Chicago, Illinois Population 2018

The latest estimate for the population of Chicago 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 recorded that the city's population had doubled or more. By the time the 1890 census rolled around, there were over a million people 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-Joilet-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 Demographics

The racial composition of Chicago (based on the results of the 2010 census) is 45% White (31.7% non-Hispanic White), 32.9% Black, 5.5% Asian, 2.7% from two or more races, 0.5% American Indian. In addition, 13.4% are from another race. For comparison, the population of Illinois as a whole is 71.5% White and 14.5% black.

The city's white population is found primarily in the Northern part of the city, and its black population 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 largely 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.

Year Population Growth Annual Growth Rate
20172,716,450-3,825-0.14%
20162,720,275-4,879-0.18%
20152,725,154-1,379-0.05%
20142,726,5332,0510.08%
20132,724,4826,4930.24%
20122,717,98911,3190.42%
20112,706,6709,0090.33%
20102,697,661-198,355-0.71%
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%

Chicago Population in 2018Source: By Daniel Schwen [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Population by Race

Race Population
White1,321,324
Black or African American839,917
Some Other Race310,466
Asian165,229
Two or More Races68,357
American Indian and Alaska Native7,818
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander906

Race Data via US Census (2016 ACS 5-Year Survey)

Chicago Population Pyramid 2018

0%2%4%6%8%10% Male Population0%2%4%6%8%10% Female Population80757065605550454035302520151050

Data via US Census (2016 ACS 5-Year Survey): Table S0101

Chicago Median Age

33.9


Total

33.2


Male

34.5


Female

Chicago Adults

There are 2,119,647 adults, (303,970 of which are seniors) in Chicago.

Chicago Age Dependency

49.6

Age Dependency Ratio

16.8

Old Age Dependency Ratio

32.8

Child Dependency Ratio

Chicago Sex Ratio

Female

1,396,708

51.46%

Male

1,317,309

48.54%

Chicago Households and Families

Chicago Renter vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

Chicago Household Types

Type Owner Renter
Married65.4%34.6%
All44.1%55.9%
Male41.8%58.2%
Female34.3%65.7%
Non Family32.7%67.3%

44.1%

Rate of Home Ownership

Chicago Households by Type

Type Count Average Size Owned
All1,042,5792.5544.1
Non Family476,8711.3132.7
Married340,6153.4965.4
Female170,1103.7734.3
Male54,9833.6741.8

3.49

Average Family Size

2.55

Average Household Size

6.4%

Unmarried (Opposite Sex)

0.7%

Unmarried (Same Sex)

Chicago Households

Chicago Education

Chicago Educational Attainment by Sex (over 25)

Education Attained Count Percentage
Less Than 9th Grade158,7598.66%
9th to 12th Grade151,0118.24%
High School Graduate420,59322.95%
Some College328,07117.90%
Associates Degree104,2765.69%
Bachelors Degree399,36421.79%
Graduate Degree270,30214.75%

Chicago Educational Attainment by Race

Name Total High School Bachelors
White688,608651,602414,358
Black542,218452,328105,183
Hispanic457,701291,16865,881
Other Race178,139103,51818,180
Asian121,949106,66072,019
Multiple Races32,44428,54915,042
Native American5,3394,0171,198
Islander677579170

The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 94.63%.

The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among white people with a rate of 60.17%.

Chicago Earnings by Educational Attainment

Name Average Male Female
Overall$37,763$41,075$35,065
Less Than High School$21,023$23,867$16,991
High School Grad$25,632$28,881$21,952
Some College$31,545$36,434$27,699
Bachelors Degree$54,058$61,301$50,200
Graduate Degree$69,204$80,640$62,104

$37,763

Average Earnings

$41,075

Average Male

$35,065

Average Female

Chicago Language

Chicago Language by Age

Chicago Language

63.83% of Chicago residents speak only English, while 36.17% speak other languages. The largest non-English language is Spanish, which is spoken by 24.57% of the population.

Chicago Poverty

Chicago Poverty by Race

Name Total In Poverty Poverty Rate
Black821,093273,33233.29%
Hispanic781,866177,75422.73%
White855,82685,3199.97%
Other307,82972,45123.54%
Asian160,72832,46220.20%
Multiple66,90013,63620.38%
Native7,7221,68521.82%
Islander87223326.72%

21.67%

Overall Poverty Rate

19.83%

Male Poverty Rate

23.41%

Female Poverty Rate

Poverty in Chicago

The race most likely to be in poverty in Chicago is Black, with 33.29% below the poverty level.

The race least likely to be in poverty in Chicago is White, with 9.97% below the poverty level.

The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 3.66%. Among those working part-time, it was 23.77%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 35.34%.

Chicago Poverty Rate by Education

Name Poverty
Less Than High School30.38%
High School22.30%
Some College17.49%
Bachelors or Greater7.10%

Chicago Poverty Rate by Employment Status and Sex

Name Poverty
Female Unemployed45.39%
Male Unemployed36.57%
Female Employed10.33%
Male Employed7.85%

Chicago Income

Chicago Income by Household Type

Name Median Mean
Households$50,434$77,019
Families$58,388$89,555
Married Families$82,552$117,492
Non Families$40,095$60,163

Chicago Marital Status

Chicago Marital Status

Marriage Rates

35.0%

Overall Marriage Rate

37.1%

Male Marriage Rate

33.0%

Female Marriage Rate

Chicago Married by Age and Sex

Chicago Marriage

The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 35To44.

Chicago Marital Status by Race

Chicago Veterans

Chicago Veterans by War

78,919

Number of Veterans

72,948

Male Veterans

5,971

Female Veterans

Name Veterans
Vietnam26,099
First Gulf War11,918
Second Gulf War10,332
Korea8,079
World War II4,924

Chicago Veterans by Age

Name Veterans
65 to 7419,291
75+18,992
35 to 5418,426
55 to 6414,701
18 to 347,509

Chicago Veterans by Race

Name Veterans % of Total
White37,8513.50%
Black34,8455.49%
Hispanic8,1791.49%
Other2,6721.24%
2 or More1,8804.59%
Asian1,1960.85%
Indian3956.29%
Hawaiian8010.90%

Chicago Veterans by Education

12.15%

Veteran Poverty Rate

28.65%

Veteran Disability Rate

Chicago Employment Status

Chicago Employment by Age

66.4%

Labor Force Participation

59.1%

Employment Rate

10.9%

Unemployment Rate

Chicago Employment by Race

Chicago Employment by Education

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

59.10%

Born in Illinois

79.14%

Native Born

20.86%

Foreign Born

11.89%

Non Citizen

Place of Birth

79.14% of Chicago residents were born in the United States, with 59.10% having been born in Illinois. 11.89% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.