You probably can't tell from just looking around, but there are fewer fellow Illinoisans around you now than there were just a few short years ago.

According to a new piece from Illinois Policy, our problem here in Illinois is out migration. Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines out migration as:

to leave one region or community in order to settle in another especially as part of a large-scale and continuing movement of population.

To be fair, people have and are leaving other Midwestern states to head elsewhere, but so many more Illinoisans are doing it than residents of other Midwestern states.

While it is true most Midwest states have net outflow to the rest of the country, Illinois is very different. Illinois’ out-migration rate per 1,000 residents is the worst in the region by several multiples. Furthermore, half of the total out-migration losses from July 2015-July 2016 in the entire Midwest, which has a population of 65 million people, came from Illinois, which only has a population of 12.8 million people. Illinois lost 114,000 people to domestic migration against a total population of 12.8 million people. That works out to a loss of nine people per 1,000 residents. The next-worst surrounding state was Michigan, where the domestic migration loss was 2.8 people per 1,000 residents. Michigan’s loss rate is nowhere close to Illinois’, and every other state in the Midwest was significantly better than Michigan.

Taking a look at the population changes in Midwest from July of 2015 through July of 2016 really shows the stark difference between our state and our neighbors.

July 2015-July 2016 Midwestern state population changes:

  • Minnesota: +37,517
  • Wisconsin: +10,817
  • Michigan: +10,585
  • Iowa: +12,696
  • Missouri: +16,796
  • Indiana: +20,285
  • Ohio: +9,283
  • Kentucky: +12,363
  • Illinois: -37,508

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