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The Story of Chicago Italians

Chicago and its suburbs have one of the highest populations of Italian-Americans in the country. Here is why!

It is a surprise to most people when they discover Hardcore Italians is located in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. The common assumption is that we are New York based. 

Although most Italian-Americans originally came to New York, there is also a very high population in other areas. These include Philly, Boston, Chicago, and more!

Italians in Chicago

In the early 2000s, over half a million people living in Chicago area identified themselves as being Italian or partially Italian. This ranks the city as one of the top 5 highest Italian populated areas in the United States.

The First Wave

Italians have been in Chicago since the 1850s. However, there were just a handful at the time (between 1,000-2,000 people). Most worked jobs such as merchants, restaurant workers, saloons, and real estate. 

The Second Wave

In the early 1900s, things began to ramp up dramatically. Millions of Italians from Southern Italy started to immigrate out of the country and into the United States for work opportunities.

Despite its interior location, the neighborhood around Chicago’s Taylor Street has been the port of call for many Italian-American immigrants. Being a large city, there were jobs available. These include railroad workers, construction workers, and other jobs involving physical labor. 

The Third Wave

After the post World War II area, Italians began to spread around the suburbs of the city. These include areas such as Elmwood Park, Melrose Park, Berwyn, Franklin Park, Cicero, River Grove, Norridge, Chicago Heights, and Harwood Heights. The Italian-American population grew as more generations were born. 

Sources

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