Photo: Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune
He also did some analysis of it:
In short, the graphs affirm most of what we already knew. Though I also was not expecting the Blue Line to be so much nicer between Western and Grand than it is in the Loop.
There’s also at least one startling hiccup: the huge dive in median income at the Sedgwick stop on the Brown and Purple Lines. I double checked everything, and that’s the correct tract number. I can only guess that there’s a residual effect of Cabrini-Green’s ghost that’s pulling that number down.
It's true: the second-highest median income by El stop is Western on the Blue Line ($106,759, statistically insignficant from Linden on the Purple Line at $106,765). This surprised us—it's much higher than Damen*. But I think I get it. Here's the specific census tract that includes the Western stop:
The Western stop is just barely in the census tract around Ehrler Park. And that's a pricey area. Just browsing around on Zillow, it contains lots of expensive, post-crash single-family home sales: $622,500 in March; $855,000 in August 2010; $1.035 million in May 2012; and so forth. More than half the households in that tract (NB: the margin of error is significant, so take it with a grain of salt) make more than $100k.
But if the Western stop was included in the census tract immediately to the west—which it's partially in—the median income would fall to $66,087. Only 33 percent of households make more than $100,000.
As to the Sedgwick stop near Old Town (median income $14k, mean income $61k), it is where Cabrini-Green used to be. But he's using 5-year American Community Survey estimates, which take a rolling sample from 2007-2011. Parts of Cabrini-Green still existed in 2007. According to the ACS data, over 1,000 families make less than $15k; a little less than 500 make more than $100k.
In the tract immediately to the east, the median is $91k and the mean is $138k. There, almost 500 households make more than $200k. The ACS happened to catch the tract around Sedgwick during a period of profound change.
* The median income around the Damen stop is about $100k. But the two tracts on the other side of North Avenue from the Damen stop have median incomes of $167,240 (with a mean of almost $250k) and $141k. Which is worth keeping in mind: the data (including the New Yorker's data) covers the census tract the stop is in, not necessarily what you'd consider to be "around" the stop.