4b MissionInsite

Comment on your congregation’s MissionInsite report with data for your neighborhood(s) or area.

UCCDG is located in the village of Downers Grove, and borders six communities: the city of Darien and the villages of Lisle, Lombard, Oak Brook, Westmont, and Woodridge. Downers Grove is an established suburb in DuPage County, 22 miles west of Chicago. The Mission Insite report only covers the zip code of 60515 which is half of Downers Grove. We looked beyond that narrow segment for much of the information listed below.

Compared to Illinois overall and the United States

  • Downers Grove is a significantly wealthier suburb.

  • Household income, educational attainment, and employment rates are higher

  • The poverty rate is less than half that of the state and country. 

  • The median age is slightly older

  • The village is less diverse across most races

  • There are more English-only speaking households

  • There are considerably fewer households where a language other than English is spoken. 

What trends and opportunities are shown?
Westmont is more racially diverse than the surrounding communities with the lowest median household income ($76,543), the highest poverty rate (11.4%), and a lower educational attainment (Bachelor's degree or higher: 48.6%) than surrounding areas. With such close proximity to Downers Grove, Westmont represents an opportunity to live our values of embracing diversity, valuing all people, and serving our local communities.

2020 US Census data show the following summary demographics for Downers Grove.


Population: 50,247

Median Household Income: $105,217

Employment Rate: 63%   

Poverty Rate: 5.2%   

Bachelor’s Degree or Higher: 59.8%   

Median Age: 42.8

Population by Race: 

          White – 81.9%   

          Black or African American – 3.7% 

          American Indian and Alaska Native – 0.2%

          Asian – 5.9%   

          Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander – 0% 

          Some Other Race – 1.6%   

          Two or More Races – 6.7%

Population by Ethnicity:

Hispanic or Latino – 6.8% 

Not Hispanic or Latino – 80.2%  

English-only speaking households: 85.5%   

Language other than English spoken at home: 14.5%  

How do your congregation's internal demographics compare or contrast to a) the neighborhoods adjacent to your church and b) other neighborhoods with which your church connects?

Our church membership is a blend of white-collar professionals with blue-collar laborers and is predominantly White (90+%) along with Asian American, African American, Hispanic American and Native American members. This racial mix mirrors our immediate surrounding communities of Lisle, Lombard, Oak Brook, Westmont, Darien, and Woodridge with slightly different percentages. 

We are more liberal and progressive than much of our surrounding area.  We use our time, talents and treasure to reach our helping hands both outward and upward to those in need around us regardless of their background. We live our Mission, Vision, and Values statement as we continue to become a more Equitable, Diverse and Inclusive (EDI) congregation.

Downers Grove’s adjacent communities are also more affluent than the rest of Illinois and the US. This includes higher median incomes and employment rates, lower poverty rates, and remarkably higher educational attainment rates of at least a Bachelor’s degree. The village of Downers Grove is the least racially diverse of the seven communities, and Westmont and Woodridge are the most diverse. 

Downers Grove is most similar to Lisle and Darien when comparing income and education. Lombard, Westmont, and Woodridge have lower household incomes and less educational attainment than Downers Grove. Of note, Woodridge has the lowest poverty rate of the seven communities, at 4.5%. 


It is worth noting the two "outlier" communities reached by UCCDG: Westmont and Oak Brook. Both villages are east of Downers Grove but represent very different communities. Oak Brook is the smallest and wealthiest community (median income: $146,409), and most highly educated (67.3% with at least a Bachelor's degree). Oak Brook is also older with a median age of 53.9, has the largest Asian population of the six communities (32.8.%), and has the highest percentage of languages other than English spoken at home (36.5%). 

By comparison, Westmont is more racially diverse than the surrounding communities, as mentioned. The village has the lowest median household income ($76,543), the highest poverty rate (11.4%), and lower educational attainment (Bachelor's degree or higher: 48.6%) than surrounding areas. With such close proximity to Downers Grove, Westmont represents an opportunity for outreach and service through our church

How are the demographics of the community currently shaping ministry, or not? 

Hope’s Front Door (HFD) is an excellent example of how the demographics of our community shape our ministries. Former Associate Minister Laura Hoglund led a group of local clergy and community activists who created this ministry 22 years ago to better serve people who were turning to individual churches for assistance. 

Today, HFD is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, supported by numerous area churches including ours, foundations, businesses, community organizations and individual donors. In 2022, HFD served approximately 6,500 individuals & families - a 51% increase in the total number of households served and 102% increase in the number of new households served compared to the previous year. 

Our Senior Minister Scott Oberle currently serves on the HFD board. Several of our church members volunteer at HFD, helping residents access food and transportation as well as health and wellness services. Our church and its members participate in fundraising activities, school supply and coat drives, and serve as volunteers in their Pathways programs, which teach money management and life skills to help residents change their own life’s trajectory. HFD contracts significant office space on the 6th floor of our church building

Demographics and urgent need shaped the creation of the Community Kitchen and our involvement and support of PADS. 

With our surrounding community of DuPage County having approximately 73,000 people living below the poverty line with many more on the edge, our work with the Community Kitchen and PADS is a clear reflection of how that demographic has shaped that ministry.

What do you hear when you talk to community leaders and ask them what your church is known for?

“You are from the church that cares.”

“It is pretty incredible what your church does in this community. I had no idea that you were here until I needed help.”

“I wish our church did more things like this. You guys actually help people physically – isn’t that what following Jesus is all about, helping people in need?”

From the Village Council and Mayor: “We came to you first to talk about homelessness and maybe solicit some help from you and your perspective because we know your church has always been active in this kind of work in our community.”

Due to the cordial relationship that we have with the Mayor of Downers Grove, Robert Barnett, we asked him to respond to this question directly. Here is his response:

"When we think of UCCDG we think of part of the core of our community. Physically in the Central Business District, the UCCDG is immediately and physically connected with the heart of our community. And UCCDG is a reliable partner in creating an environment of acceptance and care for all within Downers Grove. Beyond the daily spiritual care of its members, UCCDG is often at the center and exhibits leadership in caring for our community. From hosting public forums to feeding and sheltering our less fortunate, to creating a space and fostering the arts ... UCCDG is part of what defines Downers Grove."

Robert T. Barnett, Mayor

Village of Downers Grove

What do new people in the church say when asked what got them involved?

Many of our new members used to be Catholic and were looking for something else. Here are the themes we heard (the top three are what we hear the most):

  1. We love Pastor Scott and his preaching

  2. Impressed with our social justice outreach efforts (PADS, etc.)

  3. Not Catholic anymore, looking for a more accepting church/theology

  4. Friendly people

  5. We know somebody who goes there

  6. Open and Affirming