(The Center Square) – There’s room in Illinois with the state’s population decline accelerating year after year, according to U.S. Census estimates.
While the final decennial Census for Illinois released this summer showed the state lost more than 18,000 people in the past decade, yearly estimates have put the number closer to 406,000 lost.
The U.S. Census this week estimates Illinois lost nearly 114,000 people in one year. That’s on top of an estimated 80,000 lost the year before. In 2019, Illinois lost on net 51,250 people. Since 2014, the total estimated population loss is 406,000, larger than the populations of Aurora and Joliet combined.
State Sen. Sally Turner, R-Beason, said it’s the state’s high taxes, one-party rule, increased crime and corruption that are to blame.
“When people look at those things they think ‘do I want to raise my family here with those types of issues,’” Turner told WMAY.
State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, said policymakers need to focus on combating crime, but also investing in early and higher education. He said prosperity should be the goal.
“So, we have to make sure that we do everything to make sure that we spend taxpayer dollars wisely,” Ford told The Center Square. “If we’re overtaxing them, we need to lower those taxes.”
Kiplinger recently ranked Illinois the least tax-friendly state in the nation for middle-class Americans.
Demographers note the high rate of prime-aged working Illinoisans leaving the state. Illinoisans fleeing may be finding better employment opportunities elsewhere.
Illinois Manufacturers’ Association President and CEO Mark Denzler said they see the long trend in manufacturing jobs.
“In the last decade, October to October, Illinois has lost 24,000 manufacturing jobs, net manufacturing jobs,” Denzler told The Center Square. “All of our neighboring states have gained manufacturing jobs at an average of 36,000.”
And, while the state has carved out incentives for certain manufacturers like electric vehicle makers, Denzler said there needs to be a more rounded approach to make Illinois more job-friendly for all sectors.
“And the best way to do that is to create a strong economic infrastructure, good policies, good regulations that don’t hamper growth,” Denzler said.
Messages seeking comment from the four legislative leaders on how they plan to work toward reversing the trend weren’t immediately returned.
Previous analysis shows the state’s continued population decline means billions of lost adjusted gross income that can be spent in the economy.
Annual estimated losses in Illinois population:
Featured photo courtesy of Shutterstock via The Center Square