Last week, a Gallup poll sent ripples through the state of Illinois when it revealed exactly half (50 percent in case you weren’t sure) of Illinoisans would like to leave the state. No other state could boast of such a high percentage of residents wishing to leave.
People moving out of a state they live in, whether they were born and raised there or not, is nothing new. It happens in all 50 states, but the desire to leave Illinois is much higher than anyone would like to see.
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown took a look at the data, and while he admitted he does not agree with the “prevailing political spin” being placed on the situation, Brown says the numbers cannot be ignored.
Although Illinois’ actual population outflow is not nearly so dramatic as the poll numbers might suggest, census data shows Illinois residents haven’t been sitting around waiting for Gallup to ask their opinion either. For years, they’ve been steadily moving away in greater numbers than are choosing to relocate here. According to a 2012 report from the University of Illinois, the state suffered a migration deficit of 228,888 residents between 2000 and 2009. That’s the difference between those moving into the state and those moving out.
More recent Census Bureau population estimates have continued the trend, showing a net migration loss for each of six Chicago area counties between 2010 and 2013 — with a combined net loss of more than 85,000 people in that time.
Those estimates are borne out by statistics published by the nation’s big moving companies, which during this decade consistently have shown Illinois to be among the leaders for people moving away.
To be clear, total population still is going up slightly, because the natural increase from births exceeding deaths outweighed the migration outflow. But the exodus remains a concern.
More than half of those who left said it was for a job-related reason, which Hall speculated could be low because the 23 percent leaving for “family reasons” probably includes people following spouses or parents taking new jobs.
The most common destinations for Illinois expatriates during the prior decade? Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, California and Texas. The report says we sent 18 Illinois residents to Indiana for every 10 Hoosiers who moved here.
It’s also worth noting that if it weren’t for all the immigrants moving here from outside the U.S. — legally or illegally — Illinois’ migration imbalance would be far greater.
I would also point out about one-fourth of those planning to leave told Gallup that it was for work, followed by weather, which outnumbered those citing taxes 2-to-1.
But while the numbers from the Gallup poll paints a bleak picture for the Land of Lincoln, one Forbes writer, and an Illinois resident, says people should take a look at some quality-of-life metrics before they jump on the get-out-of-Illinois bandwagon.
Writes John Wasik:
First, I can’t defend the state’s dismal political situation, pension liability, taxes and awful weather, which sees an annual temperature variation of up to 120 degrees. Half of the year is what most would consider to be cold or unpleasant. Fiscally, the state and City of Chicago are in a deep hole that nobody seems to see a way out of — even though both houses of our General Assembly and governor are in the same party. There’s still plenty of corruption, cronyism and regressive politics to go around.
And don’t get me wrong. After seeing eight feet of snow and epic cold this winter and the gun murder tallies climb in Chicago, I have plenty of reasons for beating a hasty path to the Sunbelt. Like most people, I like being warm, safe and not overtaxed.
Yet there are several metrics that most people ignore when they consider relocation or retirement. Many of these gauges can’t be measured precisely, but they figure into an overall quality of life measurement. Here are some key points to consider:
* Educational Options.
* Healthcare Options.
* Transportation Options.
* Cultural Options.
But despite Wasik’s assertions, many still feel as if Illinois is the worst state in the nation to live in.