Illinois Faces Continued Population Crisis as Citizens Leave Troubled State

Since the turn of the century, Illinois has been in the midst of a perfect demographic storm. Residents are leaving the state in record numbers. The number of Americans moving into Illinois has hit new lows. Net foreign immigration has fallen by half. And the number of births has dropped by more than 20 percent.

These demographic forces have all combined into a single troubling fact: Illinois is shrinking. The state has lost population five years in a row. In 2018 alone, the state lost 45,000 people, the second-biggest population drop in the country.

The state’s growing domestic out-migration has been especially problematic. More Illinoisans are leaving the state at the same time that fewer Americans from other states are moving in.

Wirepoints has analyzed Illinois’ demographics over the past 18 years, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Division and American Community Survey as well as migration data from the IRS.

The story the data tells is simple: every negative demographic trend that can hit Illinois has done so – and more so than in most other states. Illinois is not simply losing people because it’s part of the Midwest. Other states that make up the Rust Belt have not shared in Illinois’ clear demographic decline. They are still growing on an absolute, percentage and per capita basis. Illinois is not.

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