Gentrification, Displacement, and the Politics of Place

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As in other major cities around the nation, Chicago’s neighborhoods are changing—with important consequences for the demographic and political future of the city. Administrative and survey data provide a sobering description of these trends: Since the post-recession economy improved after 2012, the share of low-income renter households fell and then stabilized, while the share of high-income renter households in the Chicago area has continually increased.Among low-income renters in the Chicago area, nearly 90% are rent-burdened, meaning that they pay 30% or more of their income on rent. Nearly half of African Americans in Chicago have been evicted, foreclosed upon, or lost their housing—or know someone who has faced one of these situations—within the past five years, compared to 38% of Whites and 39% of Latinxs. Over 113,000 applicants—about twice the total number of city households who receive government rental assistance—are on waiting lists for public housing or housing vouchers in Chicago. In short, even as more affluent people move to Chicago, a number of others are living in vulnerable situations and in need of greater assistance.