May 17, 2023

Chicago sees second-largest population decline in nation


CONTACT: Melanie Krakauer (312) 607-4977

Census: Illinois population loss spreads to 85% of communities
Chicago sees second-largest population decline in nation

CHICAGO (May 18, 2023) – Illinois’ population decline spread to a record number of communities with 1,108 cities, towns and villages in the state shrinking, new U.S. Census Bureau data finds.

An analysis from the Illinois Policy Institute found population loss affected more than 85% of Illinois cities from July 2021 to July 2022, with larger cities losing residents fastest. The changes are driven mainly by residents moving to other states. Chicago, the state’s largest city, experienced a net loss of 32,990 residents, which was the second-largest drop of any city in the nation after New York City.

“We’re seeing that communities of all sizes in the state are vulnerable to losing residents to other places. This underscores the urgent need for better housing and employment opportunities across the state – both of which have been made worse by poor public policy choices in Illinois,” said Bryce Hill, director of fiscal and economic research at the Illinois Policy Institute.

Original analysis finds:

  • 13 of the state’s 15 metropolitan areas saw net drops. Only Elgin and Cape Girardeau saw increases.
  • This year's loss is a jump from about 77% of communities that saw population loss last year.
  • Population loss occurs faster in larger communities. Illinois cities with more than 50,000 residents are shrinking 50% faster than those with fewer than 50,000.
  • Chicago’s population loss accounts for 32% of the state’s total 104,437-person decline.

“Illinois leaders cannot ignore the alarming rate of population decline anymore,” Hill said. “This data should wake up elected leaders and lawmakers drafting up the next state budget and remind them we need to enact policies that will attract and retain residents, encourage business growth and revitalize our economy. Businesses and people can and will leave if things become too challenging to live here – and the state can’t afford that.”

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