U.S. Census Bureau estimates say the majority of municipalities in the Chicago region, including the city itself, lost population last year.
The yearly estimates released this week show that Chicago remains the nation’s third-largest city with just over 2.7 million residents, down an estimated 7,073 from 2017 to 2018.
African American residents, in particular, have left the region at higher rates in recent years. More than 14,000 African Americans left Cook County between 2016 and 2017.
A recent University of Chicago study found that over a third of young adults, especially African Americans, want to leave the city. Racism, fractured police-community relations, neighborhood disinvestment and lack of job opportunities were cited as the causes in the study.
If you zoom out, however, the situation isn’t as gloomy as today’s headlines suggest. Between 2000 and 2010, Chicago lost 200,418 residents. Since 2010, the city has gained 10,396 residents. That increase is really small, of course, but it could be far, far worse considering the past.
* Meanwhile, in 2000, the city was 36.8 percent African-American. After losing over 170,000 black residents in the following ten years, that percent dropped to 32.9 percent. It’s now 30.5 percent. The redistricting process is going to be excruciating because black legislators won’t want to give up any seats.
In 2000, the city was 31.3 percent white. Now, it’s 32.7 percent white.
Chicago was 26 percent Latinx in 2000 and that demographic is now 29 percent of the total population.
Though Chicago remains the third-largest city in the United States, behind New York and Los Angeles, fourth-place Houston continued to close the gap, moving to within 380,492 residents of Chicago. After losing an estimated 7,073 people from 2017 to 2018, Chicago stands at just over 2.7 million residents, according to the new census data. Houston, the biggest city in Texas, gained 8,057 last year and now has more than 2.3 million.
The growth in Houston reflects national trends, as cities in the South and West — including Phoenix, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Texas, Seattle and Charlotte, N.C. — continue to gain population at a rapid clip. Chicago will be overtaken by Houston eventually, demographers say, given the rates of change for both cities — but not in the next couple of years.
There’s no doubt that people are flooding into Houston. But that city also annexed 83 populated square miles between the beginning of this century and 2012. I’m not sure how much it’s annexed since.
* Chicago is two cities when it comes to capital flows: Affluent white neighborhoods draw nine times as much investment capital as poor black areas, especially for housing, the Urban Institute concludes in a report right in the new mayor’s wheelhouse.
* Chinatown’s Getting A Massive New Neighbor. What Happens Next?: For decades, a giant swath of vacant land has separated the Loop from Chinatown. Now, the city has approved plans for a massive new high-end neighborhood there; it’s development on a scale Chicagoans have never seen. Called “The 78,” it’s slated to include 10,000 new housing units as well as commercial and office space and a river promenade. Sixty-story buildings will be allowed to sprout just two blocks north of Chinatown.