Chicago and the 2010 Census

Interesting information regarding the 2010 Census and Chicago.

Link to a Chicago Tribute article here:

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-02-15/news/ct-met-2010-census-20110215_1_collar-counties-census-data-dennis-sandquist

So while the city lost 200,000 the collar conties continued to grow. Of that 200,000 it seems the majority were blacks whilst whites and asians stayed about the same.

Thoughts? Overall I think the Chicagoland MSA is looking relatively healthy.

Somebody needs to ask the Master what’s up with the big loss in Chicago population in the past decade, evidently due mainly to a massive drop in the African-American population, which fell to 887,608 from 1,065,009. The Wall St. Journal quotes some expert as saying: "“The black decline is really powering the city loss,” Mr. Frey said, calling it “part of the great reverse migration to the South.” Great reverse migration to the South? Since when? This cries out for the Straight Dope treatment. Come on, sic us on this.

First thing I’d ask is if the surrounding suburbs have experienced a comparable rise in their black populations. If they have that might answer the question. If they haven’t then the problem is where did they go?

I think it’s primarily the emptying out of households in black neighborhoods. The number of housing units has not dropped dramatically, but the number living in each one has declined. Meanwhile, the Hispanic influx of the 1990s now goes as much to older suburbs as it does to the city, and the immigration itself slowed as the economy slowed at the end of the decade.

Why can’t it just be that Chicago is suffering what happened in Detroit, et al, albeit a bit delayed?

Or it could just be a result of the cholera/typhoid epidemic the last few years. :smiley:

So Detroit has had a significant increase in it’s suburban population a la Chicago? Sorry but to compare Detroit to Chicago in these terms is ignorance personified.

Maybe to the southern suburbs.

As a planner, I’ve worked with community officials who are amazed to discover that even as there is a housing boom, the population of their town or city may be stable or even declining. Outside of Rust Belt cities with emerging urban prairies, most of the time, it’s attributable to smaller family and household sizes. Many suburban communities I’ve worked with are also surprised to learn just how few households are conventional families – married couples with one or more children.

When I bought my house in suburban Cleveland, I replaced a family of four. A single woman bought a foreclosure that previously held a household of three. The huge Italian family next door was down from five children at home to two. A single mom and her daughter across the street from me replaced another family of four.

Could be due to the loss of jobs in the City. God bless Mayor Daley for all the trees and parks and festivals, but if he has a flaw, it is that he just didn’t grow the business base. People need to work, and if the employers flee town, so do the employees.

Or it could just be a good old undercount. That was a big issue in 1980 and 1990. I’m surprised nobody has raised the issue this time around, whether there’s a legitimate concern or not.

Or maybe an accurate count with the prior census being and overcount.

When I was working census in NW Indiana we found entire blocks that were supposed to have streets, buildings, people, etc. that had never been built. Not torn down - just never built because I’ve never heard of creeks and three foot thick trees being transplanted to cover buildings torn down within a prior 10 years, have you? So a prior census might have records quite a few people who just didn’t exist.

I mean - this is Chicago, right? Vote early vote often? Count early count often? Maybe all those extra voters weren’t just in the graveyards.

Another WSJ article from last month on the the reverse of the Great Migration, or Noitargim Taerg as I call it: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704055204576068412135002514.html

OK, but if you look at the table accompanying that story, you’ll see they were projecting a loss of only 13,500 black people for Chicago as of 2009. It turned out to be 177,400. Meanwhile, the census bureau in 2009 was projecting a small increase in city population; see:

http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GCTTable?-ds_name=PEP_2009_EST&-mt_name=PEP_2009_EST_GCTT1R_ST9S&-geo_id=04000US17&-format=ST-9&-tree_id=809&-context=gct

Admittedly this was just an estimate, but to have the numbers wrong not only quantitatively but directionally is a surprise.

You know, I lived in the Detroit area when it was going down the toilet, and the real sign of the Great Decline was when EVERYBODY, including the black people, started leaving the city in droves. That’s why I said look at the suburbs for increases, 'cause in Detroit that’s what happened, everyone moved to the 'burbs (unless they moved entirely away). Cities don’t collapse overnight, at least not from economic forces, but really, a decline like that does not bode well for Chicago.

Which is not to say that is what is happening. And there could be a combination of factors here - people moving to other areas of the country, to the suburbs, miscounts (either high or low)…

Chicago and Detroit are two different things. It’s not everybody bailing, it’s mostly black people, who accounted for close to 90% of the decrease. One-sixth of Chicago’s black population went away. That’s startling and hard to explain, but it doesn’t betoken general decline of the sort you see in St. Louis, Cleveland, etc. The total decline for the non-black population was under 25,000 - less than 1%.

How much of the black population loss though was related to the destruction of the various projects? I always wondered what they did with the residents. Also the MSA as a whole increased which is something that simply didn’t happen with Detroit (which had white flight and then just flight).

I don’t know, and we won’t be able to get a clear idea until the census tract data comes out (this is the fine-grain detail), but it’s one of the first things I wondered about. Virtually all the high-rises have come down - in the tens of thousands of units. How many people lived in these buildings was never easy to establish and was probably subject to some guesswork and possibly overcount. Now that they’re gone, enumeration is simpler - on many blocks it’s zero. That’s the hypothesis I’d start with, rather than a great migration back to the south or some other damn thing.

I agree with you. Frankly 200,000 people in ten years isn’t that much and is offset by the increase in the suburban and ex-subrban growth. Calling Chicago the next Detroit is just lazy and inaccurate.

I know of many poor black families that have left Chicago for the suburbs. This comes as no surprise to me. In my own area, Logan Square, I’ve seen it go from bad to good to bad again. I see block after block of empty homes in my area that were all filled up in 2000.

As for a job search, I see many jobs I could do if I could get to the suburbs. When I worked in a computer store in central Chicago, I found it unbelieveable the number of Spanish speakers who I couldn’t communicate with.

And Spanish speakers are the only growth in Chicago. I find the results to be consistant in what is going on in Chicago around me.

People are leaving for the suburbs or for the South. In addition where a house used to have a family of five or six, I now see them has having two or three people in it.

Unlike the southern cities that have room to grow, Chicago is surrounded by suburbs that can take the gravy from Chicago and leave it with nothing much more.

Has anyone checked the snowdrifts? :smiley:

You might also want to investigate the migration to other states in the midwest, like Wisconsin. A lot of people in Madison would tell you that the black population here has grown drastically in the last 10 years, and most of them came from Chicago. Theories as to why range from escaping the crime-ridden housing projects to taking advantage of Wisconsin’s many social services, such as BadgerCare (Medicaid).