Moving company: Illinois tops list for outbound moves in 2017
A series of recent reports have illustrated the severity of the Land of Lincoln’s outmigration trend.
At a time when people nationwide resolve to shed a few pounds, Illinois rang in the New Year with news that it shed nearly 115,000 residents on net to other states from July 2016 to July 2017.
The latest in a series of studies noting Illinois’ people problem: North American Moving Services’ annual migration report, which found Illinoisans lead the pack when it comes to packing up. Based on consumer moving data, the report found that 68 percent of Illinois moves were outbound rather than inbound in 2017 – the highest rate in the nation.
North American Moving Services’ data echo similar reports from United Van Lines and Atlas Van Lines released Jan. 2. Both companies ranked Illinois as the No. 1 state in the country in terms of outbound moves outpacing inbound moves.
Outmigration has played a significant role in fueling Illinois’ steepening population decline. This was made plain in December when population data released by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed Pennsylvania had surpassed Illinois as the fifth-largest state in the country – stripping a title Illinois had held since 1998. Although Pennsylvania exhibited only modest population growth between July 2016 and July 2017, Illinois’ four-year streak of net population loss helped make way for the Keystone State.
Since 2010, Illinois’ net loss of people to other states is equivalent to the population of the four largest cities outside Chicago combined.
This exodus will only further imperil the Land of Lincoln’s fiscal condition. When people cross state lines, so too does their income. Indeed, Illinois lost $4.75 billion in adjusted gross income to other states in tax year 2015 alone. Those who remain in the state are left to shoulder even higher bills for the surging cost of government.
Already, Illinoisans face one of the highest property tax burdens in the country. And over the recession era, from 2008 to 2015, average property taxes paid climbed at six times the rate of household incomes. For some homeowners, property tax bills loom so large they’ve essentially become a second mortgage. For middle-class taxpayers, the weight of this burden is simply unsustainable.
One lesson Springfield would do well to take away from the onslaught of bleak population news is that the tighter a tax base is squeezed, the more likely it is to end up on the other side of the state border.