Newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that median household incomes fell in roughly a third of Evanston’s census tracts during the past decade.

Comparing the new 2020 data from the American Community Survey to inflation-adjusted data from 2010 indicates that incomes fell in portions of west and central Evanston as well as in one tract in northwest Evanston.

But four other other census tracts showed growth in incomes of 30% or more.

One 2010 census tract was split in two for the 2020 census, so the latest data for tracts 8094.01 and 8094.02 east of the Metra tracks in and around downtown Evanston is not comparable to the 2010 figure for the combined area.

It is possible that the 2020 numbers were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in many workers in service industries losing their jobs or experiencing at least temporary layoffs.

One caution in evaluating the data is that these numbers are based on surveys, rather than the decennial census that attempts a complete count of the population, and so the margin of error for geographies as small as a census tract can be fairly large.

Looking at Evanston from the ZIP Code level, data shows that inflation-adjusted median incomes declined by 0.15% from 2011 to 2020 in the 60201 ZIP Code that includes the portion of the city north of Dempster Street, while incomes increased by 11.33% in the 60202 ZIP Code south of Dempster Street.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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