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A Tale of Three Cities: The State of Racial Justice in Chicago Report

The State of Racial Justice in Chicago Report provides a comprehensive picture of the changing conditions of racial and ethnic groups in Chicago during the last half century. The report provides accessible data and analysis on how racial and ethnic groups in Chicago are faring in relation to housing, economics, education, justice, and health.

In keeping with IRRPP’s commitment to knowledge in the service of transformation, the scope and depth of the analysis increases awareness, attention, and discussion about Chicago’s racial and ethnic disparities and their intersecting dynamics. The report also highlights gaps in the data and the challenges posed by the use of standard measures to assess racial dynamics. The report’s accessible data and analysis amplifies its use and relevance for researchers, policy makers, and community organizers.

The Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy

The Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago promotes, coordinates, and conducts innovative research at the intersections of race, ethnicity, and public policy. We strive to increase the quantity, quality, relevance, and impact of research on racial and ethnic groups facing persistent and consequential inequalities.

Our work is intellectual and practical, intended to improve both the understanding and conditions of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. To fulfill our mission, IRRPP funds research on race and ethnicity, trains scholars to participate in policy discussions, collaborates on social justice projects with community organizations, and holds events exploring the link between policy and racial and ethnic inequality.


When faced with a large or complex social problem, a common belief is that “if only we could get the right people in the same room, then we could come up with a solution.” In May of 2017, we had just published our State of Racial Justice in Chicago Report. Its data and analysis offered a stark and troubling picture of racial and ethnic disparities between whites, blacks, and Latinxs in relation to housing, economics, education, justice, and health over the last half century. The report’s central finding was that racial inequity in Chicago remains “pervasive, persistent, and consequential.” Although the picture of racial inequity it presented was daunting, we knew that there were many smart and dedicated individuals and organizations actively working in Chicago to transform this reality. What insights could they offer ifRead more…