PART 2: Gentrification in Chicago’s Latino neighborhoods: From Brown to White

Sign shows hate comment against white people moving into Latino neighborhood Pilsen. Photo Credit: dnainfo.com

By Angel Olanda ’17

From Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood in the South Side to the Hermosa neighborhood in the North West side, signs of drastic change within the communities are popping up. Home values are increasing at a dramatic rate and construction of luxurious condominiums and other pricey developments have become non-stop in these now so called “hot and trending” neighborhoods, but what exactly is causing this change?

Pilsen, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, and now Hermosa and Little Village are predicted to become the next targets of gentrification. All  the listed neighborhoods are dominated by a Hispanic population, but for how long? Change in these communities are showing an increased population of whites.

Chicago is known to have many issues, one of them being segregation. In fact, according to CNN, Chicago is the number one segregated city in the nation. This may be more serious than people care, but segregation in Chicago may be what is causing the classification of wealth to a certain race. “The poverty rate of blacks in Chicago is more than 2x that of whites,” according to CNN. Statistically, whites in Chicago are wealthier than any other race, making them have more options as to where to live in and, most importantly, with who.

Reports from npr.org showed that while black neighborhoods in Chicago tend to not gentrify, Latino neighborhoods are the exact opposite, stating that “In Chicago, the [neighborhoods] that are gentrifying are the ones where there was a white working class, or Latinos, but not many blacks.”

Other reports from dnainfo claimed that the Pilsen neighborhood was showing early signs of gentrification back in the early 2000’s. “The number of whites grew by 22 percent, from 3,587 in 2000 to an estimated 4,385 in 2013,” stated the report.  Pilsen’s long term residents are being kicked out, and similar scenarios have, and are, still happening in the Logan Square and Humboldt Park communities.

The evidence that Latino neighborhoods in Chicago are gentrifying exist, but the reasons as to why gentrifiers are doing this to Hispanic communities in particular are still unclear and involve a lot of controversial topics.

Lizbeth Marquez, a senior and a resident of the Humboldt Park community, stated that, “Although there is more diversity in [her] neighborhood,” she fears the prices of the houses are not benefitting those who are long term residents. Another student who shared his thoughts on this topic was senior Eddie Ramirez, who is part of the Hermosa community. He claimed that he has seen more “white and asian” people move into parts of his neighborhood and does not yet understand if that might be a problem for Hermosa in the near future.