Chicago, Illinois Population 2020
This estimate is based on extrapolating the 2010 census data, which reported that the city was home to 2,695,598 people. The 2010 census showed a dramatic drop of almost 7% over the previous ten years, so if the Census Bureau's 2011 figures are correct, they would appear to show Chicago tentatively entering a new period of growth.
History of Chicago Population
Just around 200 settlers founded the town of Chicago in 1833, and almost immediately this small town on the US frontier became a boom town. Seven years later, the census came to town for the first time and recorded a healthy population of 4,000. Every ten years the census came, and almost every time it registered that the city's population had doubled or more. By the time the 1890 census rolled around, over a million people were living in Chicago, America's second largest city.
Population of the Chicago Metropolitan Area
The Chicago Metropolitan Area, as seen from space.
As the population of Chicago itself has gradually fallen, the population of its wider metro area has grown, representing both natural growth in those areas and a gradual move of the city's workforce into its suburbs. Like Chicago itself, the northern suburbs are relatively more affluent than its southern suburbs.
The city's white population is found primarily in the Northern part of the city, and its black community in the Southern part of the city (as can be seen from this map, in which red dots represent Whites, blue dots represent Blacks and orange dots represent Hispanics.) The geographical distribution of race in Chicago is mostly a result of Chicago's historically racist housing allocation policy, which forced its black population into the cheaper Chicago South Side.
Looking back into historical data also shows some interesting trends – non-Hispanic whites made up 59% of the residents of Chicago in 1970, falling to just 31.7% in 2010 – which indicates that many of the people leaving the city over the past few decades for the suburbs have been from among its relatively more affluent white population.
Chicago Census 2010 - further reading
The best source for official data about Chicago from the 2010 census is, of course, the official census website. The census.gov Chicago quick facts page contains not only high-level data on Chicago's population, but also more detailed statistics on the average income in Chicago, the city's age distribution, its businesses, and other important facts.
Finally, just as a word of caution to indicate that published statistics aren't always the final word, this article in the Chicago Tribune reports that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is challenging the results of the 2010 census. He believes that the census undercounted the city's population by around 200,000 people. Why is this so important to him? Because millions of dollars of federal subsidies, which are allocated based on relative population, are at stake.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Chicago was:
- White: 49.44%
- Black or African American: 30.12%
- Other race: 10.94%
- Asian: 6.44%
- Two or more races: 2.73%
- Native American: 0.30%
- Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.03%