View Chicago Parade Attendance chart as an Interactive
Since the commencement of the annual gay pride march in 1970, the gay community in Chicago became more prominent. According to Chicago Pride, the following years brought upon more festive and less political feel to the marches. Further on, the popularity of the Chicago Pride Parade continued to expand as well as the routes walked by the participants. The march in 1981 took on the longest route to date, where the participants commenced the walk on Halstead and Addison and ended in the Lincoln Park Free Forum. The routes and prominence of the festivity are not the only factors that have expanded over the years, as the graphic shows, the attendance has increased as well.
Initially, it took about five years to notice a significant increase in attendance. From 1985 to 1990 the attendance increased only by 65,000 participants. From 1995 to 2000 the attendance increased by 175,000 marchers. From 2010 to 2011 we can see a significant increase within a year. The number of participants in the parade increased by 300,000 in 2011 totaling in 750,000 marchers.
The significant increase that took place in such a short amount of time can be due to the legalization of civil unions in Illinois. According to ABC 7 News, Governor Pat Quinn legalized civil unions in Illinois in 2011. The gay community and supporters took advantage of the Chicago Pride festivities to celebrate the new legislation. In the years to come, the attendance reached 1,000,000 participants when same-sex marriage in Illinois was legalized in 2014.