Nov 16, 2021 - Politics

What's at stake for Chicago ward remap

A photo of the red line "L" stop at Cermak-Chinatown

The Cermak-Chinatown station sign from the red line platform. Photo: Interim Archives/Getty Images

The fight over the city budget is over and the deadline to redraw Chicago's ward map is two weeks away.

Why it matters: The city council is in charge of creating 50 city wards that reflect the 2020 census. It happens every 10 years.

  • According to the 2020 census, the population breakdown of Chicago is 31% white, 30% Latino, 29% Black and 7% Asian. The new maps should reflect these demographics.

Details: With the news of infighting, alternative maps and even possible litigation, it's hard to keep track of what is happening with the 2021 ward remap. Here's what you need to know:

Chinatown: The pressure is on for the council to carve out a ward that accurately represents Chicago's Asian community, which has grown 31% since 2010.

  • Advocates are pushing for an Asian ward anchored in Chinatown, currently represented by three different wards. The new ward would need to carve out a part of Chinatown from the 11th ward, which represents Bridgeport and is the center of the Daley family's political power. This will be fascinating to watch.

Black caucus vs. Latino caucus: The two powerful caucuses have signaled they won't budge off their redistricting requests.

  • The Black caucus wants to keep its 18 seats even with a 10% decrease in the Black population since 2010.
  • The Latino caucus wants to add seats after the city's Latino population increased by 5%. They currently have 13 seats and want two more.

Lincoln Yards: The map fighting isn't just confined to the South side. The $6 billion Lincoln Yards mega-development currently sits in the 2nd ward, but it used to be in the 32nd ward, so both wards want it.

  • Words are heating up between Ald. Waguespack (32nd) and Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd).
  • This area was also the source of one of the biggest (and weirdest) redistricting stories following the 2010 census.

Alternative maps: City council has to produce a map by December 1st, but the proposed map will go to the voters in 2022 if they don't meet the deadline. This opens the door for competing maps to be introduced.

  • The new map wouldn't go into effect until 2023.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more