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Chicago’s population plunge has stopped

Thursday, May 23, 2019

* Sun-Times

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.

* Tribune

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.

* Related…

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - PublicServant - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:24 pm:

    ===There’s no doubt that people are flooding into Houston.===

    No pun intended, right Rich?

  2. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:26 pm:

    None. /s

  3. - Ok - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:30 pm:

    Houston gaining 8,000 per year is actually not as rapid as I expected.

  4. - ArchPundit - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:32 pm:

    Dold treated the idea Chicago may not be the third biggest city as some great failure in a tweet. The real discussion should be what is a healthy population for the City of Chicago not how it compares to other cities. Houston is a very different geography and will have very different population growth. More is not necessarily better. Houston is also going to face more significant consequences from climate change.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:34 pm:

    ===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.===

    This is the most important takeaway to the phony influx that is the Houston population boom.


    Houston, as a media market, is still lagging behind Dallas-Ft.Worth-Plano-Frisco.

    The annexing has only taken the “same” jellybeans that once were the greater Houston area and plopped then into the Houston jar.

    Houston trails the DFW Metroplex by 200K, and Chicagoland by 800K


    You could add the Las Vegas media market to Houston… Chicago is still larger.

    My point, as always, is Chicago and Chicagoland needs to stop this exodus, but looking at *how* others are growing, and how Chicago is holding in the larger metro, we need to come to grips where Chicago and Chicagoland and Illinois is failing, not the simple look at numbers and graphs.

    I’m also of the bend that DFW Metroplex will continue to eclipse Houston.

  6. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:40 pm:


    It would be great if Illinois Democrats would actually look at what policies are driving economic growth and migration.

    Hint, it isn’t record tax hikes and constantly making it more difficult to do business because politicians are trying to keep unions and trial lawyers happy.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 12:55 pm:

    ===…it isn’t record tax hikes and constantly making it more difficult to do business because politicians are trying to keep unions and trial lawyers happy.===

    Ok… not tax hikes, not crushing businesses, then what’s with the beefs you and Rauner had for 5 years?

  8. - Ebenezer - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:45 pm:

    Best single thing Chicago could do for long term prospects is eliminating aldermanic privilege.

  9. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:53 pm:

    And most importantly, OW’s namesake village continues to grow, up 16% from the 2010 census at 35,237. Sa-lute!

  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 1:58 pm:

    - Six Degrees of Separation -

    We Oswegoans thank YOU for that shoutout.

    Our motto says it all, really…

    “Nothing happens in Illinois until Oswego has her say”

    We’re a modest lil hamlet.


  11. - Been There - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 2:28 pm:

    Kind of ironic that Chinatown is worried about being gentrified after Chinatown basically “gentrified” a lot of Bridgeport after all the Hong Kong money flowed over after England gave up control. Real estate prices probably doubled or tripled in some areas. If you own the property at least you benefit when it gentrifies. Those renting though lose out.

  12. - muon - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 2:30 pm:

    The relative placing of Chicago and Houston as cities is nice for bragging rights, but as some have noted it’s the metro area that matters. Chicagoland is the slowest growing of the 20 largest metros this decade with only 0.4% growth through July 2018. Both DFW and Houston metros will pass Chicagoland around or shortly after 2030 based on current trends.

  13. - 62656 - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 4:32 pm:

    I think there is a lot very flawed about calling Houston the country’s 4th biggest city. The Urbanized Area better reflects what is going on that the municipal lines & Houston is the country’s 7th largest Urban Area.

    Top 10 per 2010 Census:
    NYC 18,351,295
    LA 12,150,996
    Chicago 8,608,208
    Miami 5,502,379
    Philadelphia 5,441,567
    Dallas-Fort Worth 5,121,892
    Houston 4,944,332
    Washington 4,586,770
    Atlanta 4,515,419
    Boston 4,181,019

  14. - Jocko - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 4:33 pm:

    Chicago may have Jan./Feb….but Houston and DFW have June/July/August. During those months, I challenge anyone to stay outside for more than 10 minutes without a pool or AC. In addition to the hurricanes, make sure add about 2 to 3 feet of sea rise.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 4:39 pm:

    - 62656 -

    You have a link for that?


    I’m curious.

  16. - 62656 - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 4:42 pm:

    Oswego Willy here you go

  17. - Shytown - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 4:45 pm:

    This is a 20 year trend. Chicago lost more than 180,000 residents between 2000 and 2010 - mostly african americans. Til Chicago has better schools and safer neighborhoods on the south and west sides, this trend will continue.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 4:47 pm:

    -62656 -


    The United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has a different set of numbers.

    Nielsen’s rating and media markets also have different numbers as well.

    All good. Just was curious.


  19. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 8:14 pm:

    –Dold treated the idea Chicago may not be the third biggest city as some great failure in a tweet.–

    Dr. Freud called that “projection.”

    The tronc editorial blabbermouths, as opposed to the reporters, don’t have a clue as to what’s going on in the city.

    They think the city’s changing demographics are multi-millionaires moving to Hammond. Because multi-millionaires do that because of Madigan, taxes and freedom in Indiana.

  20. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, May 23, 19 @ 9:36 pm:

    ===They think the city’s changing demographics are multi-millionaires moving to Hammond.===
    Hmmm, Hammond projected over 6% population loss since 2010. Overall, Lake County IN projected 2.4% population loss over the same period. Yes, there are pockets of growth there, but nothing suggesting a mass exodus from the city and the suburbs just over the state line.

  21. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, May 24, 19 @ 7:32 am:

    62656. I agree that one has to compare metro areas not literal cities. I see the Chicago metro area has 9,533,885 per ACS of 2017. Of course that includes three states.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 24, 19 @ 8:21 am:

    ===Of course that includes three states.===

    … NYC has three states, Philadelphia also has 3 states…

  23. - 62656 - Friday, May 24, 19 @ 9:11 am:

    I chose to go with urban areas rather than metros because metros treat entire counties as in or out of the metros, whereas urban areas measures smaller areas for deciding whether they are in or out. For example, the Champaign Urbanized Area doesn’t include most of Champaign County’s land area, while Champaign metro includes all of Champaign County. Metro still has some value though because it factors in commuting patterns while urban area only factors in population density.

    PDF map of Chicago Urbanized Area:–in/DC10UA16264.pdf

    PDF map of Champaign Urbanized Area:

  24. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 24, 19 @ 9:17 am:

    ===I chose to go with urban areas rather than metros==

    And why I choose to go with media markets.

    Advertisers are willing to pay higher rates for ads in media markets with the most folks.

    Money is dictating the “size”

  25. - 62656 - Friday, May 24, 19 @ 9:44 am:

    ===Money is dictating the “size”===

    Fair point, especially for advertisers. My thoughts were developed by what seems to be most people’s perception of city & suburbs. For example, if you are in Broadlands most people don’t seem to think of it as part of metro Champaign, so I wanted something that better reflects the way most people think of the broader community when not dictated by the municipal lines.

    I’ve came to see a fairness in talking about Champaign, Broadlands, & Sibley (Champaign metro includes Ford County) as 3 different communities to a greater degree than talking about Chicago, Oswego, & Portage as 3 different communities.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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