Illinois’ population shrinks for 9th straight year

Illinois’ population shrinks for 9th straight year

Record outmigration in 2022 pushed Illinois’ population change into the red for the 9th straight year, the second-longest streak in the nation, the Census Bureau reported.

Illinois’ population declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2022, with a record 104,437 residents lost from July 2021-July 2022, according to estimates released Dec. 22 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The only state that’s population has been in decline longer than Illinois, West Virginia, currently is suffering its 10th consecutive year of population decline.

New York, which was the only state to suffer from a larger decline relative to population size, has experienced population decline for seven straight years. Of Illinois’ neighboring states, only Michigan is currently experiencing consecutive years of population decline, indicating something unique is driving people out of Illinois.

Traditionally, the major reasons Illinoisans are choosing 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. 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.

The record number of residents who left Illinois this year 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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