Illinoisans in moving vans drives 10th straight population drop

Illinoisans in moving vans drives 10th straight population drop

People choosing to move out of Illinois led to the 10th consecutive year of population decline, new data from U.S. Census Bureau shows. Politicians can change that.

Moves out of Illinois caused a 10th year of population decline – 32,826 residents from July 2022-July 2023, according to estimates released Dec. 19 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

A decade of Illinois decline means only one state has been losing longer: West Virginia. It currently is suffering its 11th consecutive year of population decline.

Illinois continues to see a natural increase in population as births outpace deaths, but by an increasingly narrow margin. It also is gaining residents from abroad. But so many people are moving out of Illinois to other states – domestic migration – that the state’s total population is in decline.

Estimates from the Census Bureau show there were 10,453 more births than deaths in Illinois, 40,492 net migrants gained from abroad, but 83,839 residents lost on net to other states.

When taxes were not a response option, surveys of those who have left the state showed the major reasons were for better housing and employment opportunities. Both have been made worse by poor public policy in Illinois.

High taxes were the No. 1 reason 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 in 2016. It also found “taxes are the single biggest reason people want to leave,” with 27% citing that motive. More recent polling conducted by Echelon Insights in 2023 substantiated these sentiments.

A 10th year of population decline, especially when driven by residents choosing to leave Illinois, should be a wake-up call to the state’s leaders. Politicians need to listen when people reject what they are offering. If they ease the tax burden and reduce arduous business regulations, they can make it easier for Illinoisans to stay.

Illinois should be a destination, not a leader in departures.

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