Chicago: A demographically challenged, bifurcated metro
Chicago is the largest metro area in the Midwest. Its gross GDP is almost double the size of its next nearest competitor and it is the regional economic capital of the Midwest. Nevertheless, it has suffered from weak demographic growth. Overall population growth was 1.8 percent between 2010 and 2017, compared with 5.6 percent for the United States. The prime working-age population growth over the same time period was 1.6 percent compared to 4.7 percent nationally and is projected to decline by –1.3 percent compared with 1.5 percent growth nationally. In the 25- to 34-year-old age bracket, population growth in Chicago over the same time period was 1.3 percent, compared with 9.6 percent nationally, and is expected to grow over the next five years by 1.1 percent, compared with 2.8 percent nationally.
In an inauspicious sign for the future, the number of children aged 5 to 19 in Chicago declined –6.0 percent between 2010 and 2017, compared with –0.9 percent for the nation,