December 19, 2023

The state suffered the 3rd-worst population loss in the nation, an estimated 32,826 residents this year


CONTACT: Micky Horstman (312) 607-4977

Illinois records 10th straight year of population decline

The state suffered the 3rd-worst population loss in the nation, an estimated 32,826 residents this year

CHICAGO (Dec. 19, 2023) – Illinois reported its 10th year of population loss, with an estimated decline of 32,826 residents from July 2022-July 2023, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, the loss was driven by 83,839 people leaving the state, or 1 every 6 minutes and 16 seconds.

The Lincoln Poll, conducted by the Illinois Policy Institute in partnership with Echelon Insights, found 51% of Illinois residents would leave the state if given the opportunity. Those who said they would leave cited high taxes, crime and the cost of living as primary reasons.

Nationwide, outmigration has slowed this year, returning to pre-pandemic trends, experts say. Illinois suffered two years of record outmigration during the pandemic.

“Despite seeing a decline from the record-high losses in 2021 and 2022, this is not a major victory for Illinois. The Census Bureau has estimated population decline in Illinois for the 10th consecutive year, driven almost entirely by domestic outmigration. As the state’s population ages, domestic migration will play an even larger role in population growth,” said Bryce Hill, director of fiscal and economic research at the Illinois Policy Institute.

Outmigration comparisons:

  • Illinois suffered the 3rd-worst population loss this year. Only New York and California lost a larger number of residents.
  • Controlling for population size, only New York, Louisiana and Hawaii are shrinking faster than Illinois.
  • Illinois is the only state among its neighbors to suffer population loss.

“It doesn’t appear the slowing moves out of the state are because people feel better about Illinois. More likely, those who were able to move out have already done so,” Hill said. “It’s also possible the migrant crisis has buoyed the state’s population and the national housing shortage, partnered with decade-high mortgage rates, have deterred residents from leaving. If lawmakers don’t take significant steps to reduce the financial burden on Illinois residents, the state will continue its decade-long outmigration run.”

To read more about Illinois’ outmigration crisis, visit

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