Visualizing The Collapse Of Chicago's Middle Class

Tyler Durden's picture

As Daniel Kay Hertz explains, the goal of these maps is not merely to depress you (you’re welcome!), but to suggest just how dramatically the reality of Chicago’s “two cities” has changed over the last few generations, how non-eternal its present state is, and that a happier alternate reality isn’t just possible, but actually existed relatively recently.


Daniel Kay Hertz goes on to note, he feels relatively comfortable telling the story of how Chicago came to be so segregated by race; but is much humbler about his ability to explain this, except inasmuch as the ever-widening ghetto of the affluent could not exist without, yes, radically exclusionary housing laws.


One last piece: the obvious and immediate reaction to these maps is to see them as a direct consequence of rising income inequality. There is some truth to that, but the researchers from which much of this data came have already discovered that income segregation has actually risen faster than inequality. So that’s not the end of the story.

Anyway, here you go: the disappearance of Chicago’s middle-class and mixed-income neighborhoods since 1970, measured by each Census tract’s median family income as a percentage of the median family income for the Chicago metropolitan region as a whole.



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Ignatius's picture

Hey, I think I see Oprah's house.

AlaricBalth's picture

Chicago was such a great town. Once saw Jim McMahon in the mid 80's holding court outside a local pub in Lincoln Park. I used to love traveling there for business. It is a shame that the local pols have destroyed a once mighty city.

Jam Akin's picture

The areas on the near north and west of downtown that were quite literally Ft Apache country when I was a kid have really made a turn for the much better in the past decade plus.  Too bad too much of the rest has run downhill, accelerated by the dispersal of former public housing residents and other poor policy decisions.

GetZeeGold's picture




Screw this....I'm moving to Detroit, aka progressive of fairy pixiedust and real hope and change.

boogerbently's picture

The "rich" get blamed because there's less of them.

They are "voted" guilty by the free shit supermajority.

DFCtomm's picture

You couldn't have got that more wrong. The rich purchase the vote of the poor. The 1% buys the vote of the bottom 49% they then steal and plunder the middle. The bottom half get the scraps from the government. I'll put it to you this way. GE doesn't pay any income tax and neither does that welfare single mom.  Who paided for the last bail out? The rich who got the bailout, the poor who don't pay taxes, or the middle class?

Vice's picture

I'm currently living in Chicago and this map is by far an understatement. It's gotten so bad here that there's certain stops on the L that you just don't go past or you will get mugged, threatened at gunpoint or beaten. If you're a lady, the fate is even worse.

It's such a beautiful town too, but the moments you step outside of it = Haiti. 

Look up the towns of Ford City or Auburn Gresham 

infinity8's picture

FFOOOOOOOOOODD! and LOTS of music. Haven't been for @8 yrs I think. Got to go regularly for work for 12-15 yrs before that + some fun family-related non-work events. Still talk to several people - not what it used to be. Sad.

0b1knob's picture

Exactly the same combination of a one party Democrat political machine graft / welfare system that converted Detroit in a bankrupt sh!thole.       

TBT or not TBT's picture

Kinda like California, where dem supermajorities are a given and swaths of it are third wold with rich enclaves along the coast, a la Hunger Games.

Redneck Hippy's picture

The moral here is that lakefront property is a good investment.  Especially 50 years ago.

How is Chicago different from the rest of the country?

Ballin D's picture

the point is that the same thing is happening all over the US

Landrew's picture

When Reagan and Clinton made it profitable to move industry to Mexico, they moved our JOBS! Then when Mexicans asked for a living wage THEY moved to China with even more tax incentive. WE paid them to move our jobs to China! That is why all cities tied to manufacturing are dead.

Pool Shark's picture



Then, when the Mexican jobs moved to China, the Mexicans moved here...


Herd Redirection Committee's picture

And now China is outsourcing to Vietnam...

Landrew's picture

So few people know that! Well done!

boogerbently's picture

In San Diego, the property that used to be the stinky, marshy, cheap seats, is now Mission Bay.

dexter_morgan's picture

Unfortunately, he is probably unable to remember that these days. He's one messed up guy. Sad. The punky QB.

LasVegasDave's picture

Its not that complicated

The more nigs, the worse the area.

Numbers dont lie

Headbanger's picture

Just what this country needs.. 

More divisiveness you asshole!

And thanks for the down arrow you shit head!

How about the fact that it was black slaves who harvested the cotton, tobacco, sugar and other crops that helped make early America wealthy enough to expand and become a great nation!?

What about the black labor and troops who helped us win WW II?

Oh, I bet you just hate listening to any Mo Town, black jazz greats, Lionel Richie and hate looking at Beyonce'.   How can you NOT like James Brown!?

And go ahead and tell the next black doctor, nurse, cop, soldier, plumber, bar tender, cook, store owner what you really think of black people and see how that goes over!?

And what are you going to blame Asians for next!? 

Or Native Americans?

So fuck off!

sunnyside's picture

It may not be nice, but is what LasVegas said/linked  wrong?  That big elephant in the room of black culture isn't going away by pretending it isn't there or isn't a problem.  DeShaun gangbanging, or Laquita on her 6th episode of Maury trying to find her baby daddy in Chicago is just as real a problem to locals as HFT assholes frontrunning (rigging) the market.

Headbanger's picture

Are you kidding!?

What's wrong is that the same Nazi thinking can be (and was been) applied to any race or culture to demonize them.

How many WHITE immigrants to the US were illiterate, crude, uncultured when they got here??  Many still are!

Yes there's cultural differences amongst all peoples but that doesn't mean we have to use it against each other!

What ever happened to us trying to find the humor in our differences like in the movie "Blazing Saddles" that poked fun at ALL of us!?

This nation is in deep trouble now and we can't be blaming each other for it cause of our racial and cultural differences or we will collapse as a nation.

We need a re-make of "Blazing Saddles"

sunnyside's picture

No, I'm not kidding.

We can find humor in cultural differences, but not in a violent, anti-social, low education culture.  There is nothing funny to that, either for those who are in it or those who are subjected to it.  You brougth the word race in where I stayed with the word culture.  Big difference, because the melanin isn't causing the problem, the culture is.  Cultural differences are not bad or a problem, but the culture that permeates black America is.  To say otherwise is dishonest.

I have Asian neighbors who are very different, live differently but don't have these problems.  I have African immigrant neghbors who live differently but don't have the problems of black Americans.  Nobody gives a shit around here if they are yellow, white or black.  They give a shit if they are refusing to be educated, refusing to work, or out committing a disproportionate amount of crimes basesd upon demographics.  Again, denying that elepahnt in the room isn't going to help anyone.

Blazing Saddles is one of my favorite movies.  I wonder if it could get made today.  Two funny scenes are when Waco Kid is asked by Sheriff Bart what he likes to do.  Wilders answers.."Play Chess...and screw".  Bart replies "Let's play chess."  Or earlier when Sheriff Bart asks "Do you need any help?" , and Waco kids replys "Oh, .......all I can get."  Writing in this movie was great. Not a bad or "filler" scene anywhere. 

Thorny Xi's picture

"What the hell is wrong with your American black people?  Don't they understand how good they have it?"  Remark by a Ugandan engineering student at Makarere University made to me as we were watching a CNN newscast - such newscasts there being relatively new - in 1995.  "They were slaves?  There are still slaves here, in the north!"  A discussion of relativism followed, but he and the other locals who joined in refused to accept that explanation. 

Totentänzerlied's picture

Cultural differences may not be a problem, but the fact of cultural difference is.

To the extent any two groups differ, they will, on a long enough timeline, come to blows. The most violent societies in history have not been even remotely as diverse, by any measure, as nearly any existing country (as but one example, outside of certain of the Islamic caliphates for a period of not even 1000 years, religious tolerance as a meaningful concept was not even dreamed of).

Bankstein Swissgoldberg's picture


I m sure that in your country there are also people who "have the problems of black americans" but who aren't black. And it s a fact that the same people fill the jails all over the world, not just in USA. Uneducated, lazy, violent criminals.

There was only one black kid in my school, a private school with 150 children.

But the red hair guy in my class did not study, never had a job. A criminal, but still he a nice guy.

The black kid had glasses, he looked like a politician.

Jails are filled with poors, financially, intellectually, morally poors. There is a corelation between wealth and whiteness in western countries.

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

I believe this nation is collapsing as a union.  When you start to piss on the Constitutional rights that made the USA exceptional, you lose my willingness to help keep it together.  Legal discrimination through government contracts and the 'Just-Us' Dept (hate crimes anyone?) only hasten the fall of this corrupt regime.  

sunnyside's picture

I agree, and maybe that should tell us that the States are important, with a loose or limited federal/central gov't, because:



1) people/cultures are different (with different needs/wants) in this large of an area, and

2) local governance is better than central planning.

Freddie's picture

The only thing ever "exceptional" about the USA was the geography where there was water, fertile land and minerals.  The people in the USSA are a fetid group of scum who still love O and drool in front of their TV and Hollywood propaganda. 

I bet 80% of the posters here on ZH still watch TV and support Hollywood.  I bet the normal public is probably 99%.  Idiot serfs.

Totentänzerlied's picture

"How many WHITE immigrants to the US were illiterate, crude, uncultured when they got here??  Many still are!"

All you need to do is look at the demographics and economics of the places from which they emigrated, but in general, peasantry is peasantry, no matter the time or place. By the not unreasonable standards of others, Americans (being from the [erstwhile] wealthiest country on Earth) remain crude and uncultured, and illiterate in that very very few of them read anything other than entertainment "news" and similar pabulum.

FredFlintstone's picture

Where is this pinnacle of culture that you hail from?

Totentänzerlied's picture

I never said I held that view. I merely said it was not an obviously unreasonable view, given the unprecedented opportunities for cultural development that America and Americans has and have enjoyed (given its wealth, immigration, [classical] liberal and democratic tradition, lack of any formal legal caste or class system [unheard of anywhere else in the world] with the exception of black slavery, huge proportion of Protestants [who were more literate, educated, and industrious, historically, than Catholics], lack of a centralized monarchy or church of any sort, and enormous access to literature of all kinds [again unheard of]). You can be dismissive, but it is at your own peril and that of the whole country as well. No one has the luxury of ignoring the consequences of their culture's failures.

FredFlintstone's picture

You make some great observations, but you assumed I was being dismissive. I am here to learn, so do you mind answering my question?

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

The Negro's competitive advantage includes running fast, jumping high, and physical violence.  Any dataset of sufficient size will also demonstrate the Negro tests 1 (or more) standard deviations below other ethnicities on IQ, and commits violent crime at a rate of of 7-10x of that of Caucasians.  Instead of accepting responsibility for addressing these important deficiencies, Negro leaders (and their whitey apologists) blame others for their problems, and demand incrementally discriminatory practices (in their favor) in terms of hiring and government contracts.  'Dat Waciss' is their rallying cry.  I think China, Germany, and Russia need some 'multiculturalism'.  Oh, wait, Merkel already declared 'Multiculturalism to be dead'. 

Kobe Beef's picture

The low impulse control, low conscientiousness, and high time preference are also very reliable and valid measurements.


But hey, what's half a billion cortical brain cells less than a caucasian got to do with anything? The (clearly observed, historically undeniable) dysfunction is culture, and education, and poverty, and da terrble legacy of slabery, and White Privilege, and if enough egghead ivory tower types combined with enough government bureaucrat types with enough Hollywood-Madison Avenue types with enough Communist-y Organizin' types are fed enough trillions of your tax dollars, we will lift homo Africanus out of the Stone Age at last. "We are the woooorrrld, we are the chillllldrenn.."


Like everything in the USSA, "Diversity" is a racket.

European American's picture

It's a breath of fresh air when I hear someone honestly and willingly stepping up to the plate to call a spade a spade.

Frostfan1's picture

If it makes you feel better, Headbanger, if he had Jews rather than the Nword, the up/down score would be +110 -3.

DFCtomm's picture

You really think slaves were responsible for the early economic progress of the U.S.? You also seem to think that blacks played a large role as soldiers in WWII. You've been watching too much TV. Why don't you do some research on those two points, and see what you find.

robobbob's picture

superficially, you are right

but like most issues dealing with TPTB, it is all sleight of hand.

The elites dream of a return of feudalism. To do this they must strip away hundreds of years of progress by the lessor classes and destroy the gains of "enlightenment". Everything from philosophy, culture, and of course money. They are aware of course of the French Revolution, and are extremely careful to hide in the shadows. One favorite front is behind the altruism of marxism and its lighter versions of socialism and progressivism. To acheive their ends, they need a vangard of gulliable and expendable foot soldiers. This is where black culture comes in. Under the guise of helping, blacks have been led straight back into slavery worse then anything from the past, but not only invisible, but convincing the to be willing participants. Entitlements to destroy actual acheivement, welfare to undermine and destroy the family, public education, black society has more freedom on paper, but in fact are worse off as a people then a hundred years ago.

Yes, go ahead and hate blacks. Hate the in your face hypocrisy. Hate the destruction they represent. Hate the violence they permeate. Hate the never ending drain on tax resources they cause. But know the truth. They are a weapon being wielded by the elites in their war on decency and free civilization.

DFCtomm's picture

Then why are African nations, with no Western elites around also violent? Who is duping them?

underman's picture

"Chicago was such a great town." 

Agreed.  Used to live there myself.  Good to place to rage as a 25yr old.  But its a rotten mess now.  No place to raise a family or grow old in. 

Never One Roach's picture

"Diversity isn't for everyone."


~ Deutschland's  Führer, Ms Merkel

However, I'm pretty lucky. My neighborhood is very diverse ... but mostly with wealthy [and educated] Chinese, Iranian, Sikh and Indian professionals and a couple of African-American doctors.

I don't even have locks on my hubcaps!

GubbermintWorker's picture

HAHAHA! Methinks he meant wheels but damn, that's funny.

yogibear's picture

Be glad you left the place because their broke and need to keep raising property taxes and fees. A slow grind downward.

Tapeworm's picture

You are now a target of the spelling fanatics. They're going to get their kicks out of booting you over there.