Eldorado (/ˌɛldəˈreɪdoʊ, -də/) is a city in Saline County, Illinois, United States. The population was 4,122 at the 2010 census, with a 1980 peak of 5,198. Although the city’s name is spelled as if it were Spanish, the name was originally “Elderedo” or “Elder-Redo” (depending on the source)—a combination of the last names of the town’s two founders, Judge Samuel Elder, his son William, grandson Francis Marion, and neighbor Joseph Reed, and his brother William. According to legend, a signpainter for the railroad painted the name “Eldorado” on the train depot; as a result, the spelling and pronunciation (el-do-RAY-doh) was forever changed.
As of the census of 2010 there were 4,122 people, 1,796 households, and 1,044 families residing in the city. There were 2,053 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 97.3% White, 0.8% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.3% of the population.
There were 1,945 households out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.85.
The median age was 43 years. The unemployment rate 17.5%.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,799, and the median income for a family was $36,361. The per capita income for the city was $17,715. About 25.2% of families and 28.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.6% of those under age 18 and 13.4% of those aged 65 or over.
Education level of those aged 25 and over: 6.1% less than ninth grade; 11% grade 9-12 with no diploma; 32.1% high school graduates; 24.7% some college, no degree; 9.6% Associate’s degree; 12.3% Bachelor’s degree; and 4.3% graduate level or higher. Overall, the percentage of high school graduates is 83%. Approximately 7% of the population are veterans.