Loyola University Chicago Libraries

Chicago Community Resources: Chicago Communities

Resources for researching and profiling Chicago Communitees

More about your Community

Other ways to find out more about your community.

  • Community Organizations - Does your community have a community association, commerce group or newspaper?  Search Google (or your favorite search engine) for [your community] AND IL AND association.  Other terms you can use besides association include: organization, chamber, council or alliance.  These organizations may show you the concerns and strengths of the community.
  • See your community - If you can't visit the community for your research, use Google Maps to view it online. In the search box put an address within your community, remembering city and state.  There will be a picture of the location on the left side of the screen, click on that to start the street view.  You can see buildings, parks, architecture and citizens at the last time the area was filmed.  Use the upper left arrows to look left, right, up and down.  Click on sections of the street  to move ahaed.  There are arrows in the street to move you forward and back. You can zoom in by clicking areas.  For more information on using Google Maps, see the Google Maps Help.
  • Wards and Aldermen - Many wards and aldermen have their own webpages or facebook pages.  They will give news about events and news (and what they are are doing that their constituents want).  Check these out.  Be sure you get the official webpages, not third party pages about the wards or aldermen.  To see what wards or aldermen are in your community:


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 books about Chicago are in the Chicago Collection, a non-circulating section on the 6th floor of Lewis Library (WTC).


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 analyse 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).

Dispite the use of Community Areas, many Chicagoans tend to think of their areas in terms of an informal system of neighborrhoods.  To see one version of how neighborhoods are divided between Communities, see WildOnions.org

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.


New and Noteworthy

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.

Illinois Newspaper Lists

Simply Map

Community Resources