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Harvey is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States, and a south suburb of Chicago. The population was 25,282 at the 2010 census. The city suffers from high levels of poverty (33.2%) and unemployment (22.0%). It also suffers from high levels of crime.
Harvey is bordered by Dixmoor and Riverdale to the north, Dolton, Phoenix, and South Holland to the east, East Hazel Crest to the south, and Hazel Crest, Markham and Posen to the west.
Harvey was founded in 1891 by Christian leader Turlington W. Harvey, a close associate of Dwight Moody, the founder of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Harvey was originally intended as a model town for Christian values and was one of the Temperance Towns; it was closely modeled after the company town of Pullman, which eventually was annexed into the city of Chicago.
The city saw its greatest growth during the 1950s, but by the 1990s it was losing population and its economy was in decline.
In the 2000s and 2010s, Mayor Eric Kellogg attempted to boost Harvey's economy with little success. Kellogg offered developers millions of dollars in incentives to revive the long vacant Dixie Square Mall. In another plan to redevelop the Chicago Park Hotel, a developer was given $10 million from the city but then abandoned the project, leaving behind a gutted building.
In February 2018, Harvey became the first city in Illinois which has its revenue garnished by the State to fund Harvey's pension liabilities.
As of the 2010 census, Harvey has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16.32 km2), all land.
Per the 2010 United States Census, Harvey had 25,282 people. Among non-Hispanics this includes 913 White (3.6%), 19,046 Black (75.3%), 199 Asian (0.8%), 33 Native American, and 267 from two or more races. The Hispanic or Latino population included 4,799 people (19.0%).
There were 7,947 households out of which 43.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.1% were married couples living together, 16.5% had a female householder with children & no husband present, and 28.7% were non-families. 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 26.2% had someone who was 65 years of age or older.
The population was spread out with 68.5% over the age of 18 and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.8 years. The gender ratio was 48.7% male & 51.3% female. Among 7,947 occupied households, 50.1% were owner-occupied & 49.9% were renter-occupied.
As of the census of 2000, there were 30,031 people, 8,990 households, and 6,760 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,842.2 people per square mile (1,868.2/km²). There were 10,158 housing units at an average density of 1,639.6 per square mile (632.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.57% African American, 10.02% White, 0.26% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 7.94% from other races, and 1.78% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.78% of the population.
There were 8,990 households out of which 39.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.4% were married couples living together, 31.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.8% were non-families. 20.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.30 and the average family size was 3.80.
In the city, the population was spread out with 35.1% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 8.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,958, and the median income for a family was $35,378. Males had a median income of $30,610 versus $25,248 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,336. About 20.3% of families and 21.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.8% of those under age 18 and 17.6% of those age 65 or over.
Harvey is in Illinois' 2nd congressional district.
The city faces severe financial problems. It failed to fund its police and fire pensions from 2010 to 2013, paying just $140 of its $10.1 million required contributions. Since 2007, it has refused to audit its municipal finances as required by the state, and the Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that during this time there was "a scheme to divert bond proceeds for improper purposes." As of September 2014, some aldermen were concerned the city could soon be unable to make payroll.
The city in 2017 was forced to pay almost $11 million in unpaid and underpaid pension fund contributions for the city's firefighters. A panel of judges on the Illinois First District Appellate Court in Chicago determined that Harvey's mayor and city Council had improperly abused their discretionary powers for years. According to the Cook County Record, "The case had landed in Cook County court in 2010, when the Board of Trustees of the City of Harvey Firefighters’ Pension Fund first filed suit against the city of Harvey, alleging chronic underfunding of the pension fund, which managed pension money for 67 retired firefighters, had left the fund teetering on the verge of insolvency."
Harvey Public School District 152 operates public elementary schools in most of Harvey. A portion of Harvey is within the Posen-Robbins School District 143½.
Thornton Township High Schools District 205 operates the public high school. The portion under the Posen-Robbins School District 143½ is a part of the Bremen High School District 228.
Harvey is located within Illinois Community College District 510.
Harvey is served by two stations along the Metra Electric University Park line to Chicago. One is at 147th Street (a.k.a. Sibley Boulevard) and Clinton Street, and the other is at Park Avenue and 154th Street. Eleven Pace bus routes serve Harvey and the Pace Harvey Transportation Center.
Three major north-south streets in Chicago venture as far south as Harvey in some capacity. Halsted Street (Illinois Route 1) runs through the east side of town. Dixie Highway, as it is known in Harvey, is Western Avenue in Chicago. Finally, Chicago's Ashland Avenue becomes Wood Street in Harvey. The reason for this is a surveyor's error along the line where Interstate 57 is now located; Harvey's street names and numbers conform to the section lines rather than actual distance from Chicago's base lines (as indicated by the jogs in Halsted Street near 150th Street and 159th Street between Harvey and Markham, as examples). Harvey's own Ashland Avenue serves as the east-west dividing line for house numbering.
The Dixie Square Mall, an abandoned shopping mall in Harvey, was the location where the famous car chase scene in the movie The Blues Brothers was shot. Although the mall was closed in November 1978, the makers of the film convinced the city to allow them to shoot the scene. The mall was remodeled and filled with stores for two days in order to shoot the scene. After filming was completed, the mall was boarded up and closed again. The main precinct of the Harvey Police Department was built on part of the old parking lot during the 1990s.
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