Chicago is a city located in Cook County Illinois. Chicago has a 2023 population of 2,608,425. It is also the county seat of Cook County.Chicago is currently declining at a rate of -1.65% annually and its population has decreased by -4.86% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 2,741,730 in 2020.
The average household income in Chicago is $100,347 with a poverty rate of 17.09%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to - per month, and the median house value is -. The median age in Chicago is 35.1 years, 34.5 years for males, and 35.7 years for females.
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 population has been estimated to be approximately 2,679,080, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Chicago was:
Black or African American
Two or more races
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Average Family Size
Average Household Size
Rate of Home Ownership
Less Than 9th Grade
9th to 12th Grade
High School Graduate
High School Graduation Rate
The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 85.7%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among white people with a rate of 58.94%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
64.81% of Chicago residents speak only English, while 35.19% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 23.52% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in Chicago is Black, with 33.88% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in Chicago is White, with 9.66% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 2.54%. Among those working part-time, it was 20.22%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 31.07%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
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 45-54.
Second Gulf War
First Gulf War
World War II
Less Than 9th Grade
High School Graduate
Bachelors or Greater
Veteran Poverty Rate
Veteran Disability Rate
Labor Force Participation
Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.
Born in Chicago
81.17% of Chicago residents were born in the United States, with 60.52% having been born in Illinois. 10.74% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.