Community areas in Chicago

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A list of the 77 Chicago community areas by number; the names are provided in the "List of community areas" section below. The areas are generally numbered from north to south, although the last two are in the north due to historical contingencies.
A map of the community areas by number; see the names of the areas associated with each number below.

Chicago is divided into 77 community areas for statistical and planning purposes. Census data and other statistics are tied to the areas, which serve as the basis for a variety of urban planning initiatives on both the local and regional levels. The areas' boundaries do not generally change, allowing comparisons of statistics across time. The areas are distinct from but related to the more numerous neighborhoods of Chicago; an area often corresponds to a neighborhood or encompasses several neighborhoods, but the areas do not always correspond to popular conceptions of the neighborhoods due to a number of factors including historical evolution and choices made by the creators of the areas. As of 2017, Lake View is the most populous of the areas with over 100,000 residents, while Burnside is the least populous with just over 2,000. Other geographical divisions of Chicago exist, such as the "sides" created by the branches of the Chicago River, the wards of the Chicago City Council, and the parishes of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Social Science Research Committee at the University of Chicago defined the community areas in the 1920s based on neighborhoods or groups of related neighborhoods within the city. In this effort it was led by sociologists Robert E. Park and Ernest Burgess, who believed that physical contingencies created areas that would inevitably form a common identity. Except for the addition of two areas (O'Hare from land annexed by the city in 1956 and Edgewater's separation from Uptown in 1980) and expansions due to minor annexations, the areas' boundaries have never been revised to reflect change but instead have been kept stable. The areas have become a part of the culture of Chicago, contributing to its perception as a "city of neighborhoods" and breaking it down into smaller chunks for easier statistical analysis and navigation. Nevertheless, Park's and Burgess's ideas on the inevitability of physically-related areas forming a common bond have been questioned, and the unchanging nature of the areas has at times been considered problematic with major subsequent changes in the urban landscape such as the construction of expressways.

HistoryEdit

During the 19th century wards were used by the Census Bureau for data at the level below cities.[1] This was problematic as wards were political subdivisions and thus changed after each census, limiting their utility for comparisons over time.[1] Census tracts were first used in Chicago in the 1910 Census.[1] However, by the 1920s the Social Science Research Committee at the University of Chicago wanted divisions that were more natural and manageable than the arbitrarily-designated and numerous census tracts.[1][2] The sociologist Robert E. Park led this charge, considering physical barriers such as railroads and the Chicago River to form distinctive and consistent areas within the city,[1] which he deemed "natural" areas that would eventually merge into a distinctive identity.[1][2] Ernest Burgess, a colleague of Park's who shared his thinking, was crucial in creating and naming the community areas.[2] Initially able to identify 400 neighborhoods of the city, he considered that number excessive and trimmed it down to 80 and thereafter 75 by grouping related neighborhoods into a single community area.[2] The Chicago Department of Public Health wished to present local differences in birth and death rates; it worked with the committee to produce the list of 75 community areas, which were divided into 935 census tracts.[1]

After the community areas were introduced, the University of Chicago Press published data sorted by them from the 1920 and 1930 Censuses,[1] as well as a citywide 1934 census to help collect data related to the Great Depression,[2] in what was known as the Local Community Fact Book.[1] With the exception of 1970 (whose data was published in 1980[2]), it continued this publication for every subsequent census through 1990, expanding in the 1960s to also cover major suburbs of Chicago.[2][3] The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning continues this work by periodically publishing "Community Snapshots" of the community areas and suburbs, the most recent being data from 2017 published in June 2019.[4]

Only two major changes have occurred in the boundaries of the community areas.[1] O'Hare was created from land that was annexed by Chicago in 1956 to control O'Hare International Airport.[a][5] Edgewater was separated from Uptown in 1980 as residents considered being joined to it a detriment to obtaining aid for local improvements.[6] In addition to these two there have been minor changes due to further annexations and additions to the Lake Michigan shoreline.[1][7]

Use and receptionEdit

The areas are used for statistical and planning purposes by such professions as assessors, charities, and reporters.[2] Shortly after their development they were used for all kinds of statistics, including movie theater distribution and juvenile delinquency.[2] Although developed by the University of Chicago, they have been used by other universities in the Chicago area, as well as by the city and regional planners.[2] They have contributed to Chicago's reputation as the "city of neighborhoods", and are argued to break up an intimidating city into more manageable pieces.[2] Chicago was an early adopter of such a system, and as of 1997 most cities in the United States still lacked analogous divisions.[2]

The areas do not necessarily correspond to popular imagination of the neighborhoods.[1] For example, the Pilsen and Back of the Yards neighborhoods are much better known than their respective community areas Lower West Side and New City.[1] In the case of New City this was a deliberate choice; Burgess opted for the less common "New City" to name the area as "Back of the Yards" carried a stigma after the publication of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, which made the area notorious for its poor living conditions.[2] Some of these discrepancies are due to names that were common at the time of the adoption of community areas but have since been supplanted by others.[2] The static nature of area boundaries is one of their benefits, but is also problematic at times such as when expressways were built in the mid-20th century and divided neighborhoods without the area boundaries being able to adapt.[1] The concept of a "natural area" that underpinned Park's and Burgess's thinking has also been challenged.[1]

List of community areasEdit

Chicago community areas by number, population, and area
Number[8] Name[8] 2017 population[9] Area (sq mi.)[10] Area (km2) 2017 population
density (/sq mi.)
2017 population
density (/km2)
01 Rogers Park 55,062 1.84 4.77 29,925.00 11,554.11
02 West Ridge 76,215 3.53 9.14 21,590.65 8,336.20
03 Uptown 57,973 2.32 6.01 24,988.36 9,648.06
04 Lincoln Square 41,715 2.56 6.63 16,294.92 6,291.50
05 North Center 35,789 2.05 5.31 17,458.05 6,740.59
06 Lake View 100,470 3.12 8.08 32,201.92 12,433.23
07 Lincoln Park 67,710 3.16 8.18 21,427.22 8,273.10
08 Near North Side 88,893 2.74 7.10 32,442.70 12,526.20
09 Edison Park 11,605 1.13 2.93 4,235.40 1,635.30
10 Norwood Park 37,089 4.37 11.32 8,487.19 3,276.92
11 Jefferson Park 26,808 2.33 6.03 11,505.58 4,442.33
12 Forest Glen 19,019 3.20 8.29 5,943.44 2,294.78
13 North Park 18,842 2.52 6.53 7,476.98 2,886.88
14 Albany Park 51,992 1.92 4.97 27,079.17 10,455.33
15 Portage Park 64,307 3.95 10.23 16,280.25 6,285.84
16 Irving Park 54,606 3.21 8.31 17,011.21 6,568.06
17 Dunning 43,689 3.72 9.63 11,744.35 4,534.52
18 Montclare 13,830 0.99 2.56 13,969.70 5,393.73
19 Belmont Cragin 79,910 3.91 10.13 20,437.34 7,890.90
20 Hermosa 24,144 1.17 3.03 20,635.90 7,967.57
21 Avondale 37,368 1.98 5.13 18,872.73 7,286.80
22 Logan Square 73,046 3.59 9.30 20,347.08 7,856.05
23 Humboldt Park 56,427 3.60 9.32 15,674.17 6,051.83
24 West Town 84,502 4.58 11.86 18,450.22 7,123.67
25 Austin 95,260 7.15 18.52 13,323.08 5,144.07
26 West Garfield Park 17,163 1.28 3.32 13,408.59 5,177.09
27 East Garfield Park 19,996 1.93 5.00 10,360.62 4,000.26
28 Near West Side 62,872 5.69 14.74 11,049.56 4,266.26
29 North Lawndale 35,947 3.21 8.31 11,198.44 4,323.74
30 South Lawndale 74,851 4.59 11.89 16,307.41 6,296.33
31 Lower West Side 32,888 2.93 7.59 11,224.57 4,333.83
32 (The) Loop[11] 35,880 1.65 4.27 21,745.45 8,395.97
33 Near South Side 23,620 1.78 4.61 13,269.66 5,123.44
34 Armour Square 13,455 1.00 2.59 13,455.00 5,195.00
35 Douglas 20,781 1.65 4.27 12,594.55 4,862.78
36 Oakland 6,645 0.58 1.50 11,456.90 4,423.53
37 Fuller Park 2,439 0.71 1.84 3,435.21 1,326.34
38 Grand Boulevard 22,313 1.74 4.51 12,823.56 4,951.20
39 Kenwood 17,189 1.04 2.69 16,527.88 6,381.45
40 Washington Park 11,502 1.52 3.94 7,567.11 2,921.68
41 Hyde Park 26,827 1.61 4.17 16,662.73 6,433.52
42 Woodlawn 23,268 2.07 5.36 11,240.58 4,340.01
43 South Shore 50,418 2.93 7.59 17,207.51 6,643.86
44 Chatham 31,120 2.95 7.64 10,549.15 4,073.05
45 Avalon Park 9,985 1.25 3.24 7,988.00 3,084.18
46 South Chicago 28,263 3.34 8.65 8,461.98 3,267.19
47 Burnside 2,254 0.61 1.58 3,695.08 1,426.68
48 Calumet Heights 13,188 1.75 4.53 7,536.00 2,909.67
49 Roseland 42,433 4.82 12.48 8,803.53 3,399.06
50 Pullman 6,613 2.12 5.49 3,119.34 1,204.38
51 South Deering 14,614 10.90 28.23 1,340.73 517.66
52 East Side 23,737 2.98 7.72 7,965.44 3,075.47
53 West Pullman 27,742 3.56 9.22 7,792.70 3,008.78
54 Riverdale 7,394 3.53 9.14 2,094.62 808.74
55 Hegewisch 9,418 5.24 13.57 1,797.33 693.95
56 Garfield Ridge 36,396 4.23 10.96 8,604.26 3,322.12
57 Archer Heights 13,142 2.01 5.21 6,538.31 2,524.46
58 Brighton Park 44,813 2.72 7.04 16,475.37 6,361.18
59 McKinley Park 15,767 1.41 3.65 11,182.27 4,317.50
60 Bridgeport 33,637 2.09 5.41 16,094.26 6,214.03
61 New City 39,561 4.83 12.51 8,190.68 3,162.44
62 West Elsdon 19,237 1.17 3.03 16,441.88 6,348.25
63 Gage Park 40,873 2.20 5.70 18,578.64 7,173.25
64 Clearing 25,891 2.55 6.60 10,153.33 3,920.22
65 West Lawn 33,108 2.95 7.64 11,223.05 4,333.24
66 Chicago Lawn 53,098 3.53 9.14 15,041.93 5,807.72
67 West Englewood 29,929 3.15 8.16 9,501.27 3,668.46
68 Englewood 25,075 3.07 7.95 8,167.75 3,153.59
69 Greater Grand Crossing 31,766 3.55 9.19 8,948.17 3,454.91
70 Ashburn 43,792 4.86 12.59 9,010.70 3,479.05
71 Auburn Gresham 46,278 3.77 9.76 12,275.33 4,739.53
72 Beverly 20,822 3.18 8.24 6,547.80 2,528.12
73 Washington Heights 27,453 2.86 7.41 9,598.95 3,706.18
74 Mount Greenwood 19,277 2.71 7.02 7,113.28 2,746.45
75 Morgan Park 22,394 3.30 8.55 6,786.06 2,620.11
76 O'Hare 12,377 13.34 34.55 927.81 358.23
77 Edgewater 55,965 1.74 4.51 32,163.79 12,418.51
Total Chicago 2,722,586 227.34[12] 588.81 11,975.83 4,623.89

Other geographic divisions of ChicagoEdit

 
On the flag of Chicago, three of the stripes reflect the traditional "sides" of the city.

Chicago is traditionally divided into the three "sides" of the North Side, West Side, and South Side by the Chicago River. These three sides are represented by stripes on the flag of Chicago.[13] The city is also divided into 50 wards for the purpose of electing one alderman each to the Chicago City Council. These wards have at times generated identities similar to neighborhoods. Unlike community areas, wards are adjusted decennially to account for population shifts.[14] Another method of neighborhood nomenclature in heavily Catholic neighborhoods of Chicago has been to refer to communities in terms of parishes.[2] For example, one might say, "I live in St. Gertrude's, but he is from Saint Ita's."[2]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Since community areas postdate the large annexations of the late 19th century, this is the only major annexation-related community area change.[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Seligman, Amanda (2004). "Community Areas". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Archived from the original on June 30, 2019. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Reardon, Patrick T. (March 9, 1997). "Biggest and Best". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  3. ^ "Chicago Government Information: Communities". Northwestern University. Archived from the original on January 17, 2018. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  4. ^ "Community Snapshots". Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  5. ^ Seligman, Amanda (2004). "O'Hare". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Archived from the original on September 8, 2019. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  6. ^ Seligman, Amanda (2004). "Edgewater". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Archived from the original on November 23, 2019. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  7. ^ Cain, Louis P. (2004). "Annexation". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Boundaries – Community Areas (current)". City of Chicago. Archived from the original on July 12, 2019. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  9. ^ "Combined Community Data Snapshots". Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. pp. 3s. Archived from the original on December 22, 2017. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  10. ^ "Combined Community Data Snapshots" (pdf). Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. pp. 9s. Archived from the original on December 22, 2017. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  11. ^ "Combined Community Data Snapshots" (pdf). Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. p. 917. Archived from the original on December 22, 2017. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  12. ^ "2016 Gazzetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  13. ^ Thale, Christopher (2004). "Flags and Symbols". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Archived from the original on September 5, 2019. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  14. ^ Knox, Douglas (2004). "Ward System". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Archived from the original on February 23, 2015. Retrieved May 9, 2020.

External linksEdit