Tag Archives: Great Migration

Midwestern cities and population shifts

According to the U.S. Census, since 2000, St. Louis, Missouri experienced an eight percent population drop (a loss of 29,000 residents) as the southwestern part of the state grew. The decline in residents has implications for redistricting and as Mayor Francis Sly worries, it will also affect the amount of federal funds the city receives.

Chicago has also witnessed a significant change in population this past decade. The city lost 200,000 residents over the past 10 years, putting Chicago’s population at the level it was in 1920.

In addition there are demographic changes in Chicago’s neighborhoods. Non-white minorities have moved to historically white-ethnic neighborhoods, while gentrification has resulted a growing white population moving into largely Hispanic and black neighborhoods.

William Frey of the Brookings Institute observes that the large loss of Chicago’s black residents over the decade represents a “reversal of the Great Migration,” as people continue to leave northern and mid-western industrial states for greater economic opportunity in the Sun Belt states.

Sam Staley at Reason offers an analysis of Chicago’s population shift as part of a “global pattern of population decentralization.”