For the third consecutive year, Illinois has lost more residents than any other state, losing 37,508 people in 2016, which puts its population at the lowest it has been in nearly a decade, according to U.S. census data released Tuesday. Illinois is among just eight states to lose residents in 2016, putting its population at 12,801,539 people, it’s lowest since about 2009. Illinois' population first began to drop in 2014, when the state lost 11,961 people. That number more than doubled in 2015, with a loss of 28,497 people, and further multiplied in 2016. "When you have a big state like Illinois, to lose population for three years in a row? That's cause for alarm," said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institute.
The Chicago Tribune last year surveyed dozens of former residents who had fled within the past five years, and all offered their own list of reasons for doing so. Common reasons included high taxes, the state budget stalemate, crime, the unemployment rate and the weather. Census data released last year suggested the root of the problem was the Chicago area. The state where people were moving: Texas. Why? Low taxes, low crime, better standard of living.
- The Chicago Tribune, December 21, 2016