During a recent political campaign, I heard a candidate for statewide office say if we don't change our ways here in Illinois, we should at least tell the last person leaving the state to turn out the lights as they go. We're not there yet, but we're moving in that direction.

Moving company United Van Lines recently published their 41st Annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns over the past year. Several states share the misfortune of outbound migration (a fancy way of saying people bolting from the state), but Illinois leads them all. Here's how United Van Lines did their figuring:

United Van Lines has tracked migration patterns annually on a state-by-state basis since 1977. For 2017, the study is based on household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. This study ranks states based on the inbound and outbound percentages of total moves in each state. United classifies states as “high inbound” if 55% or more of the moves are going into a state, “high outbound” if 55% or more moves were coming out of a state, or “balanced” if the difference between inbound and outbound is negligible.

From USA Today:

The states that are losing people as they move away are almost exclusively in the Northeast or the Rust Belt. The “moving out” states, according to the survey:

1. Illinois
2. New Jersey
3. New York
4. Connecticut
5. Kansas
6. Massachusetts
7. Ohio
8. Kentucky
9. Utah
10. Wisconsin

Conversely, here are the states gaining people:

  1. Vermont
  2. Oregon
  3. Idaho
  4. Nevada
  5. South Dakota
  6. Washington
  7. South Carolina
  8. North Carolina
  9. Colorado
  10. Alabama

One of the differences regarding our state of Illinois is that many of those leaving are not heading to the 10 states listed above that are gaining people. We're losing population to surrounding Midwestern states.

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