Illinois loses resident every 4 minutes, 18 seconds: like Springfield vanishing each year

Illinois loses resident every 4 minutes, 18 seconds: like Springfield vanishing each year

More Illinoisans fled for other states from July 2020-July 2021 than during any other year in recorded history, driving the state’s record population decline.

Illinois’ population declined by a record 113,776 residents from July 2020-July 2021, according to estimates released Dec. 21 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

While there were 2,778 more births than deaths in Illinois, and 5,766 net migrants gained from abroad, Illinois lost 122,460 residents on net to other states. The loss in residents to other states was the largest in state history.

Domestic outmigration has been the sole driver of Illinois’ population decline for eight consecutive years. The only state that’s population has been in decline longer, West Virginia, currently is suffering its ninth consecutive year of population decline.

Net outmigration has now hit all-time highs, with Illinois losing a resident every 4 minutes and 18 seconds to other states. During the course of an entire year, that’s the equivalent of losing more people than live in Springfield.

Historically speaking, the major reasons Illinoisans are choosing to leave the state are for better housing and employment opportunities, both of which have been made worse by poor public policy in Illinois. Nearly half of Illinoisans have thought about moving away, and they said taxes were their No. 1 reason. Population decline also contributes to the lower economic prospects of the state.

It remains unclear to what extent these factors contributed to Illinoisans moving out of state from 2020-2021. Other factors, such as pandemic-related job losses, school closures and government mandates could also be to blame.

What the new census data confirms is Illinois’ exodus has reached record levels. It is more of a problem now than ever, regardless of the cause.

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