This morning the U.S. Census released new data on national population trends and reported that over the last year, Illinois suffered the greatest population loss in the nation. From July 2015 to July of this year, Illinois lost 114,144 residents to other states, on net. This massive exodus to other states caused Illinois’ overall population to decline by 37,508 people, the U.S. Census reported.
“Picture the entire city of Peoria packing up and moving across state lines – that’s how severe Illinois’ out-migration was over the last year,” said Michael Lucci, vice president of policy at the Illinois Policy Institute. “People are leaving Illinois at record rates. They’re tired of watching the state’s pension debt climb as lawmakers ignore the problem. They’re tired of an expensive workers’ compensation system, and a dangerously ill economic climate. It’s time for lawmakers to make massive reforms and send a strong signal that the direction of Illinois is changing.”
Illinois is the only Midwestern state that experienced population loss in 2016, for the third year in a row.
Economic experts at the Illinois Policy Institute have studied the state’s migration and population trends intensely over the past five years. Countless reports find residents fleeing Illinois for states with with lower taxes and better job opportunities. Heavy population losses on Census migration reports have always been followed by IRS migration reports showing the people who left took substantial earning power with them. The most recent IRS data show that Illinois loses $32,000 of taxable income every 5 minutes, on net.
Lucci said the Census data should send a strong signal to state lawmakers before the start of the new legislative session in January.