View Single Post
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 9:24 PM
Steely Dan's Avatar
Steely Dan Steely Dan is online now
devout Pizzatarian
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Lincoln Square, Chicago
Posts: 22,247
Chicago is losing its black middle class. Can it get it back?

Another interesting article from the Sun-times' "City at a Crossroads" series:

Chicago is losing its black middle class. Can it get it back?

Conditions for black Chicagoans have become worse vs. the country overall and also compared to the rest of black America. Yet there are signs of a population turnaround.

Pete Saunders, an African American urban planner with a master’s from the University of Illinois at Chicago, has mixed feelings about leaving the city.

“The prevailing attitude among black people in Chicago is that, to move up, you’ve got to move away,” he says.

He and his wife, Gwen, left the South Side community of Auburn-Gresham and now live in Naperville, where they enjoy suburban amenities ranging from excellent schools and safe streets to no requirement for city parking stickers.

Other black families they know have left the Chicago area altogether for places like Atlanta, New York or Washington, D.C.

“There’s a lack of opportunity in Chicago,” Saunders says. “The feeling is there’s no place for us.”


Since 2000, Chicago has lost 256,000 black people — more than any other city in the U.S. including Detroit. The city’s black population has fallen from a peak of 1.2 million in 1980 to fewer than 800,000 now and is predicted to drop to 665,000 by 2030.

Chicago has lost black households at most income levels below $100,000, with the largest numbers in the $50,000-to-$75,000 range. The number of black households making $100,000 or more have increased modestly but nowhere near quickly enough to offset the losses.

Those leaving are largely families with children, census numbers suggest. Black population losses in the city are almost entirely confined to two age ranges — 35 to 54 and 19 and under. The decline in the number of school-age children already has led to one round of school closings, mostly on the West Side and South Side. Another seems unavoidable.


Whatever the reason, conditions for black Chicagoans have become conspicuously worse, not just in comparison to the United States overall but also to the rest of black America.

Nationwide, black unemployment is at a record low of 5.5%. In Chicago for 2017, the latest year available, it was 19%.

In the entire country, black households make 63% of what white households do. In Chicago, it’s just 43%.


What’s more, the number of black college grads in the city is rising faster than in the suburbs, reflecting what’s happening with the metro area’s college grads generally.

It’s premature to say black college graduates are flocking back to the city. Some neighborhoods are still losing black college grads, not adding them.

Still, some parts of town are seeing gains — notably the south lakefront. Coupled with increases in college grads of other ethnicities, there’s reason to think this area is starting to revive and eventually will become affluent as far south as Woodlawn.

Gwen Saunders says the family might return once their son is out of school — provided she can avoid city driving, which she hates.

“I would definitely move back,” she says.

full article:
The world that we used to know, People tell me it don't turn no more
The places we used to go, Familiar faces that ain't smilin' like before
The time of our time has come and gone, I fear we been waiting too long
Reply With Quote