In a WirePoints special report on demographics, Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner explore Illinois’ Demographic Collapse.
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.
According to U.S. Census American Community Survey data, more Illinoisans are leaving the state at the same time that fewer Americans from other states are coming in. (The American Community Survey’s [ACS] State-to-State Migration data differs from the full demographic data provided by the Census Bureau’s Population Division because they are based on different surveys. The ACS data says Illinois’ net out-migration equaled 144,000 residents in 2018 while the demographic data set says 114,000 net residents left. Wirepoints relies primarily on the demographic data’s out-migration because it also measures states’ total annual population change while the ACS state-to-state survey data does not.) The percentage of residents leaving Illinois jumped 28 percent between 2001 and 2018, to 340,000 from 266,000. At the same time, the number of people moving into the state shrank a total of 7 percent, to 195,000 from 210,000. Not only is Illinois driving more residents away, also it’s attracting fewer residents than it once was.
For 11 straight years, the change in Illinois population has worsened. For the last five years population growth has been negative and accelerating.
Illinois Lost 157,000 People in Five Years
This is not a Midwest or rust belt trend. Iowa, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, and Indiana all gained population.
Illinois’ problems with out-migration are deeper than the census numbers suggest. Illinois isn’t just losing its people, it’s losing its tax base as well. But that’s an issue for another report.
Illinois politicians are faced with an uncomfortable reality. The state is no longer the beacon it once was. It’s been tarnished by decades-long policies of mal-governance, increasing tax burdens and reform avoidance.
Without spending and structural reforms that make the state more competitive, Illinois will be trapped in a downward spiral. One where growing government debts will fall on a continuously shrinking population.
Illinois is in a downward spiral that's worsening. Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker's only solution is to raise taxes.
Illinois News Network reports "A Southern Illinois University at Carbondale poll from 2015 showed that half of the Illinois residents polled would leave the state if they could. The No. 1 reason: Taxes."
Is that believable? Sure. If the reason was weather or sunshine, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin would not be gaining population.
Illinois just passed a massive corporate tax hike. Governor Pritzker now seeks a constitutional amendment for a "progressive" tax hike in the name of "fairness".
Rest assured it will be a middle class tax hike followed by another, then another.
There is no stopping the downward spiral with Pritzker and House Speaker Michael Madigan running the show. Corruption in Illinois is second to none.
We expect to get out of Illinois in about 12-15 months. Our plans have been in place for a few years.
Get the hell out as soon as you can. Illinois' downward spiral has no end in sight.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock