Escaping Illinoisans sound common call: Anywhere but here
Imagining the Midwest as one big balloon with Illinois in the center might help illustrate what has happened recently: The middle of the balloon is being squished, meaning the rest of the balloon is expanding.
Recent U.S. Census data shows that not only is Illinois' population shrinking because residents are fed up with high taxes and political nonsense, but also that the states around it are growing. In other words, people are leaving Illinois but not going very far -- just far enough to save money, it seems.
Michael Lucci, a vice president of policy at the Illinois Policy Institute, wrote about the Census data recently, pointing out that 21 out of the 29 Illinois cities with 50,000 residents or more lost population between July 2015 and July 2016.
In fact, Chicago shrank more than any other U.S. city and was the only one of the 20 largest cities in the country to lose more people than it gained. It dealt with a cumulative loss of 8,000 residents in the time covered.
In polls, Illinois residents cite higher taxes as the primary factor motivating them to move to neighboring states, Lucci wrote.
The data show that Illinois has experienced an overall net loss of 329,000 residents between 2006 and 2015. The data reveal that Illinois’ net migration loss has nearly ben all to its bordering states in the last decade.
The statistics indicate that between July 2015 to July 2016 85,976 residents migrated north to Wisconsin; 47,731 moved to Iowa; 72,834 went to Missouri; 119,165 migrated east to Indiana; 13, 490 southeast into Kentucky; and 10.475 to Michigan, mainly in the last two years of the data.
According to the Census data, Illinois’ border states have 58 cities with more than 50,000 people, with 38 of them growing.
According to the article, in October 2016, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll released a poll showing that 47 percent of Illinois residents surveyed said they want to leave the state and cited taxes as the number one reason.
Lucci adds that according to a recent poll of Illinois voters by the Illinois Policy Institute, residents do not support raising taxes to balance the state’s budget deficit.,
The Census data show that from July 2015 to July 2016, Peoria followed Chicago with a loss of 853 residents; Rockford with a loss of 771 residents; Springfield with a loss of 748 residents; Cicero with a loss of 667 residents; and Decatur with a loss of 621 residents.
On a per capita basis, Decatur’s population is shrinking more than any other Illinois. Based on the data, the city’s population shrank by 8.5 people per 1,000 residents, indicating that or every 1,000 people in 2015, there were 8.5 fewer people in the city in 2016.
The data show that on a per capita basis Berwyn, Cicero, Peoria and Oak Park all reduced in population by more than seven people per 1,000 residents.
Lucci writes that “most of these cities are shrinking because there are so many people leaving for other parts of the country. Those losses to other parts of the country outweigh the normal population gains experienced across the state from having more births than deaths, and having a small inflow of international immigrants.”
He adds that eight of these larger Illinois cities, however, did experience population growth year over year, with Champaign the only Illinois city that had more than 1 percent population growth, “fueled almost entirely by the arrival of international students at the University of Illinois.”
The data show that only eight of 29 Illinois cities with populations of 50,000 or more are growing.