Monday, June 17, 2024

Cost of Living (and Yes, Crime) Creates Black Exodus from Chicago

Homes in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois
Homes in Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by: Jumping Rocks/UIG via Getty Images)

*As the cost of living rises in major cities like Chicago, more and more Black people are opting to leave the Windy City in what’s being described as “a reverse migration”

This great exodus is happening as the city is set to have a Black woman as mayor for the first time in history. Attorney Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will be in a runoff election on April 2.

As reported by, the decrease of Black folks in the city doesn’t seem to be letting up.

“Chicago’s Black population is on track to shrink to 665,000 by 2030 — down from a peak of about 1.2 million, according to the Urban Institute,” WBUR reported.

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2018 Lollapalooza - Day 2
CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 03: A view of the Chicago skyline looking north during Lollapalooza 2018 at Grant Park on August 3, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Erika Goldring/FilmMagic)

“In Chicago, more than 14,000 black residents left Cook County between 2016 and 2017. Chicago has seen 61,000 resident leave annually, a population dwindle that has the Windy City on the brink of dropping from third- to fourth-largest U.S. city (Houston is expected to best Chicago’s population by 2025),” Vibe reported.

“Chicago has seen a decrease in its overall population since 1950, but the trend has been driven lately by African-Americans, who have seen their population decline by 33 percent in that time, according to Teresa Córdova, director of the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois Chicago,” WBUR reported.

Some might argue that Chicago’s crime rate is driving people away, but many natives would agree that the main factor is cost of living. Black Chicagoans are simply opting to move to areas that are cheaper, such as Southern cities like Atlanta, which is expected to become the nation’s sixth largest city within 20 years.


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