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'Distressed Communities' Report Shows Big Divide Between North, South Sides

By Tanveer Ali | February 29, 2016 5:32am | Updated on March 1, 2016 9:54am
 This is how Chicago rated on the Economic Innovation Group's
This is how Chicago rated on the Economic Innovation Group's "Distressed Communities Index" report.
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CHICAGO — When it comes to being "distressed," a new study shows a stark difference between North Side neighborhoods with South Side neighborhoods.

Economic Innovation Group, a D.C.-based organization, recently released its "Distressed Communities Index," a study that looked at over 26,000 ZIP codes across the United States, compiling factors from high school degree rates to unemployment to housing vacancies into a "distress score."

Based on the organization's definition of "distressed," nearly 40 percent of Chicagoans live in distressed ZIP codes.

"Chicago is really striking," said Kenan Fikri, ‎EIG's manager for Research and Policy Development. "Over 1 million Chicagoans live in these distressed ZIP codes."

Data Reporter Tanveer Ali goes over the numbers.

These ZIP codes are almost all on the West and South sides. Garfield Park-centric 60624, where 65 percent of adults don't work and the poverty rate is at 47 percent, is the city's most distressed ZIP code. It also ranks as the 338th most distressed ZIP code in the United States.

On the other end, 60654 in River North ranks as the 369th least distressed ZIP code in America.

The findings in Chicago come as no surprise to Fikri, as economic gaps in Chicago have been long documented.

Fikri said that "channeling economic activity into these areas" is going to be the only way to reverse the long-standing gap in Chicago.

"Education is going to be key here," Fikri said.

Read EIG's nationwide report and see how Chicago ZIP codes compare with areas around the country below:

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