CHICAGO — Hispanics are officially the second-largest ethnic or racial group in Chicago, based on Census data released Thursday.
Hispanics formed 29.7 percent of Chicago's population in 2016, based on Census estimates. The population climbed 17,751 over the previous year to 803,476.
Meanwhile the black population dropped by more than 40,000 in one year. There are now 793,852 black Chicagoans, about 29.3 percent of the population.
Since 2000, Chicago's black population has dropped by more than 250,000 people.
The largest racial group in Chicago is white residents. There are an estimated 882,354 white Chicagoans, about 32.6 percent of the population.
Alden Loury, director of research and evaluation for the nonprofit Metropolitan Planning Council, noted the numbers may fluctuate in coming years due to how the Census estimates work but also notes that Chicago's population has been trending this way.
"We knew it was coming. I didn't think it would happen this fast," Loury said.
Loury said the Chicago area's recent Hispanic growth has been naturally driven by births and not by immigration. Unlike the Chicago area's black and white populations, its Hispanic population also skews younger.
"It's a relatively young community," Loury said. "There will need to be some level of maturity before we can see the community's full impact economically or politically."