Latinos/as/es in Northeastern Illinois have been the primary contributors to the region’s population growth over the past 10 years. They are now Chicago’s largest racial group, making up nearly 30 percent of the city’s population. Out of the close to 1.8 million Latinos/as/es in the Chicago metropolitan area, the majority are Mexican (73%). Those that are located in the city are primarily located in the Southwest, Northwest, and far Southeast parts of the city. There has also been a growing rate of Latinos/as/es migrating to Chicago suburbs, especially western suburbs like Cicero and Aurora, and they now account for 60% of all Latinos in the Chicago metropolitan area.

  • Did you know that Latino/a/e communities in Chicago have, by far, the least amount of parkland and those communities that do have parkland receive the least amount of capital investments from the district?

Environmental Justice Issues

The EPA classifies the ozone levels in Chicago as “severe.” Approximately one out of seven children in Chicago live with asthma and the rates are even higher among Black and Latino/a/e children, with one out of every four children having asthma. This is largely because factories and industrial manufacturing production plants in Chicago are often placed in predominantly Latino/a/e and Black communities. The air, water, and ground pollution from these production facilities impede the health of the overall community and the exposure to these pollutants affects Black and Latino/a/e individuals at much higher rates than their white-affluent counterparts. This is a serious human health crisis causing higher rates of asthma, cancer, respiratory illness, lead poisoning, and cardiovascular disease in these communities.

Access to safe drinkable water is also a challenge for many black and brown communities in Chicago. In a study that performed thousands of tap water tests, 1 out of every 20 tap waters tested were found to have lead at or above US government limits. Nine of the top 10 zip codes with the largest percentages of high test results were neighborhoods with majorities of Black and Latino/a/e residents. 

How We Can Help

About GreenLatinos: 

We are a national network of Latino/a/e environmental and conservation champions fighting against climate change and environmental degradation that intensifies systemic social, health, and economic injustices in our communities.

About the GreenLatinos Sustainable Cities Urban Greening Initiative: 

As part of the broader Greening America’s Cities Initiative from the Bezos Earth Fund, GreenLatinos is set to allocate a total of $2,650,000 to back urban greening, gardening, and farming initiatives in Los Angeles, Albuquerque, and Chicago. Specifically, this funding will encompass nearly $1.05M for both Albuquerque and Chicago. We're inviting proposals from community-led groups in Chicago for urban greening projects- including but not limited to community gardens, parks, and urban farms. The outcome of this initiative will be 2-4 new or expanded urban greenspaces in Latino/a/e communities in Chicago. ​​We are hoping that this effort will integrate long-marginalized voices into the larger environmental and climate justice movement, as well as help local communities access significant funding for urban greening initiatives to begin to bridge the existing nature gap and to increase environmental equity in the city of Chicago.


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