Population growth and decline is occurring unevenly across the region

In spite of recent regional population declines, parts of the Chicago region are growing. This analysis applies recent regional findings on age, income, and race and ethnicity to the local level, using data from the U.S. Census Population and Housing Unit Estimates program, the 2010 census, and the American Community Survey. The analysis shows that while growth is occurring in parts of the CMAP region — largely in Chicago’s northern lakefront neighborhoods and some places in Kane, Kendall, and Will counties — elsewhere in the city and the region, some communities are struggling to retain residents and thrive economically. Population decline occurred largely in the city of Chicago’s South Side, though decline also occurred in some suburban communities.

A gentleman relaxes in a folding chair against a green door

Understanding these local trends within the regional context is crucial to effective regional and local planning. Our region and its communities must work to achieve resilience in the face of changing conditions so that we can anticipate and adapt to future challenges and opportunities. ON TO 2050, the region’s comprehensive plan, also emphasizes the importance of inclusive growth that offers all communities and residents opportunities to thrive. Specific plan recommendations include pursuing strategic and sustainable development, such as targeted infill development and reinvestment in disinvested areas, as well as encouraging responsive and strategic workforce development.