Carbondale, "The Capital of Southern Illinois", is a city in Southern Illinois. It is located 96 miles (154 km) miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri, on the northern edge of the Shawnee National Forest. It is known as a liberal community in largely conservative Southern Illinois. Carbondale is the home of the main campus of Southern Illinois University. It is also one of the largest retail trade centers south of St. Louis. The city and the university have developed a dynamic economy and diverse population that totals over 45,000. As of a special 2008 census, the city had a total population of 26,231. In addition, the city is a part of the Carbondale-Marion-Herrin, Illinois Combined Statistical Area with 123,272 residents. The city is also part of the Metro Lakeland area. In 1971, Carbondale won the All American City achievement award, and was a finalist in the 2009 contest.
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