Carbondale and Murphysboro serve as the population centers in Jackson County. Smaller cities and villages include Ava, Campbell Hill, Desoto, Dowell, Elkville, Gorham, Grand Tower and Makanda.
The Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus serves as a residential center for students and an employment center for residents throughout the region. A major public research university, SIUC is a source of economic development opportunities through its Southern Illinois Research Park, Dunn Richmond Economic Development Center and Technology Transfer Program.
The Southern Illinois Airport ranks as one of the busiest airports in the State of Illinois. The airport is the location for the new $55 million SIUC Transportation Education Center and the $11 million Armory National Guard Readiness Center. Both projects are currently under construction. Additional land is available for development by transportation and non transportation related enterprises.