Illinois population drops for 10th year in a row during 2023

Illinois population drops for 10th year in a row during 2023

People moving out of Illinois led to the 10th consecutive year of population decline, new Census Bureau data shows.

Illinois’ population declined by 32,826 residents from July 2022-July 2023, according to estimates released Dec. 19 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

This marks the 10th consecutive year of population decline for Illinois, according to census estimates. The only state that’s population has been in decline longer, West Virginia, currently is suffering its 11th consecutive year of population decline.

Surveys of those who have left the state – where taxes are not a response option – showed the major reasons Illinoisans have chosen to leave the state have been for better housing and employment opportunities, both of which have been made worse by poor public policy in Illinois.

High taxes were the No. 1 reason why Illinoisans considered 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 wanted 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 substantiated those sentiments.

A 10th year of residents leaving Illinois should be a wake-up call to the state’s leaders, who refuse to adopt policies that would make it easier for residents to stay in Illinois. Reforms that would ease Illinoisans’ tax burden or reduce arduous business regulations are needed to make the state more affordable and stop the departures.

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