Data Points: Investment in Pullman is paying off - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Data Points: Investment in Pullman is paying off

Alden Loury

The colorful Method soap factory is just one of several developments in the past few years anchoring Pullman's revival.

There’s a pulse in Pullman.

While the tough times continue for this historic South Side community, a Metropolitan Planning Council analysis of the latest Census estimates for Pullman show signs of progress over the past decade.

The data shows that Pullman is faring better than some of its neighboring South Side communities and that the strongest signs of growth within Pullman are occurring in an area that has witnessed significant investment in recent years. MPC’s analysis shows that Pullman has seen growth in six-figure households and residents with college degrees while it has also seen a decline in unemployment and individuals living below the poverty line.

The findings affirm MPC’s decision to honor Pullman with its 2016 Burnham Award for Excellence in Planning. The award, presented at MPC’s annual luncheon earlier this month, recognizes the collective efforts and coordination of numerous stakeholders to drive the community’s revitalization, which includes new community and commercial development, planned infrastructure investments and the area’s designation as a national monument.

In December, the Census released figures for data collected through its American Community Survey from 2011 through 2015. The figures are the most recently available Census estimates for the census tracts that make up Chicago’s 77 community areas, including Pullman and the nearby communities of Riverdale, Roseland and West Pullman. Those communities are found on the city’s far south side generally nestled between I-57 and I-94.

MPC reviewed American Community Survey data for the communities from 2011 through 2015 and from 2006 through 2010 to measure changes in population, educational attainment, household income, employment and poverty. MPC also reviewed data for the three census tracts that make up Pullman.

Pullman: Unemployment and poverty are both down

While Pullman’s population declined by almost 16 percent between the two five-year periods (from 2006-2010 to 2011-2015), the community witnessed growth in households reporting annual earnings of at least $100,000 and individuals with a college degree. Between the two five-year periods, MPC’s analysis shows that the number of six-figure households grew by 58 percent in Pullman while the number of college graduates grew by nearly 10 percent.

Furthermore, while both unemployment and the number of individuals living in poverty increased in the other three communities, they declined in Pullman. Unemployment dipped in Pullman from 21 percent to 19.4 percent, and the number of people living in poverty in Pullman declined by nearly 16 percent, according to MPC’s analysis.

Pullman’s most dramatic increases in college graduates and six-figure households were witnessed in its census tract bordered by a stretch of I-94 to east (known as the Bishop Ford Freeway), 103rd Street to the north, Cottage Grove Avenue to the west, and 111th Street to the south. That tract lies right in the middle of a Pullman tract to the north and another to the south. That central Pullman tract includes residential areas along its western boundary. The southeastern corner of the tract includes the 180-acre Pullman Park, a $125 million mixed-use site that has created 800 new jobs. The site includes a 150,000 sq. ft. Walmart, a Method soap factory, and a new Whole Foods distribution center, currently under construction.

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