Ecuadorians in Illinois

The presence of Ecuadorians in Chicago can be traced back to the mid-twentieth century. Ecuadorians came to Chicago primarily in two waves. Initially, they migrated to Chicago from the period between 1965 and 1976. They came from provinces such as Guayas, Pichincha, and Chimborazo, working primarily in, factories, retail, and the service industry. Ecuadorian businesses included travel and courier agencies, restaurants, and food and clothing stores, located primarily on Milwaukee, Division, and 26th Streets.

The second major wave of migration took place in the 1990s. These Ecuadorians came mainly from the highland provinces of Azuay and Canar. This wave of Ecuadorians depended on networks of family and friends to secure jobs in the restaurant and hotel industry for the men, and housekeeping and garment industries for the women.76

In 2000 there were 8,941 Ecuadorians in Chicago, making them the fifth-largest Latin American group in the city. And after New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, Chicago is the fourth U.S. city with the largest number of Ecuadorians.77 Ecuadorians live primarily in Logan Square, Albany Park, Uptown, and Lake View. There are smaller clusters in Irving Park, Belmont Cragin, Edgewater, and West Ridge. More recently, Ecuadorians have been moving to the suburbs of Skokie, Glenview, Des Plaines, Morton Grove, and Elgin.78

Ecuadorians have founded many organizations, such as the Ecuadorian Civic Society (founded in 1959), the Federation of Ecuadorian Entities, the Ecuadorian Lions Club, the Cotopaxi Foundation, the Social Association of Azuay, the Civic Society of Canar, and the Alausl Foundation. Religion has played a major role in preserving Ecuadorian traditions. The Ecuadorian community hosts annual events that include cultural exhibits, picnics, and parades.

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