Where Are Illinois Residents Migrating?

Where Are Illinois Residents Migrating?

  • Editor’s Note: This is the fourth of a series on population change in Kane County, based on reports by Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 2.34.51 PM

New U.S. Census Bureau data shows Illinois leads the nation in population decline.

As reported in previous installments of this series, Illinois had nearly 10,000 fewer residents in 2014 than in the previous year — the largest numerical decline of any state in the nation and the first statewide population dip since the mid-1980s. All of this data comes from Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies.

Six states lost population from 2013-2014: Illinois, West Virginia, Connecticut, New Mexico, Alaska and Vermont. Of those, Illinois easily had the largest numerical population decline — 9,972 people — followed by West Virginia with a loss of 3,269 residents.

All of which begs the question: Where are all those folks going?

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 2.35.15 PMNIU researchers say most are moving to neighboring states. Data from the years 2010 through 2013 showed Indiana, Wisconsin and Missouri picked up the largest numbers of former Illinoisans. Collectively, nearly 300,000 Illinoisans moved to those states during that four-year period.

“There are many factors at work here, and census information only tells us so much,” said Sherrie Taylor, a researcher at Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies. “But we do know that most of those who left in recent years took jobs in those other states, so that suggests economic factors — either better opportunities or perhaps concerns about Illinois’ delicate financial health.”

Taylor said declining birth rates and an aging population also contributed to Illinois’ net population loss from 2013 to 2014.

CGS data also indicates that Kane County is bucking the statewide trend. Kane showed the third-highest population growth of Illinois’ 102 counties for the period of 2010 to 2014 and had the highest population growth of any county in Illinois last year. Kane County municipalities also were among the top 25 in population growth and percentage population increases.

Kane County did lose more than 5,000 residents to migration last year, but that total was significantly less than neighbors counties and more than made up by birth rates that far exceeded death rates.

SOURCE: Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies

Kane County Population Series