Why Chicago? It has one of the richest immigration histories among American cities. By 1870, immigrants made up a larger proportion of the city’s population (48 percent) than any other place in North America. The Chicago region continues to have one of the largest and most diverse immigrant populations in the country. Among metropolitan areas, the number of Chicago-area immigrants ranks seventh in the nation, with 1.4 million immigrants who constitute 18 percent of the overall population. Immigration has played a critical demographic role in metropolitan Chicago, having accounted for three-quarters of all population growth in the 1990s. There are so many opportunities for us to WELCOME and SEND well.
For the first time in history, the 2000 census found more immigrants in the suburban portions of metropolitan Chicago (788,000 persons) than in the city of Chicago itself (629,000). Within the suburbs, the largest concentrations of immigrants are directly to the west of the city in places including Cicero, in a collection of suburbs in northwest Cook County near O’Hare Airport, and in concentrations around older satellite cities ringing the area: Waukegan, Elgin, Aurora and Joliet, Illinois. Cicero lies along a 125-year-old path of immigrant settlement stretching from the Chicago neighborhoods of Pilsen and South Lawndale. The outer suburbs have less connection to Chicago and are home to large numbers of immigrants who, as revealed by analysis of INS records, have immigrated directly to the suburbs, without living any time in the traditional immigrant settlement neighborhoods of the city.
We hope to serve alongside organizations like Envision Chicago, Global Gates, Global Roar and others that have a heart for the unreached people groups. For more information about helping us pioneer a new location in Chicago, contact us. To learn more about our existing GFM bases, please check out Atlanta, Houston, Richmond, or South Asia.