Chicago Beats the ‘Burbs

More people stay in city according to census figures

Chicago is in. Suburbs are out.

In fact, the city of Chicago added 20,606 people from July 2007 to July 2008, according to the latest Census figures.

And they'll all be at the Taste of Chicago this weekend! 

Or, to put it another way for the politically minded, we added almost half a ward.

It was the second consecutive year the city's population increased.

The figures "challeng[e] the trend of declining population as the economy causes many urban residents to put off moves to suburbia," according to the Tribune.

"Part of the explanation for Chicago's population increase are changes in domestic migration patterns. The number of residents leaving Cook County slowed by nearly 11 percent from 2006 to 2007, while those entering the county fell by only 0.4 percent."

Chicago is just one of several large cities seeing growth due to stagnant migration.

"Reversing a decade-long trend, many of America's largest cities are now growing more quickly than the rest of the nation, yet another sign of an economic crisis that is making it harder for people to move," AP reports.

"The downturn has accomplished what a generation of designers and planners could not," writes Michael Cannell, on "It has turned back the tide of suburban sprawl." 

The Wall Street Journal has a similar analysis:

"U.S. cities that for years lost residents to the suburbs are holding onto their populations with a mix of people trapped in homes they can't sell and those who prefer urban digs over more distant McMansions," the paper says.

"In Chicago, Matthew Sessa and his wife sold their townhouse and decided against buying a four-bedroom house in the suburbs. They bought a three-bedroom in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood instead, with a yard not much bigger than their garage."

"What we ended up getting in the city was just as nice, and the neighborhood that we moved into also has a very good elementary and junior high," Sessa told the paper.

"But Chicago is also becoming home to people who can't sell their houses or find jobs elsewhere," the WSJ says.

Meanwhile, the Sun-Times reports that "Nine of the 10 largest cities in Illinois grew, with only Cicero losing residents."

Also of note: New Orleans is the fastest growing city in America.

And at 2.85 million, Chicago remains the country's third largest city.

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