THE BROOKFIELD COMMUNITY
The Village of Brookfield is located 13 miles west of downtown Chicago in Cook County, Illinois. Brookfield is an established inner-ring suburb of Chicago, a "bedroom community", of 3.1 square miles.
The Village of Brookfield is well positioned for convenient access to and from the City of Chicago and the Chicago Region. Ogden Avenue (U.S. Route 34) passes through the Village, and Interstate 290 and Interstate 55 are located within close proximity. There are three Metra stations within Brookfield along the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe railway, providing service to the City of Chicago to the east, and Aurora to the west.
The findings and recommendations set forth in this report are based on a combination of several data resources and research methods. Listed below are the tasks completed for the demographic overview and market analysis of Brookfield.
- Conducted interviews with Village staff and representatives of the real estate industry regarding Brookfield and the market conditions in the community for the 2020 Master Plan. A list of persons interviewed for this project is provided in Appendix B – Community Outreach.
- Surveyed residential units, both attached and detached, recently completed residential developments, and projects currently under construction to help assess the future residential potentials in Brookfield.
- Surveyed the existing retail development areas in Brookfield to determine current market conditions and potential future competition.
- Analyzed secondary data describing demographics, employment, and real estate trends at the trade level, municipal, and regional levels. Sources include the United States Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Claritas, Inc., the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC), and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) of Greater Chicago.
- Collected supplementary information from the Village of Brookfield’s website.
In order to understand market conditions and potentials within the area, the Consultant analyzed demographic trends at the Village and metropolitan levels. Demographic characteristics of the population play an important role in the development and redevelopment of Brookfield. Population, age, income, race, employment, and education variables influence which retailers will consider locating in Brookfield, as well as indicate the potential buyer profile for residential units.
This section provides an evaluation of historic trends in population and housing change within Brookfield, as well as a current snapshot of key demographics in Cook County and the greater Chicago region. In addition, comparisons to the nearby communities of Westchester, Riverside, LaGrange, and Countryside are included in this report as a way to understand the competitive advantages Brookfield offers. An understanding of the growth and composition of the local population provides an important foundation for the Brookfield 2020 Master Plan. Estimates for 2003 and forecasts for 2008 and 2020 are included in the overview.
The analysis highlights the key findings and conclusions reached by the Consultant. The demographic overview includes an assessment of (1) population and household characteristics; (2) racial and ethnic identification; (3) housing unit characteristics; and (4) income and employment statistics. In order to analyze trends, 1980, 1990 and 2000 data have been included.
In order to make the figures more meaningful, it is useful to compare a community within a larger context. The Village of Brookfield, Cook County, Illinois falls within the Chicago-Gary-Kenosha Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Data from that MSA and Cook County are utilized in this analysis.
Village of Brookfield: Summary of Trends
Brookfield is a well-known community, particularly because it is home to the world-famous Brookfield Zoo. Brookfield is an established inner-ring suburb of Chicago, a "bedroom community", of 3.1 square miles. Brookfield is a stable middle-class community experiencing little to no population growth. The population is very family-oriented. The housing stock is older, but solid and well maintained. Most of the residents of Brookfield are long-term residents. While population, social, and housing characteristics have remained fairly stable over the last 20 years, there are still some changes occurring in Brookfield that have implications for long-range planning.
The following highlights the major trends that describe the Village of Brookfield:
- Little population change
- Homogeneous population in terms of racial/ethnic identification
- Very low residential vacancy rate
- Stable housing stock
- Solid, middle-class income
- Very low poverty rate
- Well-educated population; large percentage of professionals
Demographic Issues and Concerns
Based on the following demographic section, some issues and concerns related to population and housing have been identified and should be considered as the Village continues to plan for the future:
- Little population change - Current trends suggest that Brookfield will continue to experience little population growth. This could have an impact on the overall image and character of the Brookfield community in the future, as well as on the local tax base, housing stock, local businesses and municipal services. Brookfield will likely continue to be a stable residential community, but the Village should consider marketing and promoting itself to ensure that the community continues to attract residents.
- Very low vacancy rate and stable housing stock –Brookfield’s housing stock is affordable and well maintained. Housing values are above average and vacancy rates are low. However, the majority of the housing stock is mature, having been built in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The Village should continue to ensure adequate housing maintenance through the establishment and enforcement of a property maintenance code. Recognizing that the housing stock is mature, the Village should consider home improvement assistance programs to maintain its older and architecturally diverse housing stock. As new housing development occurs, either through teardowns or new development on vacant land, new trends in housing needs and preferences should be considered. The Village may want to promote different types of infill housing development, and take the changing needs of the population into consideration.
- Solid median household income and very low poverty rate - Brookfield has a middle-class population. This suggests not only the continuance of support for local businesses, but also the ability of the Village to continue to provide community services in the future. Based on household income, residents have different needs for public services, and the Village should take those needs into consideration when planning for municipal services. In addition, the quality and type of the housing stock are influenced by the household incomes in the community, which also need to be considered. Well-educated population; becoming more "white collar" - The Village should seek to retain and attract well-educated residents, by providing high quality municipal services, cultural amenities, well-maintained housing stock, and an overall superior quality of life.
Specific numbers and percentages are presented in detail in the following section.
Population and Households
- Brookfield’s official population count in 2000 was 19,085 persons. In 2000, the population of the Chicago region was 9,157,540 persons. Cook County’s population was 5,376,741.
- The population of Brookfield has decreased slightly over the last 20 years. From 1980-2000, the population decreased by about 310 citizens, a 1.6% decrease. However, the population increased by 1.1% over the ten-year period of 1990-2000, which indicates that Brookfield is beginning to draw residents into the Village again.
- The 2003 population is estimated at 18,847 persons. The population is projected to be around 18,471 in 2008. According to projections done by NIPC, Brookfield’s population is expected to be between approximately 18,140-18,542 in 2020, a slight decrease of approximately 543-945 people, depending on the outcome of the O’Hare airport expansion.
- Household formation generally exceeds the rate of population growth, largely as a result of the increase in single-person households, longer life expectancies, single-parent households and the rate of divorce.
- Brookfield is generally following the larger regional trends. Brookfield had 7,249 households in 2000. Looking at the twenty-year trend, Brookfield has seen a small increase in the number of households (3.2%), even though the overall population has decreased.
- Brookfield’s 2000 average household size has remained constant since 1980, when it was 2.5 persons per household. In both Cook County and the MSA, the average number is 2.7 persons per household.
- The majority (66.8%) of households in Brookfield are family households; 52.5% are married-couple families, and 33.2% are non-family households, indicating a strong family orientation.
- The 2003 estimated number of households is 7,429 and the 2008 projection is 7,243. By the year 2020, NIPC projects that Brookfield will have between 7,744-7,557 households, a minor increase in households from the 2000 Census.
- Brookfield has a slightly older population profile as compared to the region. In Brookfield, the percent of the population over eighteen is estimated at 76.1%; while in Cook County, the estimate is 74%, and 73.1% in the MSA.
- The median age in Brookfield is higher than that of the surrounding communities. The 2000 median age of Brookfield residents is 38 years, compared to 33.6 years in Cook County and 33.9 in the Chicago MSA.
- The age cohort with the most change is the 18-24/20-24 year olds, with a 74% decrease in population over 20 years. The 25-44 years cohort made the greatest increase (13.7%). This is not surprising, given the 18-24/20-24 year olds have aged into the next cohort. The 25-44 year old age cohort is the largest group in most communities.
- The elderly population has increased by 4.1% over 20 years, reflective of the overall aging of the country’s population. Brookfield has a higher percent of the population that is over the age of 65 than the rest of Cook County and the MSA.
- The vast majority of Brookfield’s population identifies themselves as "White" (93.5%). This proportion has stayed fairly constant over the last 20 years. Over the ten-year period of 19902000, the population saw some very minor changes in composition. However, looking at the 20-year trend, the population has seen some changes. While the percent changes may look high, the absolute (numeric) changes have been small. The only growing minority is the "Hispanic/Latino", which has tripled in population between 19802000, but still comprises a small percent of the community. Overall, Brookfield’s racial composition has remained very stable.
- The 2003 estimates are nearly identical to the 2000 Census data. Five-year (2008) projections of race and ethnicity are not available at this time, but it is unlikely that the racial/ethnic demographics will change significantly. The next census may show more changes --- in particular, the growing "Hispanic/Latino" sector, which is expected to grow nationwide.
- The number of housing units in Brookfield has increased slightly over the last 20 years. Between the years 1980-2000, Brookfield’s housing stock increased by 308 units, from 7,459 to 7,767. The current estimate of housing units in the Village is 7,644, a decrease of 23 housing units over three years (2000-2003).
- The Village has a very low vacancy rate (2.8%). The vacancy rate has stayed low over the last twenty years. The low vacancy rate is a sign of consistently high demand for housing. Compared to the County (5.7%) and the region (5.3%), Brookfield’s vacancy rate is even lower.
- Brookfield is a community of homeowners. In the most recent census, most of the housing units in Brookfield are owner-occupied (74.7%) as opposed to renter-occupied (25.3%). The previous two censuses have shown a high owner-occupancy rate of 74.9% and 75.2%, respectively. Brookfield has a higher owner-occupancy rate than Cook County (57.9%) and the region (65.2%).
- Brookfield has an older housing stock. According to the 2000 Census, the largest percent of homes in the Village fall into the "built between 1940-1959" category. Only about 4.4% of the homes built in Brookfield have been built since 1980.
- Housing values in Brookfield are comparable to the region. The 2000 Census indicates a median home value of $151,600. Cook County’s was $157,700, and the median home value in the region was $159,000.
Income and Employment
- Brookfield has a fairly well-educated population, with almost all of its residents having a high school diploma or higher (87.8%). About 10.1% of residents have a college education.
- Brookfield’s work force is mainly white collar. The largest segment of the employed population is in the management, professional and related occupations (36.2%). Sales and office occupations comprise the next largest segment of the population, approximately 33.0% percent in 2000.
- Much of the population of Brookfield is in the medium to medium/high income brackets. The median household income in 1999 was estimated at $52,636 and has increased over three years to an estimated $60,371.
- The 1999 estimated median household income for Brookfield ($52,636) is slightly higher than other communities in the area. Cook County’s median household income was $45,922; the region’s was $51,046.
- The poverty rate in Brookfield is comparatively low. Brookfield’s estimated individual poverty rate in 2000 was 4.3%. Cook County’s poverty rate was 13.5% in 1999. The MSA had an estimated poverty rate of 10.5%.
Comparisons to Nearby Communities
Key demographics of the nearby communities of Westchester, Riverside, LaGrange, and Countryside are highlighted below as a way to understand the competitive advantages Brookfield offers. All communities are established, "inner ring" western suburban municipalities, but they do differ in various aspects.
- Brookfield has the largest population of the five western suburban communities that were used in this comparison. Countryside is the smallest community.
- The median age in Westchester is 44 years, which is higher than Brookfield (38). Brookfield and LaGrange’s median age is almost identical (LaGrange’s is 37.8).
- Westchester has the highest percentage of population over 18. Brookfield and Riverside have identical populations over the age of 18 (76.1%).
- Brookfield, Riverside, and Countryside have a very similar percent of their population who is over the age of 65 (all close to 15%-16%), which places them between LaGrange and Westchester.
- Brookfield has the largest "Hispanic/Latino" population of the communities compared (8.1%). However, the overall population composition of Brookfield is rather homogeneous, with 93.5% of the population identified as "White".
- Riverside and LaGrange have the most well-educated population in both the high school graduate and bachelor’s degree categories. Brookfield’s percent of adults with a high school diploma is similar to that of surrounding communities, however, the college-educated population is the smallest in Brookfield.
- Brookfield is close to LaGrange in terms of average family size (3.1 and 3.2 persons, respectively). All of the communities compared are very close to three persons per family. The average household size for all communities is close to 2.5 persons per household, which is the average for Brookfield.
- The owner-occupancy and renter-occupancy rates in Brookfield are similar to Countryside and Riverside. Westchester has the highest owner-occupancy rate and the lowest renter-occupied rate of the communities compared.
- LaGrange has the highest median home value, while Brookfield has the lowest home value of the communities compared. However, as was stated in the Housing section above, Brookfield’s home values are very similar to that of Cook County and the rest of the region.
- LaGrange has the highest median household income. Brookfield’s median household income is between that of Countryside and Westchester.
- While the poverty rate in Brookfield is slightly higher than nearby communities, it is still significantly lower than that of the county and the region.
Brookfield, Illinois: Demographic Comparisons, 2000
|65 and older||15.2%||25.4%||15.4%||13.5%||15.7%|
|Black or African American||0.9%||7.2%||0.3%||6.0%||2.2%|
|Education (population age 25+)|
|High school graduate or higher||87.8%||89.0%||93.6%||92.7%||84.3%|
|Bachelor's degree or higher||10.1%||30.8%||51.1%||55.0%||23.0%|
|Average family size||3.1||2.9||3.1||3.2||2.9|
|Average household size||2.5||2.4||2.5||2.7||2.3|
|Total housing units||7,753||7,123||3,668||5,781||2,818|
|Vacant housing units||2.8%||1.5%||3.2%||2.7%||5.6%|
|Median value of owner-occupied units||$ 151,600||$ 168,900||$ 264,200||$ 271,800||$ 201,600|
|Median household||$ 52,636||$ 59,928||$ 64,931||$ 80,342||$ 45,469|
|Per capita||$ 24,307||$ 29,634||$ 34,712||$ 34,887||$ 25,449|
|Individuals below poverty level||4.3%||2.5%||3.0%||4.0%||3.7%|