :)
 
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#4      
Lombard
To your Notre Dame bandwagon fans in Chicago, my previous Regional Manager is an Illinois alum and is a die hard Notre Dame fan. We had a work project in Detroit and he wanted to stop by South Bend on the way home, we took different cars. I guess just something about growing up with Irish heritage in Chicagoland and catholic lead him to Notre Dame fandom.
 
#5      
Chicago, IL
To your Notre Dame bandwagon fans in Chicago, my previous Regional Manager is an Illinois alum and is a die hard Notre Dame fan. We had a work project in Detroit and he wanted to stop by South Bend on the way home, we took different cars. I guess just something about growing up with Irish heritage in Chicagoland and catholic lead him to Notre Dame fandom.
I'll cop to cheering for both. Maybe it is being Chicago Irish Catholic, or maybe it was just the fact that they were always easy to find on TV on Saturdays.

I'll also say I'm not the only one. I'll always put Illinois first, but I've never managed to hate on ND the way some do.
 
#7      
Interesting data, thanks for the research. I'm not sure what it means though. What does LinkedIn do or measure?
 
#9      
I was surprised Iowa wasn’t higher, and glad they weren’t. Seems like so many of the high school seniors in the suburbs have been and are going to Iowa in the last 10 or so years.

and thanks for the research
Could be that the kids that do that are the kids that aren’t inclined to come back? As with many kids who travel to go to school - if they liked Chicago why would they leave it?
 
#10      
Interesting data, thanks for the research. I'm not sure what it means though. What does LinkedIn do or measure?

Since most schools do not publish data about where their alumni live by county, this is likely the best measure we can get of what the "fan breakdown" is for the Chicago Area for college sports. As I noted, it will only capture those who use LinkedIn (approximately 28% of adults, per Google), but it likely evens out across all schools. As I also noted, one would have to arbitrarily/not-so-arbitrarily allocate non-grad fans to schools (likely mainly Illinois, Notre Dame, Northwestern and perhaps a few "national bandwagon teams" like Texas or Alabama). I have always been interested in how major metros break down for college loyalties, and alumni is certainly the best place to start, at least! I plan on trying to see the various breakdowns for NYC (Rutgers, Syracuse, Penn State, Notre Dame, etc.), DC (Virginia Tech, Maryland, Virginia, etc.) and others once I have time!

By the way, one correction (can't edit my post):
- Had a serious typo on the number of Big Ten alumni, lol .... there are 371,812 Big Ten profiles in Chicago.
 
#11      
Rockford, Illinois
I'll cop to cheering for both. Maybe it is being Chicago Irish Catholic, or maybe it was just the fact that they were always easy to find on TV on Saturdays.

I'll also say I'm not the only one. I'll always put Illinois first, but I've never managed to hate on ND the way some do.
Keep trying, you'll get there if work on it,
I am an Irish Catholic. I absolutely DESPISE Notre Dame. Illinois Football has never beaten them; we’re 0-11-1. I do not understand how any Illini fan could cheer for them, ever. Many “subway Irish” in Chicago show no allegiance to their state school. The last two times we played them, the Illini lost to Notre Dame in 1967- 47-7 and in 1968 58-8. I was in high school when I sat through (with my dad and my brother who was a sophomore at U of I) that entire 1968 slaughter in Champaign where Notre Dame just kept pouring it on. In addition, Brian Kelly, ND coach, let a student photographer/videographer, Declan Sullivan, die while screaming at emergency personnel to get off the field because they were interfering with practice. He kept the team practicing while he went to check on Declan. That win at all costs mentality and arrogance is despicable to me. I will never forgive or forget.
 
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#12      
Chicago, IL
I am an Irish Catholic. I absolutely DESPISE Notre Dame. Illinois Football has never beaten them; we’re 0-11-1. I do not understand how any Illini fan could cheer for them, ever. Many “subway Irish” in Chicago show no allegiance to their state school. The last two times we played them, the Illini lost to Notre Dame in 1967- 47-7 and in 1968 58-8. I was in high school when I sat through (with my dad and my brother who was a sophomore at U of I) that entire 1968 slaughter in Champaign where Notre Dame just kept pouring it on. In addition, Brian Kelly, ND coach, let a student photographer/videographer, Declan Sullivan, die while screaming at emergency personnel to get off the field because they were interfering with practice. He kept the team practicing while he went to check on Declan. That win at all costs mentality and arrogance is despicable to me. I will never forgive or forget.
You do you. Go on and block me if you can't handle an Illini fan that disagrees with you. No one owes their allegiance to the State school, particularly if they didn't go there and they haven't been given a reason (i.e. winning consistently) to do so.

I have friends that went to ND. I've enjoyed going to their games and tailgating with their fans. I don't agree with what the staff did regarding the death of Declan Sullivan, but let's not forget we have our own football coach who was pushing players to play while injured for the sake of his own job. We're not exactly squeaky clean where protecting students over athletics is concerned. And the fact that a student trainer allegedly suffered domestic abuse at the hands of a football player. I'm not saying two wrongs make a right, but we're in no position to throw stones. We're just incredibly lucky no one suffered a serious injury on the field or wound up dead off it.

I know I'm in the minority on this view, but I don't see the point of getting my proverbial panties in a twist over ND as an Illini fan. They're not in our conference. They have an objectively better track record than us in football. Crying that they get more attention from the national media when we've done nothing to earn more attention make us look pathetic and salty.

If I'm going to get riled, I'd rather it be someone in our conference. That at least makes sense since we compete directly against them.
 
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