Illinois’ Population Drain Continues for 7th Consecutive Year

“Over the course of the last decade, Illinois lost more than a quarter-million people, dropping to a total population of about 12.5 million. The state lost 79,000 residents this year, an increase over previous years. The Wall Street Journal predicts that as a result of this loss, the state will lose at least one congressional seat during the next reapportionment.

Illinois isn’t alone. California, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Michigan may also lose congressional representation due to population migrations over the past decade. New York and Alabama are on the bubble of each losing a representative. But none, not even California, has seen Illinois’ population loss.

Reason has been making note of this trend for years, while also observing (particularly in Chicago) that state and local government have poorly managed their public employee pension obligations, creating massive government debts that consume budgets and lead to service cuts. Government leaders have responded not with better fiscal management (the state’s powerful unions blocked pension reforms), but with more taxes and fees, even as residents leave. As C.J. Ciaramella has reported, Chicago’s corrupt policing system of fines, asset forfeitures, and vehicle impounds serves to extract whatever money the city can get from its poorest citizens to pay for itself.”

” Major reasons Illinoisans are choosing to leave the state are for better housing and employment opportunities, both of which have been hindered by poor public policy in Illinois. Nearly half of Illinoisans have thought about moving away, and they said taxes were their No. 1 reason.”