"Chicago" by Carl Sandburg

Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders

-excerpt from the poem "Chicago" by Carl Sandburg (1916)

Chicago Skyline

Chicago Skyline
The Chicago Skyline from a Near West Side highrise

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

2010 Census - Neighborhood Demographic Impact

Great information from the Chicago Tribune last week regarding the population of Chicago by community area.  As we already know, the City lost just over 200,000 residents from 2000 to 2010, almost a 7% drop.  However, it was interesting to see in which neighborhoods the City grew, and those in which population fell.

There are a lot of interesting things to take from this data:
  • If the racial population trends continue over the next 10 years in a similar fashion to how they have since 2000, the non-White Hispanic population will jump from 3rd to 1st in terms of sheer numbers.  While the Black population dropped over 11% (from just over a million to 887,600 in 2010) and the White population dropped nearly 6% (over 907,000 in 2000 to 854,700 today), the Hispanic population has increased over 3% (779,000 today from approximately 754,000 in 2000).
  • In 2000, there were three community areas with populations over 80% Hispanic: Lower West Side (88.9%), Hermosa (83.9%), and South Lawndale (83%).  Despite the increase in citywide Hispanic population, all three of these community areas saw a decrease in Hispanic residents.  Neighborhoods like Pilsen (Lower West Side) and Little Village (South Lawndale) seem to have lost Hispanic residents to neighboring community areas.  As the map shows, there were heavy increases in Hispanic population to the west and northwest of Hermosa, the east of the Lower West Side, and both north and south of South Lawndale.
  • In fact, the Lower West Side/Pilsen had an increase in black, white, and Asian populations.
  • Of the four demographic populaces shown above, Hispanics were the only ones not to have a decrease of over 50% of their population in any of the 77 community areas.
  • The population of non-Hispanic whites dropped noticeably around Midway Airport (located within Garfield Ridge and Clearing).  The only other two community areas that saw their white populations decrease by over one-half was Burnside and Riverdale, both also on the South Side...
  • ...and yet of the six community areas that saw their population more than double, five of the six were on the South Side (assuming you count the Near South Side community area as part of the South Side and not Central Chicago).
  • Hyde Park, where the University of Chicago is located, had a decrease in white population, while all the community areas surrounding it had an increase in white population.
  • Despite the black population having an overall double-digit decrease from 2000 to the present, only two community areas lost over half their black population: Norwood Park and Garfield Ridge.  Norwood Park was listed as only having 336 black residents in 2000, making up only 1% of that community area's population.
  • Even though Garfield Ridge lost over half its black population, the community areas bordering it all gained at least 50% in black population, notably Clearing and West Elsdon which both had an increase of over 100% in their black population.
  • The area with the greatest increase in black population was the City's northwest side  Even though Norwood Park lost over half its black population, all the community areas around it saw an increase in black population, especially Jefferson Park and Portage Park which had their black populations more than double.
  • The Asian population increased all over the map.  Of the 77 community areas in Chicago, 14 had Asian population increases of over 100%, more than any of the other three racial populations in the above figure.
  • Of the five community areas that had a decrease in Asian population of over 50%, only one of them (Chicago Lawn) actually had an Asian population in 2000 of more than 25 residents.  Chicago Lawn's Asian population in 2000 was 421.
  • Community Areas where all four racial groups gained in population (2): The Loop, O'Hare.
  • Community Areas where all four racial groups dropped in population (6): South Lawndale, Burnside, Calumet Heights, Pullman, West Pullman, Riverdale.
  • Community Area with the largest increase in population: The Loop (12,895 residents).
  • Community Area with the largest decrease in population: Austin (19,013 residents).
  • Community Area with the largest percentage increase in population: Near South Side (125% - from 9,500 residents in 2000 to 21,400 today).
  • Community Area with the largest percentage decrease in population: Riverdale (34% - 9,800 residents in 2000 to 6,500 today).
After Chicago grew in the 2000 Census for the first time since 1950, it was hard not to have high hopes that 2010 would bring stability, if not another increase.  Unfortunately, signs in the past few years had all pointed to a downward trend and the recent housing crisis could not have helped matters.  Still, Chicago has never been a city of stagnation, and the Census figures are just further proof that the Windy City is constantly changing and evolving.

Will the Hispanic population become the majority in 2020?  Will the South Loop housing boom extend to neighboring community areas such as Douglas and Armour Square?  Will Lakeview or the Near North Side displace Austin as the largest community area in Chicago?  It will certainly be interesting to see what the next ten years have in store.

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