Any assessment of the state of human relations in the Chicago region needs to be multidimensional. At its most basic, such an assessment involves the quality of relationships, or relations, among individuals. Relations may manifest themselves in families, among friends, within neighborhoods, or in work, religious, educational, recreational or other social settings. There are no widely accepted measures of the quality of human relations, in part because different commentators view the subject differently. Quality human relations may have several outcomes: for people to be satisfied or experience a good quality of life; for people to be supportive and helpful to one another; or for people to treat one another fairly and equally.
In some social settings, individuals with common characteristics share a common fate or have similar life experiences and opportunities. Other social settings are marked more by differences among groups than commonalities. Such differences can be readily observed in the cases of different racial, ethnic, age or language groups; among persons sharing a gender or sexual orientation; or among the disabled. These social groupings seem to have the most impact on people's condition and identity.