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Chicago Still the Most Segregated U.S. City

By Sean Stillmaker in News on Oct 31, 2010 3:00PM

chicago segregation.jpg
Photo By Bill Rankin
In 1959 the U.S. Civil Rights Commission declared Chicago the most segregated city in the country. 51 years later, not much has changed with Chicago still the leader. The most fascinating aspect is how precise the dividing line is between racial boundaries.

Blacks makeup 35 percent of Chicago’s 3 million population, and are still predominately located on the South and West sides. However, the increased migration of Hispanics (30 percent) have lead them to take over portions of the West and Northwest sides. Whites in Chicago account for only 28 percent and maintain the North side.

Chicago’s segregation also played a great part in the housing crisis. When Wall Street figured how much money could be made buying mortgages they had to amp it up. So they attacked a market they had been redlining since the 60’s.

Mortgage brokers needed a surplus of communities whose residents did not have a home loan, were used to predatory lending and there were no other surrounding financial outlets to inform buyers that sub-prime loans weren’t a good deal.

The scheme worked with an enormous response from minorities on the South and West sides who’ve been on the front lines of foreclosures since 2007. It was like shooting fish in a barrel because predatory lenders were able to target such a large group - the crisis may not have been so bad if minorities were geographically spread out, a Princeton University study concluded. But Chicago’s segregated neighborhoods have finally slowed down with foreclosures. The Loop is the new hot spot.