Demographics of Chicago
During its first century as a city, Chicago grew at a rate that ranked among the fastest growing in the world. Within the span of forty years, the city's population grew from slightly under 30,000 to over 1 million by 1890. By the close of the 19th century, Chicago was the fifth largest city in the world, and the largest of the cities that did not exist at the dawn of the century. Within fifty years of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, the population had tripled to over 3 million.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,695,598 people and 1,194,337 households residing within the city limits of Chicago. More than half the population of the state of Illinois lives in the Chicago metropolitan area. The 2000 United States Census had shown the population density of the city itself was 12,750.3 people per square mile (4,923.0/km²), making it one of the nation's most densely populated cities. There were 1,152,868 housing units at an average density of 5,075.8 per square mile (1,959.8/km²). Of the 1,061,928 households in the 2000 census, 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.1% were married couples living together, 18.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.4% were non-families. The median income for a household in the city was $38,625 in 2000, and the median income for a family was $46,748. Males had a median income of $35,907 versus $30,536 for females. Below the poverty line were 19.6% of the population and 16.6% of the families.
The racial makeup of the city in 2010 was 32% black (including Hispanics), 45% white (31% non Hispanic white + 14% white Hispanics), 5% Asian (including Hispanics), and 3% from two or more races (including Hispanics). The ethnic makeup of the population is 28% Hispanic (of any race) and 72% belong to non Hispanic background(of any race). In 2000, 21.7% of the population was foreign born; of this, 56.3% came from Latin America, 23.1% from Europe, 18.0% from Asia and 2.6% from other parts of the world. The 2007 community survey for the U.S. Census showed little variation. Chicago has the fifth highest foreign-born population in the United States.
The main ethnic groups in Chicago include Irish, German, Italian, Mexican, Assyrian, Arab, Jews, English, Bosnian, Croatian, Bulgarian, Czech, Greek, Black, Korean, Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Lithuanian, Pakistani, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Swedish, Ukrainian, Dutch, Belgian, Cuban, and Puerto Rican. Chicago is also home to 30,000 natives of Iran (mostly Azerbaijani). Many of Chicago's politicians have come from the large Irish population, including its previous mayor, Richard M. Daley. The Chicago Metropolitan area is also becoming a major center for Indian Americans. Chicago has the second largest Indian American population in the country, after New York City.
While most of Chicago and its surrounding area are generally regarded as being somewhat racially segregated, Chicago's unique culture arises from it being a melting pot, with nearly even percentages of European Americans and African Americans as well as sizable populations of Hispanics and Asians. The White, Black and Hispanic communities extend radially outward from the center of the city, one result of which is the heavily gerrymandered 4th congressional district.
Chicago has a large Irish American population, with many residing on its South Side. The early years of Chicago coincided with the significant rise in Irish immigration in the 1830s. Some Irish already lived in Chicago when it was incorporated as a city in 1837. In the next few years Irish numbers grew rapidly particularly after the arrival of refugees from the Great Famine. By 1850 Irish immigrants accounted for about one-fifth of the city's population. Many of the city’s politicians have come from this population, including previous mayor Richard M. Daley. Historically, and to this day, there has been particularly substantial Irish American presence in Chicago's Fire and Police Departments. The Irish have been a fundamental part of the city for over 150 years. They laid the foundations for many of the city's Roman Catholic churches, schools and hospitals. To this day, the Irish are still very much active in the city's politics.
Germans have comprised a major portion of ethnic whites in Chicago since the beginning of the city's history. When the Great Plains opened up for settlement in the 1830s and 1840s, many German immigrants stopped in Chicago to earn additional money before moving West to claim a homestead. Those with skills in demand could — and often did — stay. From 1850, when Germans constituted one-sixth of Chicago's population, until the turn of the 20th century, people of German descent constituted the largest ethnic group in the city, followed by Irish, Poles, and Swedes. In 1900, 470,000 Chicagoans—one out of every four residents—had either been born in Germany or had a parent born there. Although their numbers had dropped because of reduced emigration from Germany and because World War I had made it unpopular to acknowledge one's German heritage, 22 percent of Chicago's population still did so in 1920. One of the most distinct of these German groups were the Volga Germans, or ethnic Germans having lived along the Volga River in Russia. They largely clustered in Jefferson Park on the city's Northwest Side, coming to the area mostly between the years 1907-1920. By 1930 450 families of Volga German heritage were living in the Jefferson Park area, most of whom originated from Wiesenseite.
Poles in Chicago constituted the largest ethnically Polish population outside of Warsaw before 1918 when Poland reemerged as an independent state, making it one of the most important Polonia centers today, a fact that the city celebrates every Labor Day weekend at the Taste of Polonia Festival in Jefferson Park. The Southwest Side is home to the largest concentration of Górals (Carpathian highlanders) outside of Europe; it is the location of the Polish Highlanders Alliance of North America. The city also has a large Assyrian population, numbering as many as 80,000 and is the location of the seat of the head of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV. Chicago also hosts the headquarters of the largest Lutheran body in the United States, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The city is the home to a large Romanian American community with more than 100,000.
The Chicago Metropolitan area is also becoming a major center for Indian Americans and South Asian Americans. Chicago has the third largest South Asian American population in the country, after New York City and San Francisco. The Devon Avenue corridor on Chicago's north side is an example of this, as it is one of the largest South Asian neighborhoods in North America. There are also around 185,000 Arabs in Chicago with the majority located in the suburban parts of Cook County around Chicago. There are about 75,000 more Arabs who live in the five counties around Cook County including Lake, Kendall, Will, and DuPage.  
Polish people in Chicago have been very prevalent from the city's early history and were influential in the economic and social development of Chicago. Today Poles in Chicago make up the largest ethnically Polish population of any city outside of Poland  making it one of the most important centers of Polonia, a fact that the city celebrates every Labor Day weekend at the Taste of Polonia Festival in Jefferson Park. The Southwest Side is home to the largest concentration of Gorals (Carpathian highlanders) outside of Europe. The southwest side is also the location of the Polish Highlanders Alliance of North America. Many Polish churches are found in Chicago, built in the Polish Cathedral style of architecture, and can be seen from the Kennedy Expressway, other roadways, public transportation routes, as well as in the neighborhood street.
Chicago has one of the largest concentrations of Italian Americans in the US, with more than 500,000 living in the metropolitan area. Chicago has the third largest Italian American population in the United States, behind only New York and Philadelphia. Chicago's Italian community has historically been based along the Taylor Street and Grand Avenue corridors on the West Side of the city. There are also significant Italian populations scattered throughout the city and surrounding suburbs.
Other prevalent European ethnic groups include the Czechoslovakians, and Ukrainians. At the turn of the 20th century, Chicago was the third-largest Czech city in the world, after Prague and Vienna. There are approximately 14,000 Ukrainians living within the Chicago city limits. There is a large African American population located mostly on Chicago’s South and West Sides. The Chicago metropolitan area has the third largest African American population, behind only New York City and Atlanta. Chicago has a small community of Swedish Americans. Swedish Americans make up 0.9% of Chicago's population, and they number at 23,990. After the Great Chicago Fire, many Swedish carpenters helped to rebuild the city, which led to the saying "the Swedes built Chicago." Swedish influence is evident in Andersonville on the far north side.
The city has a large population of Bulgarians, Lithuanians, Croats, Greeks and Serbians. Chicago has a sizeable Romanian American community, as well as a large Assyrian population. The city is the seat of the head of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV, the Evangelical Covenant Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America headquarters.
Chicago has the third-largest South Asian population in the United States, especially many Indians and Pakistanis. The Devon Avenue corridor on the far north side is one of the largest South Asian neighborhoods/markets in North America. As of the 2010 Census, Chicago has the third-largest Puerto Rican population in the continental United States, after New York City and Philadelphia, and the fourth largest Mexican population in the United States after Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Houston. There are about 185,000 Arabs in Cook County with another 75,000 in the five surrounding counties. Chicago is the center of the Palestinian and Jordanian immigrant communities in the United States.
American Community Survey
The city saw an increase of 20,606 people from July 1, 2007 to July 1, 2008, according to census data. This marked the second consecutive year of population increase, while still not yet returning to the official Census 2000 population level. As of the 2007 US Census American Community Survey the largest European ancestries were:
|2000 Census Data||Chicago||Illinois||US|
|Population, percent change, 1990 to 2000||+4.0%||+8.6%||+13.1%|
|Median household income (1999)||$38,625||$46,590||$41,994|
|Per capita income (1999)||$20,175||$23,104||$21,587|
|Bachelor's degree or higher||25.5%||26.1%||24.4%|
|Hispanic/Latino origin (of any race)||28.9%||12.3%||12.5%|
There are more 1,061,928 households, of which 28.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.1% were married couples living together, 18.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.4% were non-families. Of all households, 32.6% are made up of individuals and 8.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.50.
Of the city population, 26.2% were under the age of 18, 11.2% were from 18 to 24, 33.4% are from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $38,625, and the median income for a family was $42,724. Males had a median income of $35,907 versus $30,536 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,175. Below the poverty line were 19.6% of the population and 16.6% of the families. Of the total population, 28.1% of those under the age of 18 and 15.5% of those 75 and older were living below the poverty line.
Population estimates in 2008 put the number of people in the city proper at 2,853,114, while suburban populations continue to grow, with estimates at 9,785,747 for the combined city and suburbs.
- Top 10 Cities of the Year 1900
- "Chicago Growth 1850-1990: Maps by Dennis McClendon". University Illinois Chicago. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- Census 2000 Demographic Profile: Chicago
- March 1995 issue of the Newsletter of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia "German Russians in Chicagoland"
- America the diverse - Chicago's Polish neighborhoods (5/15/2005) USA Weekend Magazine.
- America the diverse - Chicago’s Polish neighborhoods (5/15/2005)USA Weekend Magazine.
- Contact Us. ELCA.org.
- About Us. Romanian Museum in Chicago at www.romanianmuseum.com.
- List of cities in Poland
- "Italians", Encyclopedia of Chicago.
- Czechs and Bohemians
- Chicago Stories - Swedes in Chicago (2006). WTTW.com. Accessed June 5, 2006.
- Cities Guide Chicago - A hard-knock life (2006). Economist.com.
- WTCC Weekly News at www.wtcc.org.
- About Us. Romanian Museum in Chicago at www.romanianmuseum.com.
- Alternative Guide to Chicago, Humboldt Park, Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of Chicago.
- name="About Us"/http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2003/thesixthsection/special_mexican.html Mexican Hometown Associations, Xochitl Bada, PBS.
- "Palestinians", Encyclopedia of Chicago.
- "Little Arabia on Chicago’s Northwest Side", Ray Hanania.
- Chicago Historical Society : Global Communities in Chicago Project
- The Italian Community of Chicago
- The German-American Community of Chicago
- The Jewish Community of Chicago
- The Polish Community of Chicago
- Puerto Rican Cultural Center
- Spanish Guide of Chicago
- Turkish-American Community of Chicago
- MCIC (Metro Chicago Information Center)
- Metro Chicago Facts Online