Chicago, Illinois Population 2019

The latest estimate for the population of Chicago, Illinois comes from the US Census Bureau. They confirmed that, in July 2011, there were 2,707,120 people living in the city of Chicago. The 2016 population has been estimated to be approximately 2,720,546, with slow growth and declines attributed to violence, tax increases and issues with schools.

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.

The 2016 estimated population of 2.7 million makes Chicago the third largest city in the United States, behind New York City (8.55 million) and Los Angeles (3.97 million). Chicago is by far the largest city in Illinois, with the next largest city, Aurora, being under 200,000 people.

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.

Growth, fueled by wave after wave of immigration; continued right up until 1950, where Chicago reached its highest ever population of 3,620,962.

Ever since then, Chicago has, like so many of America's grand cities, been in decline. Almost every census since 1960 has recorded a drop in population – sometimes as much as 10% in a decade – as the city's population gradually moves outwards to the more hospitable surrounding suburbs.

Population of the Chicago Metropolitan Area

Today, Chicago the city makes up only just over a quarter of the wider Chicago-Joliet-Naperville Metropolitan Area's population. According to data from the 2010 census, the CJN Metro Area is home to an impressive 9,504,753 people. In 2016, this number is estimated to be around 9,554,598. Like the city of Chicago, the CJN Metro Area is also the third largest in the US, behind New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island (20.18 million) and the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana (13.34 million) metro areas.

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.

Chicago Diversity

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.

You can also find some interesting data, including some useful Chicago population maps at the University of Chicago library website and a great news portal covering the 2010 census as it applied to the Windy City at the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

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.

Chicago Demographics

According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Chicago was:

  • White: 49.14%
  • Black or African American: 30.51%
  • Other race: 11.19%
  • Asian: 6.22%
  • Two or more races: 2.63%
  • Native American: 0.28%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.03%
Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
20182,705,994-7,073-0.26%
20172,713,067-5,879-0.22%
20162,718,946-7,269-0.27%
20152,726,215-2,309-0.08%
20142,728,5241,7520.06%
20132,726,7727,0370.26%
20122,719,73511,5260.43%
20112,708,20910,6800.40%
20102,697,529-198,487-0.71%
20002,896,016112,2900.40%
19902,783,726-221,346-0.76%
19803,005,072-364,285-1.14%
19703,369,357-181,047-0.52%
19603,550,404-70,558-0.20%
19503,620,962224,1540.64%
19403,396,80820,3700.06%
19303,376,438674,7332.25%
19202,701,705516,4222.14%
19102,185,283486,7082.55%
19001,698,575598,7254.44%
18901,099,850596,6658.13%
1880503,185204,2085.34%
1870298,977186,80510.30%
1860112,17282,20914.11%
185029,96325,49320.96%
18404,4700.00%
Year Total Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
20189,498,716-22,068-0.23%
20179,520,784-19,360-0.20%
20169,540,144-17,736-0.19%
20159,557,880-6,734-0.07%
20149,564,61411,3460.12%
20139,553,26823,4950.25%
20129,529,77328,7820.30%
20119,500,99130,1110.32%
20109,470,8800.00%

Population by Race

Race Population
White1,337,911
Black or African American830,626
Some Other Race304,527
Asian169,458
Two or More Races71,500
American Indian and Alaska Native7,723
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander841

Chicago Population Pyramid 2019

Chicago Median Age

34.1


Total

33.4


Male

34.8


Female

Chicago Adults

There are 2,136,070 adults, (317,502 of whom are seniors) in Chicago.

Chicago Age Dependency

49.7

Age Dependency Ratio

17.5

Old Age Dependency Ratio

32.3

Child Dependency Ratio

Chicago Sex Ratio

Female

1,400,965

51.46%

Male

1,321,621

48.54%

Chicago Households and Families

Chicago Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Chicago Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married65.8%34.2%
All44.6%55.4%
Male42.3%57.7%
Female35%65%
Non Family33.1%66.9%

44.6%

Rate of Home Ownership

Type Count Average Size Owned
All1,046,7892.5444.6
Non Family482,5791.3233.1
Married342,8443.4965.8
Female166,8463.7835
Male54,5203.6742.3

3.49

Average Family Size

2.54

Average Household Size

6.2%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.6%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Chicago Education

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade152,6108.23%
9th to 12th Grade147,7867.97%
High School Graduate424,79222.91%
Some College328,34017.71%
Associates Degree105,8125.71%
Bachelors Degree413,93722.33%
Graduate Degree280,64415.14%

Chicago Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White699,211663,683427,980
Black542,480456,125109,569
Hispanic463,358301,27969,233
Other Race176,233103,77018,832
Asian125,448110,14574,543
Multiple Races34,43230,61116,461
Native American5,5404,1711,378
Islander659554146

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 94.92%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among white people with a rate of 61.21%.

Name Average Male Female
Overall$39,917$42,105$36,132
Less Than High School$21,762$24,934$17,746
High School Grad$26,271$30,048$22,253
Some College$31,923$36,802$28,329
Bachelors Degree$55,641$62,344$50,968
Graduate Degree$72,262$83,944$64,629

$39,917

Average Earnings

$42,105

Average Male

$36,132

Average Female

Chicago Language

Chicago Language by Age

Chicago Language

63.96% of Chicago residents speak only English, while 36.04% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 24.42% of the population.

Chicago Poverty

Chicago Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
Black811,483259,62531.99%
Hispanic780,943168,18221.54%
White868,09584,2079.70%
Other302,01067,06022.20%
Asian164,87931,26718.96%
Multiple69,91813,50619.32%
Native7,6071,59620.98%
Islander79917021.28%

20.64%

Overall Poverty Rate

18.78%

Male Poverty Rate

22.38%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Chicago

The race most likely to be in poverty in Chicago is Black, with 31.99% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Chicago is White, with 9.70% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.44%. Among those working part-time, it was 22.75%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 34.11%.

Name Poverty
Less Than High School29.10%
High School21.80%
Some College16.59%
Bachelors or Greater6.91%
Name Poverty
Female Unemployed44.07%
Male Unemployed35.91%
Female Employed9.89%
Male Employed7.30%

Chicago Income

Chicago Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$52,497$81,061
Families$61,618$94,668
Married Families$87,357$123,807
Non Families$41,567$63,007

Chicago Marital Status

Chicago Marital Status

Marriage Rates

35.1%

Overall Marriage Rate

37.1%

Male Marriage Rate

33.2%

Female Marriage Rate

Chicago Married by Age and Sex

Chicago Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 35-44.

Chicago Marital Status by Race

Chicago Veterans

75,405

Number of Veterans

69,323

Male Veterans

6,082

Female Veterans

War Veterans
Vietnam25,258
First Gulf War11,640
Second Gulf War10,341
Korea7,301
World War II4,207
Age Group Veterans
65 to 7419,876
75+18,379
35 to 5417,331
55 to 6413,102
18 to 346,717

Chicago Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
White36,3743.32%
Black33,0325.23%
Hispanic8,0931.46%
Other2,4941.18%
2 or More1,8484.24%
Asian1,2610.87%
Indian3114.83%
Hawaiian8512.20%

Chicago Veterans by Education

11.75%

Veteran Poverty Rate

29.47%

Veteran Disability Rate

Chicago Employment Status

66.4%

Labor Force Participation

59.8%

Employment Rate

9.9%

Unemployment Rate

Chicago Place of Birth

Origin of Non Citizens

Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.

Origin of Naturalized Citizens

59.38%

Born in Illinois

79.29%

Native Born

20.71%

Foreign Born

11.64%

Non Citizen

Place of Birth

79.29% of Chicago residents were born in the United States, with 59.38% having been born in Illinois. 11.64% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.