Cook County population decline, outmigration 2nd-worst in U.S.

Cook County population decline, outmigration 2nd-worst in U.S.

94,344 residents moved out of Cook County, the sole reason for 2022 population decline.

 Cook County lost more population than almost any other county in the nation, with the exception of Los Angeles County, from July 2021 to July 2022, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released March 30.

The leading cause of the drop was 94,344 residents who moved out of Cook County during the year, completely driving the county’s population to shrink by 68,314 residents.

While Cook County had 6,350 more births than deaths, and welcomed 18,392 residents from abroad, 94,344 residents fled for other areas of the country, leading to a massive total drop in the population.

And residents aren’t just fleeing to nearby suburbs: every collar county is also seeing people leave. The entire region is experiencing a mass exodus.

The results are even worse when looking through a national lens. Cook County population decline and domestic outmigration are the second worst in the nation, behind only Los Angeles County.

While the five counties losing the most residents to other areas of the country are each located in high-tax environments in California, Illinois and New York, the counties experiencing the largest influx of people are in low-tax jurisdictions in Arizona, Texas and Florida.

The Chicago area’s population problems could get even worse if mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson’s tax proposals become reality. One of Johnson’s key campaign platforms is to drastically raise taxes. Johnson’s proposal calls for at least $800 million in new and increased taxes on what he calls “the suburbs, airlines and ultra-rich.” That plan will likely mean more businesses and residents fleeing the city.

An Illinois Policy Institute survey conducted by Echelon Insights Feb. 15-19 found 34% of Chicagoans would leave the city if given the opportunity, citing taxes and affordability as their No. 2 concern behind crime.

In their open responses, 39% cited the city’s near nation-leading taxes and the high cost of living as their main reason for wanting to leave.

Johnson’s tax plan would virtually guarantee the area continues to experience a mass exodus of residents well into the future.

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