The 2nd Congressional District of Illinois includes parts of Cook and Will Counties, and has been represented by Democrat Jesse Jackson, Jr. since December 1995. This district includes south suburbs of Chicago, extending slightly into Will County, and also includes the city's far southeast side; it covers 184.64 square miles (478.22 km²), making it one of the 70 smallest districts in the U.S. and the seventh smallest in Illinois. It is adjacent to the 1st District to the north and west, the 11th District to the south, and Indiana's 1st District to the east; the district's northeast border follows Lake Michigan's shoreline for several miles. The district was created following the 1830 Census and came into being in 1833, five months before Chicago was organized as a town. The 2nd District initially included southeastern Illinois until 1853 and stretches of northern Illinois until 1873. It has included part of Chicago since 1873, and part of the southeast side since 1903. Redistricting following the 2000 Census placed a majority of the district's population outside Chicago for the first time in 100 years, and moved the district's borders beyond Cook County for the first time since 1873.
As in the neighboring 1st District, a majority of this district's residents (62.4%) are African American. The district has been reliably Democratic since the 1960s, having not elected a Republican to Congress since 1950; Democratic candidates regularly receive over 80% of the vote here.