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Abstract

Chicago’s black population has dropped by a third from its 1950 peak, and continues to drop even as other racial groups grow. Because of Chicago’s severe racial segregation, this population loss is geographically disproportionate. How has population change citywide in the 2010s caused demographic trends in declining and growing parts of the city to diverge? I use Census data to analyze trends in age, income, homeownership, employment, and housing vacancy in predominantly black versus nonblack tracts. I find that the black child population is decreasing, while the senior population is growing citywide. Losses from black neighborhoods skew toward homeowners and higher-income households, while nonblack neighborhoods are seeing a boom in young adult white-collar renter households. Finally, while vacant housing units are highly concentrated in black neighborhoods, some heavily vacant areas are seeing new growth. I recommend the city pursue homeownership retention initiatives and undertake an evaluation of local parenting needs.

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