We've talked before about how Illinois is not only leading the Midwest in outbound migration, but the entire nation. Study after study has asked those who are trying to leave why they want out of our state. Most, if not all, said there was one main reason.

You probably just said it out loud. Taxes. The most given reason for pointing a moving van at one of our state's borders in that Illinoisans are over-taxed. As Illinois Policy's Adam Schuster pointed out during our interview a couple of weeks back, Illinois again ranked second for highest property tax rates in the nation in 2021, behind only New Jersey. Illinois homeowners average $4,942 in property taxes on the U.S. median valued home of $217,500, which is exactly double the national average.


Property taxes rose at nearly triple the rate of inflation across Cook County between 2000 and 2019, according to a study released in October by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas. Wages in Cook County rose 57% during the period. Chicago property taxes trended higher, up 115% on average, but residential property taxes alone ballooned by 164%.

Anyone still wondering why people are bailing out of Illinois, and Chicago in particular?

WalletHub.com, a personal finance website, is out with a new study that takes a look at tax rates across the country, and unsurprisingly, Illinois is at the top of the list (or bottom, depending on how you look at these things) of states with the highest tax rates. Alaska takes home the blue ribbon for lowest tax rates in the country. WalletHub compares our two states in a few categories, and there's a pronounced difference between the two.

Alaska/Illinois comparison:

  • Effective Total State & Local Tax Rates on Median U.S. Household: 5.84%/15.01%
  • Annual State & Local Taxes on Median U.S. Household: $3,694/$9,488
  • % Difference Between State & U.S. Average: -45.90%/+38.95%
  • Annual State & Local Taxes on Median State Household: $4,585/$9,200

Remember watching the TV show "Northern Exposure" and thinking that Alaska seemed like a cool place to live? Maybe we should have listened to our gut on that one.

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