Map of the Day: Chicago's Quilted Constituencies

Next year, for the first time since Harry Truman was president, Chicagoans will vote in a mayoral election with no incumbent. Rahm Emanuel is obviously getting most of the buzz, but an open-answer poll by the Chicago Tribune released last Friday found that he garnered only 7 percent, behind Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart (12 percent) and state Sen. James Meeks (11 percent). 


The poll shows that this race is going to be wide-open, but the map below proves that it's going to be wild. Most major American cities have distinct ethnic neighborhoods, but Chicago's are perhaps the most pronounced. I'd say it's the biggest city that has retained its neighborhoods from America's third immigration wave (1880-1920; 23 million U.S. immigrants). 

If the map included white subsets of Irish, Polish, and Dutch, we'd see an even more quilted city. You'd see the Dan Ryan Expressway on the South Side skirting Richard J. Daley's old Ward 11 and separating his heavily Irish constituency in Bridgeport from the majority black neighborhood closer to the lake. 

The most recent wave of immigrants has also made Chicago one of the most Hispanic cities in America, so whether Luis Gutierrez runs or not (9 percent in the polls), he is sure to be a major player.  

The map below is from Bill Rankin at the fantastic Radical Cartography site. Rankin use dots to represent ethnic populations instead of sweeping generalizations to make the map more granular and accurate.


  Chicago Ethnicities
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Patrick Ottenhoff has been writing The Electoral Map blog since 2007. A former staff writer for National Journal Group and project manager at New Media Strategies, he now attends Georgetown's McDonough School of Business. More

Patrick Ottenhoff attends Georgetown McDonough School of Business in the Class of 2012. He previously served as a project manager in the Public Affairs Practice of New Media Strategies and was a staff writer for National Journal Group. Patrick has been writing The Electoral Map blog since 2007. As the name implies, the blog covers news and commentary at the intersection of politics and geography, but it also analyzes the stories, people, culture, sports, and food behind the maps and the votes. Patrick is a native Virginian and graduate of Union College in New York. You can follow The Electoral Map on Twitter and Facebook, and follow Patrick on YouTube.

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