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Regional Migration

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It wasn't that long ago when Chicago boosters were beating their chests over census data that showed the city's population grew during the 1990s for the first time in decades.

The news seemed to be concrete evidence of what we Chicago-lovers had long believed - that our city was back and poised for a better and brighter future than ever before.

But six years later, the numbers seem to be telling a different story.

The city’s population is falling – and it's falling across the board in virtually every racial, ethnic and age group.

Add it all up and Cook County shows the third largest net population loss of any county in the nation since the year 2000.

Only counties in Detroit and New Orleans are doing worse in real terms.

The picture looks much better when you compare percentages, but the underlying questions remain:

What's driving these losses and what do they mean for future of the city, the county and the rest of the region?

We're attempting to explore those deeper questions with three guests.

Joining us are Kenneth Johnson, demographer and professor of sociology at Loyola University, Chicago; Patrick Reardon, staff writer for the Chicago Tribune and co-author of the paper's recent three-part series chronicling migratory moves; and Charlie Wheelan, former director of policy and communications for Chicago Metropolis 2020 and a lecturer at the University of Chicago's Harris School.

Music Button: The Bay of Biscay, "Hard Egg Timer," from the CD Velella Velella (Big V records)

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