When the shootings and the crime that are happening in Chicago are discussed, the root causes of these issues never seem to take the same spotlight as the latest crimes. The latest study done in 2014 by the University of Illinois in Chicago presents some staggering numbers. An estimated 47% of young Black men between the ages of 20-24 are either unemployed or not in school compared to their NY counterparts where the number is almost half that at 27%. Chicago has the highest percentage across the country. Irene Cordova, director of UIC Great Cities Institute, said, “For young people, especially Blacks and Latinos conditions of joblessness are chronic, concentrated and comparatively worse than every place else in the country.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “47% is not only a wake up call for me but for everybody in the city of Chicago that we have a lot of work ahead of us and it is unacceptable, because we have one standard; it’s to make sure that everyone in Chicago, every part of the city of Chicago, is better prepared for the future to compete … ”
The highest concentration of these numbers are on the west and south sides of the city in neighborhoods like Englewood and North Lawndale. These numbers come as no surprise; if you take a drive through most urban areas in the city it seems pretty obvious. Young Black men decorate the street corners. Now that we have these numbers, what’s next?