More than half of Forest Park’s residents identify as something other than “white alone” for what is believed to be the first time in the village’s history, according to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and released earlier this year.
Multiracial and Hispanic populations made the largest decennial gains in Forest Park from 2010 to 2020, mirroring a nationwide trend that saw the number of multiracial Americans climb to 33.8 million, nearly triple the total in 2010.
Among Forest Parkers, 8.1% now self-identify as part of two or more races, up from 2.8% in 2010. Hispanic or Latino residents make up 11.3% of the population (9.9% in 2010), while 30.9% of Forest Park residents identify as Black or African American, a slight dip from a decade earlier (32.3%).
Meanwhile, Forest Park residents who were “white alone” made up 49.6% of the village’s population in the most recent census, down from 55.2% in 2010. At the 1990 census, a whopping 76.6% of Forest Parkers were white.
Forest Park’s overall population ticked up slightly from 2010 and sits at 14,339, a growth of 172 residents. It marks a modest reversal of the major decline that characterized the first decade of the 2000s, when Forest Park’s population plunged from 15,688 in 2000 to just 14,167 in 2010.
The evolution of the racial makeup of Forest Park largely follows larger trends in the county, state and even nationwide. From 2010 to 2020, Cook County went from 55.4% to 44.5% white, with two or more races jumping from 2.5% to 10.4%. Statewide, white alone now represents 61.4% of the population, down from 71.5% in 2010.
The census bureau released an analysis in August that addressed data showing the county had become “much more multiracial and more diverse” and said the answer could be, in part, related to the way census questions were tweaked in 2020 to allow respondents more flexibility in how they identify.
Full census data has not been released for 2020, with additional information like age, housing and financial data unavailable as of Nov. 19.