The Citizens

According to the 2000 census, the current population of Beverly stands at 21,992.  A lot of pro-Beverly websites like to talk about how well-integrated Beverly is.  Well, compared to many, many other Chicago neighborhoods, they’re right.  Of that 21,992, approximately 63% are white.  Blacks make up around 32%, with Hispanic, Asian, and other non-white races making up the last 5%.  If we hold up these statistics next to those of other areas with comparable incomes, say, Lake View (my current place of residence), we see Lakeview’s population is 94,817, with only 4% of those residents being black.  Whites make up almost 80% of Lake View’s residents.  In Lincoln Park, the location of our school, white residents are nearly 85%, with Asians and other non-white races accounting for not quite 10% and blacks for slightly more than just 5% (Chi. Fact Finder).

However, Beverly wasn’t always this way.  Up until the late 1970s, there were no black residents; at least, there weren’t enough to count for any amount on the censuses at the time.  There were no blacks at all on the census for Beverly until 1980, when the census of that year showed the black population had jumped to 14% of the total in just ten years (1990 Comm. Fact Book). While the city was suffering large amounts of white flight in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, Beverly was an area that whites fled to.  With the population standing at just 15,910 in 1940, that number jumped by more than 4,000 people to 20,186 in 1950, and another 4,328 by 1960 (1980 Comm. Fact Book).  All of those people were white.  While there is currently relatively good integration all over the area- with the exception of a couple of areas west of Western Avenue- most blacks are currently concentrated on the southeast side of Beverly, near the neighborhoods of Washington Heights and Morgan Park.

Other non-white races, such as Asians and Hispanics, still have negligible population numbers for this area, but even those are climbing up little by little.  Whereas Hispanics were only 1.8% of the population in 1990, they now represent 2.9%.  This is still a very small amount compared to the number in the city as a whole, but it’s showing steady growth.

Beverly has always been a heavily Irish neighborhood.  Up until 2009, it was the home of the famous (or infamous) South Side Irish Parade on St. Patrick’s Day.  This was rumored to be the largest St. Patty’s parade in the world outside of Dublin, Ireland.  It became so popular yet out-of-control that organizers have

Pubs on Western Avenue

stopped holding the parade until a new idea can be thought of.  The Irish heritage is particularly evident on Western Avenue, where Irish pubs line the west side of the street from 103rd to 111th Streets.  The locals have cheekily called this mile-long strip of watering holes the “12 Stations of the Cross”.

While Beverly is pretty well physically integrated, it remains fairly socially segregated.  Whites attend Beverly Unitarian Church or St. Barnabas, while blacks tend to congregate at various churches in nearby Washington Heights or Morgan Park.  Local institutions, such as the Beverly Art Center, tend to draw mostly white crowds to their events.

Beverly is an area dominated by single-family homes, with apartment buildings scarce throughout and mostly located near the rail lines.  The median home value hovers around $101,000 (1990 Comm. Fact Book).  During this writing, I was unable to find any concrete numbers about the races of those who own the homes, but my very nonscientific process of simply spending time in the neighborhood and looking around leads me to believe that those homeowners who aren’t white are few.

Crime in Beverly tends to be pretty simple.  According to data available on the web (www.gis.chicagopolice.org) from the Chicago Police Department, the most popular act of crime tends to be vandalism.  For example, in the two-week period from November 3 to November 15 of this year, there were 39 reported crimes in Beverly with 9 of those being vandalism.  The next most popular crime was larceny, with the items taken tending to be from yards or outdoor porches.  We can compare this to 61 acts of larceny alone during the same time period in Lake View.  Homicide seems to be few and far between in Beverly, with only 1 report during the entire time frame available on the CLEARMap site, which runs from August 19- November 15, 2011.  Also within that entire time frame, there was not one reported rape or incident of domestic abuse.

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