Chicago’s Black Population Could Drop by Half by 2030

1.2 million African Americans lived in Chicago in the 1980s. Now Cook County loses tens of thousands of African Americans every year.
January 1, 2019, 1pm PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Chicago is losing its African American population. "Once one of the biggest urban enclaves of African-Americans, peaking at 1.2 million in the 80s, Chicago’s black population is projected to drop to 665,000 by 2030, according to the Urban Institute," Josh McGhee writes for the Chicago Reporter.

The reasons for this change are complicated, but many point to disinvestment from black communities and removal of city resources out of black neighborhoods. "The population peaked as Mayor Harold Washington entered office and began its decline with the destruction of public housing projects," McGhee argues.

Housing is only one part of the equation, Chicago’s black population is aging and many point to school closures as a reason for the city losing black families and young people. In 2013, Rahm Emanuel’s administration enacted the largest school closure program the United States had ever seen. There have been many reasons given for the closing of schools in black communities. Initially, the rationale was that closures would save money. As that proved untrue, some were told that it was because of under-enrollment or failure to meet standards. "While the school closures left gaping holes in the South and West sides, there were outliers like Dyett High School where a tradition of community organizing helped make Chicago an enclave of black population and political power," McGhee writes.

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Published on Thursday, December 20, 2018 in Chicago Reporter
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