CHICAGO - Illinois lost 114,144 residents to other states from July 2015 to July 2016, causing Illinois to suffer more population loss than any other state in the nation, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed Tuesday morning.
The massive exodus to other states caused Illinois’ overall population to decline by 37,508 people, the U.S. Census reported.
“Picture the entire city of Peoria packing up and moving across state lines – that’s how severe Illinois’ out-migration was over the last year,” said Michael Lucci, vice president of policy at the Illinois Policy Institute.
Lucci attributed the high number of moves to other states to the lack of legislature reforms that would improve the state's business climate.
“People are leaving Illinois at record rates. They’re tired of watching the state’s pension debt climb as lawmakers ignore the problem. They’re tired of an expensive workers’ compensation system, and a dangerously ill economic climate. It’s time for lawmakers to make massive reforms and send a strong signal that the direction of Illinois is changing," Lucci said.
Illinois is the only Midwestern state that experienced population loss in 2016, for the third year in a row.
Economic experts at the Illinois Policy Institute say they have studied the state’s migration and population trends intensely over the past five years.
"Countless reports find residents fleeing Illinois for states with with lower taxes and better job opportunities," a release said. "Heavy population losses on Census migration reports have always been followed by IRS migration reports showing the people who left took substantial earning power with them. The most recent IRS data show that Illinois loses $32,000 of taxable income every 5 minutes, on net.
In a column posted last week, Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore suggested Illinois is among the "blue states" that voted for Hillary Clinton and are losing population annually.
"They are the loser states. They are all progressive. High taxes rates. High welfare benefits. Heavy regulation. Environmental extremism. Super minimum wages. Most outlaw energy drilling," he wrote in an op-ed published in the Washington Times.
"The whole left-wing playbook is on display in the Hillary states. And people are leaving in droves. Day after day, they are being bled to death. So much for liberalism creating a worker’s paradise," he wrote.
Lucci said the Census data should send a strong signal to state lawmakers before the start of the new legislative session in January.