Study: Foreclosure Main Factor in Chicago's 'Black Flight'

More than violent crime or employment rates, foreclosure has largely driven the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Black residents from the city.

1 minute read

March 17, 2022, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Chicago Suburb

Burlingham / Shutterstock

In "the first econometric analysis of the variety of factors that might be pushing Black residents out of the Windy City," researchers "found that foreclosures were the best predictor of Black population loss in Chicago" between 2010 and 2018.

"The authors and Loury are not arguing that violent crime, or other social ills, aren’t a factor in Black flight," writes Jake Blumgart, reporting on the study in Governing. But other factors have long-term effects that can take years to lead to displacement. "A family can live amid gun violence for years, but the effect of foreclosure is immediate." Simply put, writes Blumgart, "You can’t stay in the neighborhood if you don’t have a home."

Journalist Alden Loury "points out that two of the communities that have seen the steepest decline in Black population, Englewood and West Englewood on Chicago’s South Side, were also at the heart of the city’s foreclosure crisis."

"The authors suggest interventions like reducing penalties for overdue residential property taxes and policies like Philadelphia’s Longtime Owner Occupants Program, which cap taxable value on a home for long-term homeowners under 150 percent of area median income." They also suggest robust public awareness campaigns to make residents aware of these programs.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022 in Governing

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