3 in 4 Illinois communities lost population in 2023

3 in 4 Illinois communities lost population in 2023

Chicago lost the most, but communities across Illinois lost population in 2023. Three-fourths of the cities and towns lost people.

Illinois’ population loss hit more than 75% of its cities, towns and villages in 2023. The biggest loser was Chicago, shedding over 8,200 residents.

Population decline in Illinois struck more than 75% of communities throughout the state last year, hitting communities of all sizes. In total, 980 of Illinois’ 1,294 incorporated places lost population from July 2022-July 2023, according to data released May 16 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Cities with a population of more than 100,000 residents together lost just over 9,200 people during 2023.

Cities with populations over 100,000 saw a decline at a rate of 2.53 per 1,000 residents. Populations under 100,000 overall saw a decline of 2.38 per 1,000. Small populations with under 10,000 people saw a rate of decline of 2.66 per 1,000, which is a faster rate of decline than larger cities. This is different than the previous year where larger cities saw a much higher rate of decline. Much of this can be attributed to Chicago’s decline slowing.

Chicago lost 8,208 residents from July 2022-July 2023, the third-largest decline for major cities, behind only New York and Philadelphia.

While population losses were less severe across the nation in 2023 than in recent years – likely because of slowed outmigration amid rising interest rates and home prices – Chicago has lost nearly 82,000 residents since April 2020, the second-most of any city in the nation and ahead of only New York.

Texas and Florida continue to be big beneficiaries of this population shakeup, with four of the five fastest-growing cities being in those states.

One key reason for this change is likely linked to taxes. Of the Illinoisans who left the state, 97% moved to lower-tax states, according to the most recent data available. High taxes have repeatedly been the No. 1 reason for Illinoisans to consider leaving. Polling from NPR Illinois and the University of Illinois found 61% of Illinoisans thought about moving out of state in 2019 and the No. 1 reason was taxes. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute found 47% of Illinoisans wanted to leave the state in 2016. It also found “taxes are the single-biggest reason people wanted to leave,” with 27% citing that motive.

While the slowing of population loss in Chicago provides a hint of hope for the future, recent CTU contract negotiations threaten to add an exorbitant financial strain on Chicago’s budget, and in turn on taxpayers’ pockets. Coupled with the city’s already sky-high property tax burden, CTU threatens to make it nearly impossible to reverse this flight from Chicago.

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