Loyola University Chicago Libraries

Criminal Justice and Criminology: Chicago Communities

Articles from Magazines

AudioVisual Resources

Books in Print

These are a list of only some of the books in the Loyola Libraries Collections on Chicago areas and their histories.  Many other books about Chicago are in the Chicago Collection on the 6th floor of Lewis Library (WTC).


Chicago Communities Map


For the purposes of this guide, these are how the terms are defined

  • Block groups - consist of several blocks; there are typically between three and five block groups to a tract.
  • Community - a geographic area as defined in  the 1920's as one of the 77 Chicago areas created so the census bureau and social scientists could track statistics consistently in defined areas over time.
  • Congressional districts - a (physical) division of a state which is entitled to elect one member to the United States House of Representatives to represent their interests.
  • Neighborhood - a geographic area where  it's boundries are reevaluated after each federal census and its boundaries may change over time.
  • Tract - a geographic region defined for the purpose of taking a census. Usually these coincide with the limits of cities, towns or other administrative areas and several tracts commonly exist within a county. They have changed a great deal over the years, in most cases by splitting.
  • Ward - one of the City of Chicago's 50 legislative districts (also called political districts). Each ward has one elected alderman. Together they form a Council, which, with the mayor, govern the city. Ward boundaries must be re-drawn after every federal census.


Community Resources

Chicago Communities and Neighborhoods

In 1920, the University of Chicago Local Community Research Committee and the Chicago's Department of Public Health collaborated to  produce a map with 75 community areas, into which 935 census tracts were distributed.  They wanted consistent areas based on physical barriers such as rivers, parks, and railroads (and ) to analyze information gathered by the Census Bureau and local birth and death rates.  With minor changes, this "Community Area Map" is still in use today.other

For more information, see the Encyclopedia of Chicago History (Newberry Library).

Despite the use of Community Areas, many Chicagoans tend to think of their areas in terms of an informal system of neighborhoods.  These neighborhoods, their boundries and names will differ depending on the source, so they are not used for official statistics.

Indexes to Articles about Communities

Many of the local Chicago newspapers have sections on different city neighborhoods and their local news.  Many of the sources here are subscribed to by the University Libraries.

Suburban Area Sources