March 14, 2024

The Illinois Policy Institute reports 71,000 residents left the Chicagoland area.


CONTACT: Micky Horstman (312) 607-4977

 Illinois lost population across every metro area, 87 counties in 2023
The Illinois Policy Institute reports 71,000 residents left the Chicagoland area

CHICAGO (March 14, 2024) – Illinois suffered population loss among all eight Illinois-based metro areas and 87 of Illinois’ 102 counties, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Illinois Policy Institute reports Chicago’s population loss accounted for approximately 50% of the state’s total decline of 32,826 residents in 2023. In total, over 71,000 residents fled the metro area. In addition to Chicago, metro areas including Decatur, Springfield and Bloomington showed steep declines relative to the size of their population.

Cook County saw its population shrink by 24,494 residents, the largest in the state. This was primarily driven by the nation’s second-largest county exodus, with more than 58,000 residents moving out of the county. St. Clair and Lake counties also saw large decreases, losing over 1,000 residents each.

Some counties within the state – including Will, Kendall and McHenry counties – showed an increase in population, likely benefitting from Chicago residents moving.

Data shows residents are leaving for states with lower taxation, including Florida, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Texas. Illinois is the only state among its neighbors to suffer population loss. Illinois has the seventh-highest tax burden in the nation and the highest in the Midwest.

“Outmigration has slowed nationwide this year, returning to pre-pandemic trends. But that’s not a victory for Illinois,” said Bryce Hill, director of fiscal and economic research at the Illinois Policy Institute. “Illinois loses residents faster than virtually every other state. The slowdown is most likely because of economic factors, such as mortgage rates reaching their highest levels in more than 20 years, preventing individuals from leaving. It’s not a shift in attitude toward Illinois. If lawmakers don’t take steps to reduce the crippling burden of taxes on residents, people will likely continue to leave Illinois as they have done for the past decade.”

To read more about Illinois’ outmigration crisis, visit

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