Why Thousands Of Black Residents Leave Chicago Each Year In A Reverse Great Migration

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Written by Ann Brown
Chicago
Photo by whoislimos on Unsplash

Chicago was once where many Black Americans flocked. They went to the city to live, got involved in the government, and thrived there. Yet today, Chicago is seeing an exodus of Blacks from the city in sort of a reverse migration.

Ironically, this is happening as the city is about to have a Black woman as its mayor for the first time in history. Attorney Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will be in a runoff election on April 2.

“Chicago’s Black population is on track to shrink to 665,000 by 2030 — down from a peak of about 1.2 million, according to the Urban Institute,” WBUR reported.


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It’s a major decrease that doesn’t seem to be letting up.

“In Chicago, more than 14,000 black residents left Cook County between 2016 and 2017. Chicago has seen 61,000 resident leave annually, a population dwindle that has the Windy City on the brink of dropping from third- to fourth-largest U.S. city (Houston is expected to best Chicago’s population by 2025),” Vibe reported.

“Chicago has seen a decrease in its overall population since 1950, but the trend has been driven lately by African-Americans, who have seen their population decline by 33 percent in that time, according to Teresa Córdova, director of the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois Chicago,” WBUR reported.

While many may think Chicago’s notorious crime rate is driving people away, but one of the main factors is Chicago’s rising cost of living. In fact, Blacks are leaving not only Chicago but also cities like New York and Philadelphia and moving to Southern cities where the cost of living is cheaper.

Cities like Atlanta are benefiting. Within the next 20 years, it is expected that Atlanta will become the nation’s sixth largest city.