Asians Are The Fastest Growing Racial Demographic In Illinois

CTA Argyle L Station Chicago Illinois
A photo of the CTA Argyle L Station. Courtesy of Paul R. Burley/Creative Commons
CTA Argyle L Station Chicago Illinois
A photo of the CTA Argyle L Station. Courtesy of Paul R. Burley/Creative Commons

Asians Are The Fastest Growing Racial Demographic In Illinois

Illinois’ population has declined for the sixth year in a row, but some racial groups are growing in number, according to new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday.

Asians are the fastest growing racial demographic in the state, increasing by 24% since 2010 and now making up 5.7% of Illinois’ population. They were followed by Latinos, whose population has grown by 9.5% since 2010 and now accounts for 17.5% of the state’s total. The growth of Asian population in Illinois mirrors a national trend; the number of Asian residents in the U.S. has increased 29% since 2010.

According to the data, Illinois has also witnessed the steepest decline in Black population among all U.S. states since 2010 — both in number and by percentage. The state’s Black population has fallen by about 56,000, or 3%, since 2010.

There has also been a significant decline in white population in Illinois, a loss of about 6% since 2010, although white residents still make up more than 60% of the state’s total population.

In the 14-county, tri-state, Chicago metropolitan area population has largely remained flat, even as other metro areas in the U.S. — particularly in southern and western states — have grown. The 2019 estimate for metro Chicago is 9,458,539, a decline of 2,566, or 0.03%, from the region’s population of 9,461,105 in 2010. In 2019, the region’s population declined for the fifth straight year and dipped below the 2010 count for the first time, according to the estimates.

Since 2010, total population has declined in six of the region’s 14 counties, most notably in Cook County where it declined by more than 44,400. Total population has fallen in Lake County, Ind., by more than 10,500 and in Lake County, Ill., by almost 7,000. The other eight counties, including Kane and Will counties, saw modest growth. Kendall County saw the largest percentage increase in population, growing by 12.4% since 2010.

Overall, the white population in metro Chicago has declined by more than 260,000 since 2010. White population has declined in every county in the region with the exception of Kendall County, where it has increased by 2.0%. In 2019, white residents accounted for nearly 52.4% of the region’s total population. That’s down from 55.1% in 2010.

Overall, Black population has fallen in the region by more than 76,500 or 4.7% since 2010. That decline is due almost entirely to heavy losses in Cook County (about 85,200) and in Lake County, Ind., (nearly 12,800). Elsewhere in the region, the Black population has grown by nearly 21,500.

Both the Asian and Latino populations increased in all 14 counties in the region. Overall, the Asian population has increased by nearly 130,000 or 24.2% since 2010, according to the estimates. That growth includes an increase in Asian population of more than 74,300 in Cook County, nearly 22,700 in DuPage County and almost 13,100 in Lake County, Ill.

Latino population in the region has grown by about 175,700 or 9.0% since 2010. While Latino population has increased by about 74,500 in Cook County, much of the region’s Latino growth has occurred elsewhere. That growth includes significant increases of Latino population in several counties, ranging from more than 7,400 in McHenry County to nearly 20,000 in Will County.

Alden Loury is the senior editor of WBEZ’s Race, Class and Communities desk. Follow him on Twitter at @AldenLoury. Esther Yoon-Ji Kang is a reporter for WBEZ’s Race, Class and Communities desk. Follow her on Twitter @estheryjkang.