06/23/2010 04:39 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Chicago Population Grows As Fewer Can Afford To Leave

Chicago's population grew by roughly 21,000 people in the year between July 2008 and July 2009, but perhaps not for the reasons we might like.

Due to poor economic conditions, population shifts slowed across the board in that year, as people and families could ill afford to pack up and move.

From the Chicago Sun-Times' report on the data:

"People are sort of being frozen in place by the recession," said Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute.

Johnson said that factors that used to motivate movement, such as making a lot of money on your house, no longer exist.

"And opportunity elsewhere is not as evident as it once was," he said.

This is reflected in figures for Sun Belt cities, such as Phoenix, Las Vegas and Fort Myers, Fla., where population growth slowed significantly.

For Chicago, this meant that only 3,500 people left the city for greener pastures in the year in question. This emigration was more than replaced by immigrants to the city as well as new-born Chicagoans.

This marks the third consecutive year in which Chicago's population has grown: in the previous year, it also increased by more than 20,000, while from July 2006 to July 2007, there were roughly 6,000 more Chicagoans.

Chicago remains the third-largest city in the nation, with an estimated 2,851,268 people living in the city proper.