Northeastern Illinois sees slow population growth, increased diversity in 2020 census

New analysis shows region grew just 1.7% over the decade, despite large increases in Asian and Hispanic populations

For the first time, white residents make up less than half of northeastern Illinois’ population, according to a new analysis of 2020 census data by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).

The Asian population grew 29.1% between 2010 and 2020, and the Hispanic population increased 13.7%. But northeastern Illinois continued to lose Black and white residents. As a result, the share of non-Hispanic white residents in the region fell to 48.5%.

Overall, the population of the seven-county CMAP region increased by just 1.7%. This is an improvement over previous estimates, which had predicted a population decline. Kendall County saw the highest growth rate at 14.9%, followed by Will County at 2.8%.

Teenagers hang out with their bicycles in the Damen Arts Plaza on the 606 Trail.

“While we are encouraged to see population growth in our region, the slow rate continues to be concerning,” said Erin Aleman, CMAP executive director. “To reverse this trend, we must work together as one region to increase economic opportunity, reduce inequities and support a thriving northeastern Illinois.”

Metropolitan Chicago’s population growth rate trailed similar metropolitan areas across the country, including Boston (8.5%), New York (6.6%) and Philadelphia (4.7%).

For more analysis of the 2020 census, including interactive maps, please view “2020 census reveals slow population growth, increased diversity in northeastern Illinois.”