The United States Census Bureau just released their estimates for population figures between 2010 and 2017 and according to them, Illinois is losing enough population to fall out of the top five populous states in the country.
The Census Bureau provides these estimates based on a methodology that can most succinctly be defined as Population Base + Births – Deaths + Migration = Population Estimate. The full methodology (especially in as far as how to predict migration) goes into much more detail.
The spreadsheets provided by the Bureau show that overall Illinois population has declined from an estimated 12,835,726 in July of 2016 to 12,802,023 in July 2017. Before 2016, Illinois actually had a slight increase as the state had a population of 12,831,565 in 2010.
Illinois is now the sixth largest state in the country, as Pennsylvania takes the number five spot.
The total number of people lost from 2016 to 2017 is 33,703, which means Illinois is the state to lose the most amount of people (including Puerto Rico). This amounts to .3% of the total Illinois population decrease, with only West Virginia and Wyoming losing a higher percentage of their state’s populations.
Illinois’s population decrease isn’t a regional trend: the Midwest overall gained people from 66,973,360 in 2010 to 68,179,351 in 2017.
While the Census Bureau provides just the numbers and not the reasons, it’s not hard to think of a few possible reasons.
The Chicago Tribune writes that “Internal Revenue Service data indicate many Illinois residents have been attracted to warmer-climate Sun Belt states like Florida and Texas.” Not to mention that the state has become infamous for perpetual budget issues and corruption (hey, at least we’re still ahead of Pennsylvania on something).
According to data released earlier this year, Illinois has lost 25,000 jobs since 2000. The state unemployment rate is currently at 4.9%, higher than the national average of 4.1%
The United States overall will increase in population from 308,758,105 people in April 2010 to an estimated 329,096,044 people by December 2018.
Previous census reports have announced that Chicago has been losing population but only in certain communities. Houston is still expected to overttake Chicago in population in the next few years.