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The Segregation of Opportunities: The Structure of Advantage and Disadvantage in the Chicago Region

The Segregation of Opportunities: The Structure of Advantage and Disadvantage in the Chicago Region
2005Opportunity Communities

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A Report of the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities

Where one lives says a lot about the kinds of life opportunities that one can access. A simple notion, really, but one with powerful implications. This is why fair housing, housing options free of discrimination, is of such fundamental importance. Unfortunately, despite progress, the Chicago regional housing market continues to skew access to opportunities for different groups, due to overt discrimination and to the poor distribution of housing opportunities in community areas across the region.

This report presents findings of a comprehensive review of race, housing, and opportunity in the Chicago metropolitan area. The report, and the research behind it, works towards two objectives. The first is to analyze a variety of data and document the correlation between race, income, and access to different types of opportunities at the community level. The Leadership Council has throughout its history conducted research in this vein and so is able with this report to update what we know to be the case from the experience of our staff and our work in the region; namely, that stark racial and economic disparities exist in terms of access to opportunities in our region (See maps in Appendix A. Map 1 is the composite opportunity map). In addition, the report is intended to offer prescriptives for how we address these disparities through policy reform, community change, and other strategies. In this regard, the report is to serve as a vehicle for advocates and decision-makers working today to shape the Chicago region of tomorrow.