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Latest census data shows over 80% of Illinois counties losing population

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(The Center Square) – The exodus from Illinois continues.

A new report by the Illinois Policy Institute shows Illinois suffered population loss among all eight Illinois-based metro areas and 87 of Illinois’ 102 counties from July 2022 to July 2023.

Using the latest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, IPI found that Chicago’s population loss accounted for approximately 50% of the state’s total decline of 41,000 residents in 2023. When calculating the total who moved out with 8,300 that moved in to Illinois, the net decline is nearly 33,000. In addition to Chicago, metro areas including Decatur, Springfield and Bloomington-Normal showed big declines relative to the size of their population.

Cook County experienced the nation’s second-largest county population drop, with more than 58,000 residents moving out of the county. Some have decided to relocate to the suburbs, while others left the state. Only Los Angeles County, California, had more residents move.

“It is affecting every corner of the state,” said Bryce Hill, director of Fiscal and Economic Research. “It’s not just a Chicago problem, it’s not just a downstate problem, it’s affecting communities across the state.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office says it will continue challenging the state’s estimated population decline and, after requesting a review, announced in January that the U.S. Census agreed it missed or undercounted the 2020 Census for those living in group facilities.

“I’m pleased that the Census Bureau has recognized the undercounting that I and many members of Illinois’ Congressional Delegation have worked to remedy since the 2020 census results were first released,” Pritzker said in a statement.

Hill said the latest numbers are not an anomaly.

“Population decline is in its tenth consecutive year according to Census Bureau estimates, so it’s been a growing trend,” said Hill.

Hill said residents are leaving for states with lower taxation, including Florida, Indiana, Wisconsin and Texas. According to the data, of Illinoisans who leave the state, 97% moved to lower-tax states in 2022.

“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,” said Hill.

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