Mount Carmel is a city in and the county seat of Wabash County, Illinois, United States. At the time of the 2010 census, the population was 7,284, while the next largest town in Wabash County is Allendale, population 475. Located at the confluence of the Wabash, Patoka, and White Rivers, Mount Carmel borders both Gibson and Knox counties of Indiana. A small community known informally as East Mount Carmel sits near the mouth of the Patoka River on the opposite (Gibson County) side of the Wabash River from Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel is 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of the Forest of the Wabash, a National Natural Landmark within Beall Woods State Park and about a mile north-northeast of one of its main employers, the Gibson Generating Station. Mount Carmel is also the home of Wabash Valley College, part of the Community College System of Eastern Illinois.
Mount Carmel is located at 38°24′53″N 87°46′7″W / 38.41472°N 87.76861°W / 38.41472; -87.76861 (38.414859, -87.768596) on the Wabash River, which demarcates the Indiana border. According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 5.00 square miles (12.9 km), of which 4.86 square miles (12.6 km) (or 97.20%) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km) (or 2.80%) is water.
The city was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for its once multicolored bridge over the Wabash River, painted white and black on the Illinois and Indiana sides of the state line, respectively. The old twelve span Parker truss bridge, later repainted entirely green, formerly connected Princeton, Indiana to Mount Carmel via Indiana State Road 64 and Illinois Route 15. Illinois Route 1 and Illinois Route 15 meet just a few blocks from the bridge. One rail bridge runs parallel to the IN-64/IL-15 bridge, and another sits just a few miles south, near the southern most edge of the city. The plans to build a new bridge become reality in 2008. After three years of construction the new much wider span opens in January 2011. The new bridge is a milestone as Indiana continues its quest to expand Indiana 64 to a four-lane highway as part of their Major Moves Project.
As of February 20, 2011 the new concrete and steel beam bridge is fully carrying traffic. The old bridge has been removed, with the river spans being imploded.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,982 people, 3,302 households, and 2,146 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,728.7 people per square mile (667.1/km²). There were 3,653 housing units at an average density of 791.2 per square mile (305.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 97.69% White, 0.48% African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.86% of the population.
There were 3,302 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.2% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.0% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there are 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 88.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,715, and the median income for a family was $39,882. Males had a median income of $30,815 versus $17,129 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,391. Median house value is $51,200. About 10.2% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.