Click on the links below to see a group of maps that make up a portrait of the urban geography of the Chicago region in 2000.
The maps were generated with ArcView 3.2a, ArcView 3.3, or ArcGIS 9.1. The population data come from the U.S. Census Bureau. They include the "redistricting data" released in March 2001; the short form (1A) data released in the summer of 2001; and the long form (3A) data released in the summer of 2002. Most of the geography (boundary) files have their roots in the U.S. Geological Survey's Tiger/line files but in fact were downloaded from ESRI. The files with Illinois park boundaries and CTA and Metra lines are by the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (but see note). The Indiana park boundaries and the Chicago city limits files are by Christopher Siciliano, formerly of the Map Collection.
In all of these maps the heaviest solid black lines indicate the city limits of Chicago; the less pronounced black lines show county boundaries; and the light black lines are census tract boundaries. The blue (or, occasionally, gray) lines are freeways unless otherwise noted (see note). In the dot maps showing population change, the location of dots within tracts is random.
Tract-Level Maps Showing Conditions in 2000
Age of housing, 2000. Generally, the closer one is to the Loop, the older the housing, but there are numerous exceptions to this generalization. The desirable North Side Lakefront neighborhoods have been undergoing redevelopment since the 1920s; many poorer neighborhoods were subjected to "urban renewal" in the 1950s and 1960s; and the formerly non-residential areas around the Loop have all acquired new housing since the early 1980s. Also, the older central places in the suburbs--like Elgin, Joliet, and Aurora--all have much older housing than the newer suburbs around them, as do the corridors along major commuter rail lines.
Multi-unit and single-family dwellings, 2000. High-rise multi-unit apartment buildings are found mostly near the Lake, although there are some suburban outliers. Single-family housing is generally commoner the further one gets from the Loop. Most tracts in the City of Chicago contain a complicated mixture of single-family houses and small apartment buildings.
Per capita income, 1999. High per-capita income is found both in certain northern and western suburbs--and along the North Side Lakefront. Low per-capita income is found on the West and South Sides--and in certain pockets in the suburbs.
Public transit use, 2000. Use of public transit is strongly correlated with both housing density and proximity to passenger rail lines that have been long-established and that provide good service (see note) (these maps show rail lines rather than freeways).
"Racial" groups and Hispanics, 2000 (see note). Chicago and its suburbs remained quite segregated in 2000. Large parts of the South and West Sides were still essentially all-African-American, and Little Village and Chinatown remained almost entirely Hispanic and Asian respectively. But more tracts were ethnically mixed in 2000 than in 1990. And numerous white people lived in mixed neighborhoods; there were few tracts that were more than 90% white in Chicago and its inner suburbs. Furthermore, most Asians and many Hispanics lived in ethnically complicated neighborhoods.
Neighborhood types, 2000. Multivariate analysis (sometimes called social area analysis or factorial ecology in geography and sociology) is often used to classify small areas in cities. The ten neighborhood types identified on the maps were derived through a two-step process. First, the TRYSYS program (see note) was used to factor 34 important tract-level census variables by the Tryon "key-cluster analysis" method. Four oblique dimensions were identified. Second, each tract was scored on the four dimensions (using a simple sum of standardized scores), and tracts were cluster-analyzed using TRYSYS's iterative partitioning method. Robert B. Dean did the statistical analysis.
These maps are comparable to those generated for 1990. Essentially the same variables were used, and nearly the same geographic area was covered. The first three dimensions (or clusters) are very similar to the first three dimensions found in the 1990 data. The appearance of the fourth dimension could be interpreted as suggesting that the social geography of the Chicago area is changing.
Tract-Level Maps Showing Changes, 1990-2000
Population change, 1990-2000 (see note). The Chicago area grew modestly between 1990 and 2000, but there were tremendous differences in the nature of change in different parts of the region. The prosperous neighborhoods around the Loop and along most of the North Side Lakefront gained population as new buildings were built and formerly industrial areas were given over to housing. The increasingly Hispanic neighborhoods on the Northwest and Southwest Sides gained population as a result of continuing in-migration from Latin America. And many of the outer suburbs grew quickly as a result of continued replacement of farmland by new low- or medium-density housing. There were also population losses in some of the area. Many of the traditional African-American neighborhoods on the South and West Sides lost population as did (on a more modest scale) some of the older inner suburbs.
Ethnic change, 1990-2000 (see note). The major ethnic groups experienced geographically distinct changes in their distribution. Hispanic population increased substantially both in the traditionally Hispanic areas of the Southwest and Northwest Sides and in adjoining neighborhoods. Hispanics also moved on a large scale into adjacent Cicero, and into the old central places of Waukegan, Elgin, Aurora, and Joliet, as well as into many other suburbs. There was a decline in Hispanic population only in South Chicago and in some of the gentrifying neighborhoods of the North Side. White population increased substantially in many neighborhoods of the North and Near Northwest Sides, as well as around the Loop. It also increased in the outer suburbs. White population dropped substantially in the traditionally working-class Southwest and Northwest Sides of Chicago. African-American population fell in many (but not all) of the old black neighborhoods of the South and West Sides--and rose on their southern and western peripheries as well as in Rogers Park. Asian/Pacific population rose widely in the northwestern sector of the city and suburbs, as well as on the periphery of Chinatown, declining only in the Albany Park and Rogers Park areas as Hispanics and African-Americans moved in.
Income change, 1989-1999 (see note). The Chicago area, like the United States as a whole, became richer during the 1990s, but the distribution of new wealth was quite unequal. Large parts of the City of Chicago became considerably wealthier. A broad area on the Northwest and North Sides, from the Near West Side to Wicker Park and Uptown, gained more wealth than any other large populated area in the Chicago Region. Numerous mostly African-American neighborhoods on the South Side--e.g., Bronzeville, Oakland, and Woodlawn--also did well. In the suburbs, the pattern was quite complex. The newly urbanizing areas on the periphery of the built-up area did best. The Hispanic areas (in the City as well as in the suburbs) generally did least well. It is not clear whether this was the result of declining real wages, an increase in population larger than the increase in the number of jobs--or just better counting by the Census Bureau. The pattern of redistribution of income during the 1990s was quite different than it was during the 1980s, when the rich generally did well while the poor generally did badly. Many established wealthy areas in the 1990s (e.g., along the North Side Lakefront) barely held their own, while some (but not all) poor neighborhoods became relatively wealthier.
Change in transit use, 1990-2000 (see note). Use of public transit generally declined in the Chicago area during the 1990s in conjunction with the continued migration of jobs and people outward. The pattern of change, however, was enormously complex and quite difficult to interpret. Transit use did increase substantially from a very low base in parts of the outer suburbs, perhaps because some of the inhabitants of new housing found it advantageous to commute to the Loop by rail. New or better service on some rail lines may also have helped. However, transit use did not noticeably increase along the route of the new CTA Orange Line (even though this line has attracted a large number of passengers). Generally, use of public transit declined most in the outer city and in the inner suburbs.
Tract-Level Maps Showing Long-Term Changes, 1950-2000
Population change, 1950-2000 (see note). The 1950-1960 map shows for the most part the classic pattern of inner-city population decline and outer-city and suburban population gain. But each succeeding map shows a larger area of inner-city population growth, first close to the Loop and along the North Side Lakefront, then in many other areas as well. The reasons for this turn-around were different in different parts of the urban area. The increasing demand for close-in housing by relatively well-off people has led to the conversion of industrial land, disused railroad yards, and even office buildings to residential use, and the replacement of modest housing with high-rise apartment buildings. This process goes back at least to the 1960s, although it appears to have picked up speed in the 1990s. In the Hispanic neighborhoods on the Northwest and Southwest Sides, population gain seems to have been due in part to increased immigration since the 1980s. However, there are still many depressed inner-city neighborhoods losing population, and rapid growth continues on the urban fringe.
Income change, 1969-1999 (see note). Gentrification, first on the Near North Side, and eventually in virtually all the neighborhoods on the fringes of the Loop, has completely transformed central Chicago since the 1960s. By 1999 only a small, and declining, number of poor people lived near the heart of the city. Chicago has increasingly become a city like New York, San Francisco, and several of the larger cities cities of Western Europe in which the old Burgess concentric rings have been to at least a limited degree inverted.
Map Collection users are as always free to make their own customized maps using the same data sets. Maps printed on the Map Collection's printer will look much better than images on the Web.