The vanishing city: Black Chicago.


The top number is population growth and decline in different parts of Chicago from 2010-2015. The bottom number is population growth and decline from 2000 to 2010. American Community Survey.

Since 2000 Chicago has lost 200,000 in population from the predominantly African American sections of the city: The far south side (nearly 150,000), the south west side (nearly 16,000) and the west side (36,000).

At the same time the Loop and near west side, near north side and near south side have gained nearly 100,000 residents.

Trust me. The folks living downtown didn’t move from Auburn Gresham (-7,000) or Roseland (-5,000).

Under Rahm Emanuel’s rule, the demographic trend of the disappearing African American Chicago continues at a dizzying pace.


The city is still losing people in Austin and other neighborhoods west of the United Center. And the total number of residents inland from the lakefront, or Far South Side, continues the free-fall that began in the last decade. Total population there has gone from 526,750 to 476,903, ACS figures show.

That’s a remarkable drop of nearly 10 percent—in just five years.

Among once-solidly middle-class, industrial African-American neighborhoods that are being hammered:

• Auburn Gresham, off 7,159 residents to an estimated 45,842.
• Englewood, down 6,911 people, to 26,121.
• West Englewood, down 6,552, to 32,156.
• Roseland, which lost 5,141 residents and is down to 42,305.
• Chatham, which has 31,359 residents after losing 3,664.

The city’s overall population has stabilized. But Black Chicago is vanishing.

Donald Trump campaigned on a guarantee of the return of industrial jobs. Chicago proves the emptiness of that Make-America-Great-Again promise. What we have is the permanent loss of Chicago’s industrial base, the subsequent loss of good paying union jobs and the departure of African American workers who held those jobs.

If anyone expected Rahm Emanuel to offer an alternative to the empty promises of Donald Trump, the past five years should be evidence enough that he has nothing.

One Reply to “The vanishing city: Black Chicago.”

  1. Statewide heck regionwide its a similar pattern not African American but the concentration of wealth effect. We spent a summer day tripping the Midwest and except for the well to do parts of Chicago and the twin cities it looked like everything else was heading to ghost town.

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