Population in Chicago dips again – But is that the whole story?


As many media outlets have shared over the last few weeks that for the second consecutive year the Chicago area leads the United States in population loss with over 19,000 residents choosing to live elsewhere. In fact, among the top 20 cities with the largest populations, Chicago was the lone city with a population deduction. Taken at face value these figures would indicate that the city isn’t thriving, but a deeper dive into the information suggests quite the opposite.


While it is true that Chicago’s overall population figure has dipped, the population density has increased. Population density, measured by the number of people within a defined unit of area. For these particular studies the neighborhoods in Chicago that were used include: Wicker Park, West Town, Lake View, Lincoln Park, Old Town, and River North amongst others. Chicago’s population density has increased by 1.2% – a figure that is the second highest of all major U.S. cities with only Seattle seeing a higher percentage. While Houston (the closest city to Chicago in terms of overall population) has seen immense overall growth, with 59,483 new residents over the past two years, the city has also seen the population density decrease at a -3.8% rate; the fourth largest decrease in the U.S.



Another reason that Chicago has seen a sizable boost in population density is that fact that many major corporations have moved into the city. Major corporations such as McDonald’s, Agricultural Manufacturing giant Caterpillar, Dyson Electronics, spirit manufacturer Beam, and First Midwest Bank are just a few of the corporations that have announced moving their headquarters to the city of Chicago. These moves are responsible for 1,000’s of high paying jobs and residents that will be investing into the city’s real estate market.


Yes, the overall population in Chicago is dipping but overall the downtown and surrounding areas are growing at a rate only matched by one other city in the United States. So while the dip is something to monitor in the long term, it’s just that. There is no reason for Real Estate owners to panic.