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South Chicago

South Chicago had been a proud working-class community for a century when the steel industry began a precipitous decline in the 1980s and early 1990s. The USX South Works mill, on the eastern edge of the community, employed 20,000 people at its peak but closed its gates in 1992. Other nearby mills also closed, leaving a shattered community of brownfields, empty stores and worn out housing.

While steel-related jobs once supported virtually the entire community, today’s residents work in many industries and some commute downtown on a rebuilt South Shore Drive or the Metra Electric commuter line. The Commercial Avenue retail strip has seen steady reinvestment by local businesses. 

After many years of planning, redevelopment is moving forward on the USX site. The city plans to turn 100 acres along the lake into a park, and the remaining land is slated for a mix of uses including industrial, commercial and residential redevelopment. Related public investments include the planned relocation of U.S. Route 41 to provide better access to the large lakefront parcel, and Chicago Park District acquisition of 100 acres along the shore for a future park.

Claretian Associates, the lead neighborhood agency in South Chicago, has been an enthusiastic and successful proponent for new affordable housing, green development, arts groups and other projects and amenities that are making the community stronger and better. See the neighborhood's 2007 Quality-of-Life Plan.

Population

Population (2010) 35,224 down 10% from 2000
Racial/ethnic makeup 70% African American, 22% Latino, 4% white  

Housing

Total occupied units (2010) 11,527 down 10% from 2010
Owner occupied units (2010) 5,521 nearly identical to 2010

Income

Median household income (2010) $33,102 up 11% from 2010
Percentage above $50,000 (2010) 29% 14% above $75,000
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Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago connects neighborhoods to the resources they need to become stronger and healthier.

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