People

Explore the sections:

About West Chicago’s Population

As of 2020, approximately 28,000 people called West Chicago home—and the city is growing more than twice as fast as DuPage County overall! The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning estimates that West Chicago will continue to grow through 2050, to more than 37,000 people.

With that growth, the city is positioned to play a much larger role in the region in the coming years.

Who is West Chicago?

West Chicagoans already know and love their community. For those who aren’t so lucky to call West Chicago home, though, who lives here? Even lifelong residents might be fascinated to learn that

  • West Chicago is young at heart! The city has one of the largest percentages of people under 18 in the entire region, and the median West Chicagoan was 33 years old in 2020 (compared to 40 in DuPage County). People in their early 80s are in the fastest-growing age group, but people in their late 70s and mid-40s are close behind!
  • West Chicago is proud to be diverse and multilingual! West Chicago is home to one of the area’s largest Latino populations, and 57% of West Chicagoans speak a language other than English at home—including Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, Chinese, Korean, as well as Slavic languages and other languages from Europe and India.
  • West Chicago is a jack of all trades! In 2017, about 1,800 West Chicagoans worked in manufacturing, and roughly 1,200 people each worked in retail and health care, in administration, and in accommodations and food service. Many residents commute by car to work in Chicago—the average West Chicagoan drives about 22,000 miles to work per year!—and about 17,000 people come to work in West Chicago. Jobs in West Chicago are projected to grow twice as fast as in the county, with almost 4,500 more jobs in West Chicago by 2050. This might mean that in the future, more jobs in West Chicago will allow residents to work closer to home and spend less time in the car.

What can all these facts tell us? Well, such a young population might mean the city should make large investments in workforce training programs so that young people can find jobs in the community, but it is also very appealing to large businesses who are considering locating in our area.

West Chicago Households

  • In West Chicago, 45% of households have four or more people, compared to 25% across DuPage County—this larger household size signals that West Chicago is in need of more multifamily housing and a variety of types of housing, more so than in the surrounding area. Already it offers much less multifamily housing than the county and the Chicagoland region.
  • Housing in West Chicago is more affordable than other places in the county, and residents spend less on housing and transportation than in the county overall. Even so, almost 40% of residents spend more than one-third of their income on housing costs—when people spend more than one-third of their income on housing it is known as the “housing burden,” meaning that it is harder for those families to cover other essential household expenses such as food, utilities, medical care, and transportation. To support families experiencing housing burden, West Chicago could adopt and implement a series of strategies to ensure affordable housing for all.
  • West Chicago’s median income for 2020—the exact middle household if you lined up all the households and their income in the city—is $85,908, compared to $96,477 in the county. Projections show that household income will decrease in the coming years for households making less than $100,000. This might further expand a noticeable income divide in West Chicago: for example, we know that the city’s Black and Hispanic/Latinx residents already earn less than half the income of white residents, that Hispanic/Latinx residents are 50% less likely to graduate high school, and that West Chicagoans without a high school degree earn roughly $10,000 less per year than those with a high school degree.

As we look at many different information sources and talk with many different people to build a full picture of life in West Chicago, we have also identified great opportunities for the city’s future and some challenges facing West Chicagoans. First, let’s look at the West Chicago real estate market.

About 12% of residential properties in West Chicago were built before 1940, and from 2000 to 2007, the city saw the building of 955 single-family and multifamily homes! Overall, West Chicago’s real estate market acts much like the market regionally.

Social Vulnerability

A regional hospital has reported that there are barriers to accessing health care in West Chicago and DuPage County. This means that residents find health-care providers few and far between or difficult to get to or qualify for services.

Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index looks at specific census tracts in terms of unemployment, educational attainment, single-parent households, household that speak English “less than well,” access to a vehicle, and many more details.

Of West Chicago’s 9 census tracts, 2 have high social vulnerability, 4 have medium social vulnerability, and only 2 score low on social vulnerability.

West Chicago’s Character and Community

We also have looked at all sorts of information on health and environment. West Chicago is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles through its wonderful plan Healthy West Chicago. Things like open spaces to be active, access to health-care providers and healthy food, and a safe environment can help West Chicagoans make choices for a clean, healthy future. For example:

  • West Chicago is a car-dependent city, and it scores low on walkability and bikeability. This means that it’s hard for residents to get around without
    a car—89% of residents drive to work each day, and a car is needed to complete most errands. Being able to walk, bike, or take transit to destinations contributes to a healthy city!
  • 92% of people surveyed by Healthy West Chicago said that having better or more access to healthy food was a significant priority for the city. We also know that food insecurity among children in DuPage County, including West Chicago, is project to reach almost 15%—and that was before COVID-19. Providing access to high-quality, nutritious foods should remain a priority for West Chicago, particularly for those who are most in need.
    A regional hospital has reported that there are barriers to accessing health care in West Chicago and DuPage County. This means that residents find health-care providers few and far between or difficult to get to or qualify for services.

The “people” of West Chicago also includes the very many volunteer organizations, public services, faith affiliations, and other groups that provide support, recreation, and community to West Chicagoans. We’ve been hearing a lot from these community partners about life in West Chicago, too, and how they envision West Chicago’s future. Just a few are listed here, but if you’re part of an organization that wants to share ideas for West Chicago’s future, please get in touch!

  • West Chicago Park District
  • WeGo Together for Kids
  • West Chicago Public Library
  • Puente del Pueblo
  • West Chicago Planning Commission
  • Mayor’s Monarch Pledge
  • Gallery 200
  • West Chicago Mexican Cultural Center–DuPage
  • And residents, business owners, churches, schools, and more!