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CUL Study Shows Racial Residential Segregation Still Impacts African Americans in Chicago


March 2, 2016



Chelsea Whittington, External Affairs Manager

(773) 451-3524


Racial Residential Segregation Still Impacts African Americans in Chicago

100 Years After Great Migration

19 Communities Show Little to No Change


CHICAGO, Ill. – One hundred years after the start of the Great Migration and nearly 50 years after the Kerner Commission Report declared that “our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal,” a new study from the Chicago Urban League examines the historic and current factors that support the practice and maintenance of segregation and its impact on Chicago’s residence, housing and transportation.

The study, titled The Impact of Racial Residential Segregation on Residence, Housing and Transportation, dissects critical socioeconomic causal factors and outcomes related to enduring high levels of segregation in the city’s most impoverished and segregated neighborhoods.

“Our findings indicate that there are 19 distinct communities in Chicago that have had little to no change in residential segregation over the past several decades, making them more vulnerable to socioeconomic burdens than other neighborhoods in Chicago,” said Stephanie Bechteler, Research and Evaluation Director at the Chicago Urban League and author of the study. “While some reports have found that people would prefer to live in more racially diverse neighborhoods, our study clearly shows that residential segregation, and the resulting impacts, remains inflexibly high in Chicago because of intentional choices over time.”

The data are based on an analysis of quantitative data from local experts, as well as data from publicly available national surveys such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the American Community Survey and other similar sources.  Qualitative interview and focus group data were gathered from issue-focused subject matter experts, including academics, activists/advocates, elected officials, human service providers, impacted persons and representatives from the business, nonprofit and philanthropic communities.

“The findings in our report further confirm that more resources must be poured into these Black communities,” said Shari Runner, President and CEO, the Chicago Urban League. “Residential segregation is a fundamental cause of disparities from education to employment and health.” The Impact of Racial Residential Segregation on Residence, Housing and Transportation presents short- and long-term plans of action incorporating action from both the public and private sectors. Subsequent research focusing on the disparities in education and economics will also be conducted.

“We look forward to sharing this compelling information with City government, relevant organizations and concerned citizens,” added Runner. “These systemic issues can no longer be ignored. The question before us should no longer be if, but how, the public and private sectors will be engaged in making investments that achieve equitable resources for all.”


Download the executive summary of the report here.

Download a full copy of the report here.


Shari Runner and Stephanie Bechteler are available for media interviews. Please forward media inquiries to
About the Chicago Urban League

Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League works for economic, educational and social progress for African Americans and promotes strong sustainable communities through advocacy, collaboration and innovation. For more information, visit Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.