Chicago has not had a republican mayor since 1923. And yet Rahm Emanuel blames this population loss news on the republican governor who has been in office for two years. My gut tells me it is much more than that.
From ABC News: CHICAGO (WLS) — New Census figures show Chicago has lost population for the third consecutive year as other major U.S. cities gained population.
Population estimates released Thursday find that Chicago lost 8,638 residents between 2015 and 2016. However, the city remains the nation’s third-largest city with 2.7 million residents. Chicago trails behind New York with 8.5 million residents and Los Angeles, which has 4 million residents.
Not only did Chicago shrink, so did the state. Illinois’ population fell by more than any other state last year. A variety of factors are sending people packing. But, experts say jobs may be the biggest one. Many are headed south. Ten of the 15 fastest growing large cities are southern.
Al Gooden grew up in Evanston, but now lives on the South Side where his wife is from. He’s sick of hearing gunshots at night, and said he has convinced his wife that it’s time to move. Atlanta, Georgia is their destination. “A lot of things going on in Illinois, budget crime, education, everything affecting this, a lot of people are fed up with Illinois,” he said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the state of Illinois has lost population at the same rate as Chicago. And last year, the Windy City was the only city among the nation’s 20 largest to lose population. While crime, the state budget mess and weather maybe factors, Teresa Cordova with UIC’S Great Cities Institute said a shrinking Chicago is the result of one driving factor. “It really comes down to economic opportunity, if jobs aren’t there, it’s difficult to stay, people need to make a living,” Cordova said.
With a flight of industry in Chicago’s neighborhoods, economic opportunities have become scarce, especially on the South Side. The black population continues to decline leaving homes for sale and empty lots. “It doesn’t surprise me, but we also know it is not evenly spread across the city, there are some places in Chicago that have actually gained population,” Cordova said.
The Loop and some North Side neighborhoods have gained, but not enough to offset the losses. Cordova said for Chicago to reverse its current trend of losing residents, it must figure out a way to rebuild neighborhood like the one Gooden wants to leave.
If there is any silver lining in the population loss, Chicago remains the nation’s third largest city. U.S. census numbers show that urban growth nationwide declined in 2016.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel (first elected in 2011) and Governor Bruce Rauner (elected in January 2015) reacted to Illinois’ decline by blaming each other.