Chicago is not the same city that it was 15 or even 5 years ago and the population continues to transform as it grows. For this reason, it's important to stay on top of the current trends in population and diversity to better shape your marketing decisions.
A recent report from Nielsen found that nearly 230 million adults listen to radio each week, and the vast majority of this time is spent outside the home. See how Chicago's variations in neighborhoods, household income, and overall population can inform your next radio campaign.
1. Population and Market Size
There are more than 2.7 million people living in Chicago, according to recent population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. And although the city has seen a slight decline in population over the past three years, Chicago remains the third largest city in the U.S. - behind only New York City and Los Angeles - and is by far the largest city in Illinois and the midwest.
Not surprising, Chicago is also the third largest radio market, according to Nielsen Audio. Since Chicago is such a large market, there is a range of stations that cater to various audiences. In fact, our three radio stations alone cover adult contemporary, top 40 hits, and classic rock, and collectively reach millions of engaged Chicago adults each week. Having access to such a large market provides marketers with options as they look to target specific demographics with their message.
2. Various Neighborhoods
Chicago is divided into 77 different community areas that are often grouped together into neighborhoods. Each neighborhood, or "side", of Chicago is well-defined and the areas do not really overlap. This information is particularly important if you combine radio and digital to reach a more targeted audience. For example, you can use geo-targeting by zip code to segment and retarget listeners with a digital ad in order to drive traffic into your store.
This is also a great reason why event marketing can be particularly useful if you do want to focus on specific areas within the city limits.
Understanding Chicago’s unique neighborhoods and geography can help you effectively target the right audience.
3. Household Incomes
The median household income for the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet area was $66,020 in 2016 (as reported by the Department of Numbers, from the Census ACS). That amount is more than $5,000 higher than the median Illinois household income and nearly $10,000 greater than the U.S. average.
Although the area’s median income has decreased slightly in the last few years, it hasn’t impaired families’ ability to make purchases, it just speaks to the constantly evolving and diversifying population. Households in the Chicago Metropolitan area spent, on average, $61,545 in 2015-2016 (via Bureau of Labor Statistics), with high expenditures in housing, transportation, and food.
4. Seasonal Impacts
Listeners interact with radio in different ways during the warmer months. In fact, Nielsen has found that there is a significant boost of up to 10% in listeners during the summer months, with the biggest lifts in Classic Hits and Classic Rock.
This can be attributed to people listening to the radio as they spend more time in their car - traveling or spending time with friends and family - instead of staying inside during the cold winter months. However, this certainly doesn’t mean that consumers aren’t alive and well during the winter, because they are! Radio’s reach continues to be a powerhouse year-round and is perfectly paired with digital advertising to really boost your marketing’s frequency and ultimately your ROI.
5. Listener Ages
People of all ages are tuning into radio stations, and listening regularly. Statista.com shows that more than 67.8 million Americans in the coveted 18-34 age range listen to the radio on a weekly basis, and more than 125.4 million Americans listen who are aged 18-49.
Learning more about the demographics and psychographics of radio listeners in the Chicago area will help you better understand the market and effectively target your messaging to the right audience.