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The West Side lies west of the Loop between Grand Avenue on the north and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on the south. About 600,000 Chicagoans live on the West Side, 50 percent of whom are black, and 29 percent are of Hispanic descent. Almost the entire remainder of the population is made up of non-Hispanic whites.

One of the city's chief industrial districts lies along the canal. It has many factories, rail yards, truck loading docks, and warehouses. Since the mid-1900's, however, many leading employers on the West Side have moved their operations to more spacious sites in Chicago's suburbs, taking thousands of jobs from the area.

Large sections of residential neighborhoods in the West Side include abandoned, decaying buildings. High crime rates and unemployment plague the residents. In several areas, however, community groups have undertaken restorations of run-down apartment buildings and houses. These projects are funded by businesses, foundations, and city government.

Like the South Loop, the West Side is poised to undergo massive revitalization. Greektown, Little Italy, the United Center, and a booming restaurant district are only a handful of areas in the West Side. Though known for its high crime rate and poverty, this area is quickly shaping up as contractors realize the potential of loft space and its appeal to the Loop-employed not ready for a commute from the suburbs.
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