Chicago City Review


About This Report

Sep 2017

Chicago is a major financial centre in the US, with a highly developed professional services industry. However, the metropolis was and remains the country's major manufacturing hub, in addition to being a transport and distribution centre. In 2016, Chicago created 3.6% of total US GDP, ranking as the country's third largest metropolitan area. Households in Chicago boasted some of the highest disposable income growth in the US (10% over 2011-2016), despite stagnant labour productivity.

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Chicago City Review


Chicago's economic strength relies on its highly qualified jobs in business services, as well as its well-developed infrastructure and research facilities. This helped Chicago achieve a labour productivity premium of 11% over the rest of the country in 2016. However, productivity in the city (USD131,000 GVA per employee in 2016) lags behind more dynamic metropolises, such as San Francisco, New York (USD161,000 each in the same year) and Boston (USD152,000).

Higher labour force participation and superior labour productivity boost per household disposable income

The labour force participation rate in Chicago surpassed the country's average as well in 2016, 78% of Chicago's population aged 15-64 years were employed or actively seeking work, versus 74% elsewhere in the country. This came on the top of superior labour productivity, resulting in robust disposable income that on a per household basis was 16% greater in Chicago compared to other parts in the US, in 2016.

Greater consumer expenditure

Consumer expenditure per household (excluding housing and transport) in Chicago exceeded the rest of the country's average by 13% in 2016. Proportionally, higher spending by Chicago's households is to a large extent channelled into education (39% more than elsewhere in the US) while in absolute terms, Chicago's households paid the highest premium for health goods and services (USD1,700 per household more than elsewhere in the US).

Both housing and transport moderately more expensive than elsewhere in the country

In contrast, average household consumer expenditure on housing and transport in the city was only 8.2% greater than in other parts of the US. Both housing and transport were moderately more expensive than elsewhere in the US: by 7.9% and 8.8%, respectively, in 2016. The motorisation rate is 25% above the US average, though the city does have a well-developed public transport system.


Understanding Chicago Review structure
Chart 1 Overview
Key facts on Chicago
Summary 1 Key Facts On Chicago 2011, 2016, 2021


Delimitation of the metropolitan region
Chart 2 Map Of Chicago Metropolitan Area
Main business districts


Industrial make-up
Chart 3 Industrial Composition Of Chicago 2016
Chart 4 Labour Productivity: Selected Cities 2016
Recent developments and outlook
Chart 5 Dynamics Of Real GDP In Chicago, USA And Other Cities In North America, 2011-2021
Summary 2 Labour Market Changes In Chicago 2011, 2016


City demographics
Chart 6 Population By Age 2016
Chart 7 Drivers Of Population Growth In Chicago 2011-2016
Household income
Chart 8 Household Distribution By Income In Chicago 2016 And 2021


Structure of household budget
Chart 9 Comparison Of Household Expenditure In Chicago And USA, 2016
Summary 3 Chicago Household Budget Structure By Consumer Expenditure Item, % of total, 2011, 2016, 2021
City lifestyle
Chicago Hits New Tourism Record In
"Dieselgate" Helps Electric Vehicles Market In Chicago
City affordability
Chart 10 Household Expenditure On Housing: Selected Cities 2016
Chart 11 Household Expenditure On Transport: Selected Cities 2016



Summary 4 GDP Development, 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 5 GDP By Origin, Current Prices, US$, Million, 2011-2016
Summary 6 Population And Labour Force, 2011-2016
Summary 7 Employed Population By Economic Sector, % of total, 2011-2016
Summary 8 Population By Sex And Broad Age Groups, ‘000, 2011-2016
Summary 9 Population Growth, 2011-2016
Summary 10 Forecast Population Growth
Summary 11 Population By Educational Attainment, 2011-2016
Summary 12 Structure Of Consumer Expenditure By Main Category, 2011-2016
Summary 13 Consumer Expenditure By Main Category, Per Household, Constant (2016) Prices, US$, 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 14 Households By Income Band, % Of Total, Constant (2016) Prices 2011, 2016, 2021
Summary 15 Households By Income Band, ‘000, Current Prices 2011-2016
Summary 16 Inflation, 2011-2016
Summary 17 Transport Indicators, 2011-2016
Summary 18 Air Pollution, Concentration In Micrograms Per Cubic Metre, 2011-2016
Summary 19 Possession of Consumer Durables, % of Households, 2011, 2016, 2021