Loyola University Chicago Libraries

Chicago Community Resources: Chicago Communities

Resources for researching and profiling Chicago Communitees

Chicago Communities Map

Chicago Community Map

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 consistant areas based on physical barriers such as rivers, parks, and railroads (and such "physical barriors) 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.

For more information, see the Encyclopedia of Chicago History (NewBerry Library). http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/319.html

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.  http://www.wildonions.org/ChicagoCommunityAreas.htm

Definitions

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 77Chicago 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.