Census: 97% of Illinoisans moving out head to lower-tax states

Census: 97% of Illinoisans moving out head to lower-tax states

State-to-state migration estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau showed Illinois lost residents to 36 states and Washington, D.C. Nearly all the former Illinoisans moved to lower-tax states.

New Census Bureau data confirms Illinois’ massive tax burden is driving away residents: 97% of the nearly 116,000 residents who left Illinois last year went to states with lower taxes.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released new state-to-state migration data showing where Illinoisans moved during 2022 as part of the American Community Survey. The estimates show 115,719 Illinoisans left the state on net and Illinois lost residents to 36 states and Washington, D.C.

Illinois lost the most residents to Florida (21,184); Indiana (17,223); Wisconsin (14,605); Iowa (7,972); Texas (5,323); Arizona (5,246); and Tennessee (5,182).

More broadly speaking, Illinois is losing virtually all of its net migrants to lower-tax states. Of the nearly 116,000 residents who left on net, more than 97% (112,748) went to states with state and local tax burdens lower than Illinois’, while less than 3% (2,971) went to states with higher tax burdens.

These results are further evidence of what Illinoisans routinely tell pollsters: high taxes are the No. 1 reason why Illinoisans consider leaving the state. 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 want to leave the state, and “taxes are the single biggest reason people want to leave” with 27% of respondents citing taxes as the motive for departing in 2016. More recent polling conducted by Echelon Insights in 2023 substantiate these sentiments.

Illinoisans face the highest state and local tax burden in the Midwest and have seen their taxes increase at one of the fastest rates in the nation in recent years. More specifically,  Illinois’ property taxes – often the largest tax burden for Illinoisans – are the second-highest in the nation; gasoline taxes are also the second-highest in the nation; the combined state and average local sales tax rate is eighth-highest in the nation. Meanwhile, Illinois’ income tax endured the largest permanent rate hike in state history in 2017.

While some organizations have drawn misleading conclusions about Illinois’ population decline and outmigration crises – which have been continuously affirmed by data from the Census Bureau, IRS, and moving companies U-Haul, United Van Lines and Allied Van Lines – the latest estimates released Oct. 19 by the Census Bureau continue to confirm Illinois is losing population because people are moving to other states.

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