Latino surge boosts city count – 2001 in Review – Chicago

Latino surge boosts city count – 2001 in Review – Chicago – Brief Article

Stephanie Williams

Not since Richard J. Daley was ward committeeman in Bridgeport 50 years ago had the city experienced a population spurt.

But Chicago grew during the 1990s, to 2,896,016 in 2000. When results started to be released in March, the marquee story of Census 2000 was the surge in Chicago’s Latino community, including in Bridgeport, and that offset news of thinning white and black populations.

The decennial snapshot showed a 14 percent drop in the city’s white population and a 2 percent decrease in its black residents, but a 38 percent increase among Latinos.

A new America was emerging, blared national headlines, and it was neither black nor white. Nationally, Latinos were gaining parity with African Americans. Local civil rights leaders described a new context for their work.

The city’s black community should be more committed to achieving social and economic equality as they move down the political food chain, said Chicago Urban League President and Chief Executive Officer James W. Compton.

More than a quarter of the city’s residents identify as Latino, census data showed. And, although the city lost some of its non-Hispanic black residents, at 36 percent of the population, they outnumbered non-Hispanic whites for the first time.

By late summer, local Latino leaders were eager to convert their bounty into political clout. But roughly one-third of Chicago’s Latinos, the Reporter found, are ineligible to vote because they are under 18, and some 300,000 are undocumented immigrants.

Despite posting an 8.6 percent increase in its total population, the state lost Congressional representation for the third census in a row. Illinois will have 19 seats in Congress starting in 2002.

That’s also when the state plans to implement its new congressional and state legislative district maps-both arduous tasks in Illinois, as remap efforts turn into political battles. The Supreme Court settled the boundaries during the last remap war.

At year’s end eight lawsuits remained in court files. So it’s politics as usual for the state as it charters new boundaries.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Community Renewal Society

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group