Cook County in 2016 again recorded the largest black population of any county in the U.S., but it carries that title with less conviction than previous years as more African-Americans move to outlying suburbs or warmer states in the South and West, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
Between 2015 and 2016, more than 12,000 black residents left Cook County, an increase from the previous year when about 9,000 residents left. The greater Chicago area, which for the census includes parts of Indiana and Wisconsin, has lost nearly 46,000 black residents since 2010. That exodus is larger than in any other metropolitan area in the country.
“I’ve noticed people have been leaving the city of Chicago, absolutely,” said Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church in Chicago’s predominantly black Woodlawn neighborhood. “Families, especially, and some single-parent households with young males. I think those two factors are contributing to the numbers you’re seeing.”