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By Orin Hargraves

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Broadway, is north of Madison Street; a street address such as 2200 W. Belmont, is west of State Street; and so forth for the other directions. The intersection of State and Madison, which is in the Loop, is also the origination point, or baseline, of house numbers: the first address on State Street (or any other northsouth street) north of Madison Street is 1 or 2 N. State Street. By the same token, the first address on Madison Street (or any other east-west street) west of State Street is 1 or 2 W.

Among American cities, it ranks fourth (after New York, Los Angeles and Miami) as a destination for immigrants, with the majority of arrivals (four in five) coming from Mexico, Poland and India, in that order. The most recent statistics available show that about 40,000 foreigners obtain legal residence in Chicagoland each year. The majority of newcomers today join family members who are already here and who came in the previous generation or perhaps only a few years ago. Chicago remains the cultural and ethnic mélange that it has been historically, with slightly different ingredients.

What then makes Chicago different? Why are 8 million people here instead of somewhere else? Chicago today is a multicultural and multiracial city, similar to nearly all cities in the Western world. It is not as cosmopolitan as many coastal cities and many national capitals, but it still boasts a wide spectrum of national enclaves. A hundred years ago, Chicago was in many senses more cosmopolitan than it is today. Then, 75 per cent of Chicagoans were either foreign-born or first generation Americans; today it is closer to 30 per cent.

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