Chicago, A City of Migrants

Authors: Thomas Green*, , Kimberly A Panozzo, University of Toledo
Topics: Migration, Ethnicity and Race, Temporal GIS
Keywords: Social Networks, Economic, migration, GIS, Proximity, genealogy
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Chicago has been shaped by countless waves of immigration. Various studies have shown the primary incentive for migration is economic or work related (Massey et al. 1998). In addition to economic drivers, reunification with family members is a key motivating factor. Italians coming to Chicago in the early 1900s originated from many distinct regions in Italy. These families were attached to their home villages and practiced campanilismo, which concentrated groups into many ‘Little Italys’. Over time, spatial proximity and social bonds broke down as expressways divided neighborhoods, white flight and block busting pushed many of the Italian residents to leave as the new wave of migrants moved into the city. This project studies one Italian family over time in order to examine key drivers for migration and to investigate the effects on those left behind. This dataset was compiled using members of one family as a case study from 1850 to 2005. Data used included addresses the U.S. City Directories (1882-2002), U.S. Census data, voter registration lists, birth and death certificates, church and cemetery records among others. The location of family members was compiled to visualize the distribution of the family through space and time. Additionally, the family social network mapped to show connections between the various branches of the family tree. Results show a strong correlation between proximity to family members and strong social networks. Consequentially, as time and space decreases, family bonds weaken and those left behind become isolated resulting in significant economic disadvantage

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