Still The Third Rail

by Zoe Pollock

Steve Bogira explores the stark segregation in Chicago and asks why it isn't a more important issue for the mayor's race:

Citywide, Chicago's population of 2.8 million is tri-ethnic: 34 percent black, 33 percent white, and 27 percent Latino.But most African-Americans are clustered in two areas, as they were in the 1960s: a massive one on the south side, and a smaller one on the far west side. ... This African-American subdivision of Chicago includes 18 contiguous community areas, each with black populations above 90 percent, most of them well above that. The west-side black section includes another three contiguous 90 percent-plus community areas. Fifty-five percent of Chicago's 964,000 African-Americans live in these 21 community areas, in which the aggregate population is 96 percent black. Two-thirds of the city's blacks live in community areas that are at least 80 percent black.

On the flip side are the 33 community areas, most of them on the north and southwest sides, with less than 10 percent African-Americans. In 26 of these community areas less than 5 percent of the residents are black.