New workers don’t always equal new residents - Metropolitan Planning Council

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New workers don’t always equal new residents

Flickr user Frank Kehren (CC)

Chicago lost almost 3,000 people last year, according to U.S. Census estimates, and the region lost more than 6,000.

Last week’s release of 2015 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau became the latest reminder of Chicago’s sluggish growth. The 2015 estimate actually showed a slight decline in the city’s population, the first dip since 2010.

But there are other signs of growth to consider. In addition to residents, jobs are also an indicator of growth. And Chicago has done a much better job of growing jobs the past few years.

Between 2010 and 2014, the number of jobs in Chicago grew by more than 6 percent, according to Census data released earlier this year. By comparison, last week’s Census estimates showed that the city’s population has only grown by about 1 percent since 2010.

Among the nation’s 10 largest cities, Chicago is dead last in population growth since 2010. It has fared better in terms of job growth.

Still, cities with similar rates of job growth since 2010—like Philadelphia, Phoenix and San Diego—have witnessed far higher rates of population growth.

In upcoming posts, we’ll continue to explore the recent population estimates and job growth figures to determine where the job growth has resulted in population growth, where job growth lines up well with access to transit and to identify deepening levels of segregation and uneven population growth within the region.


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For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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