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OECD Territorial Reviews: The Chicago Tri-State Metropolitan Area, United States 2012

image of OECD Territorial Reviews: The Chicago Tri-State Metropolitan Area, United States 2012

The OECD Territorial Review of the Chicago Tri-State metropolitan area, the first of its kind conducted by the OECD in the United States, assesses the region’s capacity to contribute effectively to regional and national economic performance and quality of life. The Review focuses on four thematic policy issues: i) the effectiveness and coordination of workforce development programmes in the Chicago Tri-State metro-region; ii) the metro-region’s capacity for innovation; iii) its role as a major centre for logistics in North America; and (iv) its capacity to encourage green growth over the long term. The review also focuses on the state of region-wide institutional collaboration and offers a vision for effective tri-state region-wide stakeholder engagement.  

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Assessment and recommendations

The Chicago Tri-State Metro-Region – the 14-county Chicago-Naperville Joliet Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) – is home to approximately 9.5 million people, of whom over 90% live in Illinois, less than 2% in Wisconsin and the remainder in Indiana. It is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country, and the tenth largest among the OECD Metro-Regions. Only Los Angeles and New York have larger populations within the US, all three being outstripped by Mexico City, Seoul and, especially Tokyo with its 35 million inhabitants. The City of Chicago, located essentially in Cook County but extending into parts of DuPage County near O’Hare international airport, has a population of 2.7 million (28% of the total metro population) and a population density about ten times higher than the region’s average. The fact that the region crosses state boundaries and encompasses a large number of municipal and other service-based administrative units poses particular challenges for its effective governance and development. Beyond the Chicago Tri-State Metro-Region, the 21-county Tri-State Region, sometimes referred to as the Gary-Chicago-Milwaukee corridor, is increasingly regarded by civic, business and political leaders as a common economic area, with nascent and growing commuting flows from the seven “external” counties into the Chicago Tri-State Metro-Region.

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