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Chicago suburbs are a big population loser in recent years, census estimates show

Robert McCoppin, Jake Sheridan and Kori Rumore, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Political News

Though the city of Chicago has lost residents in recent years, the suburbs in Cook County have lost more, while suburbs far from the city are booming, new U.S. census estimates show.

Chicago lost about 82,000 people, or 3% of its population, from April 2020 to July 2023, giving the city a total of 2,664,452 residents, according to the census. But the city’s rate of population decline has sharply slowed, falling to just 0.3% — or 8,208 people — last year.

Cook County as a whole from 2020-2023 lost 188,000 people, or 3.6%, leaving the current population at slightly more than 5 million residents. Most of the departures occurred outside the city.

Western suburbs like Cicero, Berwyn and Riverside lost about 5%, while south and southwest suburbs, including Summit, Oak Lawn, Dolton, Calumet City, Hazel Crest, Markham, Country Club Hills, Alsip and Palos Heights, lost 4.5% or more.

Meanwhile, far southwest suburbs including Yorkville, Plainfield and Oswego showed the most growth, with Yorkville growing by more than 3,000, or nearly 15%.

Statewide, Illinois lost an estimated 263,780 in the same three years, or 2%, to 12,549,689.

 

The losses reflect larger demographic changes in recent times, including a shift in population from the Midwest to the South and West; Black migration from the Chicago area; and a lack of in-migration, demographics analyst Rob Paral said.

While the 2020 census counted responses from household surveys, the annual estimates between the 10-year counts are based in part on counting births, deaths, and moves in and out, using the number of tax returns and Medicare filings.

The numbers do not reflect the recent influx of 41,000 migrants bused and flown to Chicago since August 2022. Census methodology does not account for migrant arrivals. Immigrants are typically hard to count because they may be transient, may not speak English and may want to stay under the radar, researchers said.

Oak Lawn Mayor Terry Vorderer, for one, didn’t buy the new estimates, noting that his town has added new townhomes while not losing housing stock.

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