Let's play a quick game of over-under.

In 2021, Illinois lost about 100,000 residents who moved away to other states. In 2022, that number was 107,000 people. If you were to guess the over-under on 2023, do you think the number of Illinoisans who left our state is over 107,000 or under?

I can see why you may have guessed "over" on this one, especially since Illinois has been trending in that direction. However, if you guessed "under," pat yourself on the back, because you're right.

In 2023, Illinois did lose less than 107,000 people, and less than 100,000 people, too--but the bottom line is that we're still losing, not gaining people, over the last 10 years.

Indiana is nice at this time of year, Carl. Buh-bye! (Getty Images)
Indiana is nice at this time of year, Carl. Buh-bye! (Getty Images)

The US Census Shows That The Last Time Illinois Gained People Over The Course Of A Year Was 2013, When We Added 12,000 Or So Newbies To The Land Of Lincoln

After that, we started to see a steady exodus of Illinoisans to other states. Over the last nearly 10 years, Illinois has seen over 500,000 residents heading for the state line.


The latest numbers released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau shows Illinois’ 10th year of annual losses. In 2013, Illinois’ annual population estimate showed an increase of 12,700. The following year began the decade of decline. In 2014, the state lost an estimated 10,700. In 2015, that more than doubled to 25,000 lost in one year. Another 37,900 were estimated lost in 2016.

The losing trend continued in 2017 with Illinois having 41,800 fewer people than the prior year. In 2018, there were 55,200 fewer people, 57,700 fewer in 2019, 79,500 fewer in 2020, 100,000 fewer in 2021 and more than 107,800 fewer in 2022.

emergency exit mosaic new york
Getty Images

Why Are So Many Leaving Illinois? Survey After Survey Has Shown The Number-One Reason Is Taxes, And When Answering "Taxes" Wasn't An Option, People Said "Better Housing And Employment"

Regardless of the reasons, gone is gone. For the year measured between July of 2022 and July of 2023, the state of Illinois lost 32,826 residents according to information released by the US Census a couple of days ago.

10 straight years of losing population in Illinois is only topped by one state in the country, West Virginia, where they're into their 11th year of population decline.


Estimates from the Census Bureau show there were 10,453 more births than deaths in Illinois, 40,492 net migrants gained from abroad, but 83,839 residents lost on net to other states.

Illinois continues to see a natural increase in population as births outpace deaths, but by an increasingly narrow margin. It also is gaining residents from abroad. But so many people are moving out of Illinois to other states – domestic migration – that the state’s total population is in decline.

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