Cook County Illinois Suffers Largest Population Drop In Entire US

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

Illinois voters are voting with their feet. Not only are people scrambling to get out of Cook County, but the entire state is suffering.

Illinois Policy Institute writer Michael Lucci explains in this guest post on Cook County Migration.

Cook County has Largest Population Loss of Any County in U.S.

Cook County lost more population than any other county in the United States from July 2015 to July 2016, according to a new data release from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Cook County shrank by 21,324 people. The county had more births than deaths and gained 18,434 people from international immigration. However, Cook County had a net loss of 66,244 people to other parts of the United States, which more than offset the components of population growth.

However, the people leaving Cook County aren’t showing up in other parts of Illinois when the net movements of people are considered.

In fact, most of Illinois is depopulating – 93 of Illinois’ 102 counties are experiencing net out-migration, and 89 of Illinois’ 102 counties have shrinking populations. Illinois’ dysfunctional government, weak job creation, and ever-increasing tax burden help explain why. A Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll released in October 2016 found that taxes were the No. 1 reason people want to leave Illinois.

Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, McHenry, Will counties see net out-migration to other parts of the U.S.

The major driver of Cook County’s shrinking population is that the county’s domestic migration losses have doubled over the last five years, while international gains have remained flat and gains from more births than deaths have declined.

The flow of people out of Cook County did not result in net in-migration for the collar counties. Cook County’s net out-migration of 66,244 people was followed by net out-migration of 9,171 people from DuPage; 5,179 from Lake; 1,824 from Kane; 1,589 from McHenry; and 1,253 from Will. Kendall County is the nearest to Cook to have net inflows, with Kendall gaining 553 more people than it lost to other parts of the country.

The out-migration from Cook, DuPage, Lake and McHenry counties was large enough to make all those counties shrink in total population. Kane County and Will County managed to have population gains despite their out-migration problems.

It should worry policymakers in Chicago and Cook County that out-migration and population loss were already so strong in the July 2015 – July 2016 timeframe. That’s because Chicago and Cook County’s major property and sales tax hikes had not yet taken effect at the time of this out-migration. When those tax hikes are in place, the Chicago area will likely lose more population due to taxation. And the economic effects of increased taxation will be felt a few years later, with fewer jobs and economic growth than would have occurred without the tax hikes. Population loss in the Chicago area is likely to get worse.

Not just the collar counties: All of Illinois is seeing population losses

The problem is not just with Cook and the collar counties: The majority of Illinois counties are shrinking. Eighty-nine of Illinois’ 102 counties are shrinking in total population. Northeast Illinois is shrinking most in terms of total population, but many downstate counties are shrinking and seeing more out-migration as a percentage of population. For example, Rock Island and Peoria counties both have more out-migration as a percentage of population than Cook County.

Most of Illinois’ metropolitan statistical areas are also shrinking due to large migration losses to other parts of the country, with only Elgin and Champaign showing slow population growth. The Chicago metro division saw a net migration loss of nearly 78,000 people, driving a population decline of more than 19,000 people for the Chicago metro division.

Elgin had net migration losses to other parts of the country. However, Elgin’s population growth is attributable to an unusually high birth rate and a solid gain of international immigrants. Champaign similarly relies on international immigration to avoid a shrinking population size. Champaign showed a large gain from international immigration, likely a flow of international students to the University of Illinois.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s report does not come as a surprise, but it should serve as a warning to state and local governments. Illinois is depopulating, and no area is immune from its effects. Downstate communities are especially stressed due to the loss of manufacturing jobs and other blue-collar industries. And the Chicago area is likely to face additional stress as nearly $2 billion dollars in tax hikes are phased in over the next few years.

Lawmakers can take on two key measures to give taxpayers hope. The first is to freeze property taxes statewide so Illinoisans can feel secure in their homes. The second is to pass a balanced budget without any tax increases to give residents confidence that lawmakers can rein in out-of-control spending and not repeatedly hit up taxpayers for more of their hard-earned dollars.

Before considering any more tax increases, policymakers statewide should consider the sobering reality of how quickly people are leaving the state.

Michael Lucci

Mish Getaway

People keep asking “When are you leaving?” Rest assured plans are in progress and have been for some time.

But some people are stuck here. Others want to be here for personal reasons even though they are fed up with the state of affairs.

IPI Push

  1. Give Illinoisans much-needed property tax relief
  2. Consolidate Illinois’ many layers of duplicative government
  3. Cut burdensome regulations to attract businesses and jobs to Illinois

The Illinois Policy Institute is fighting on your behalf every day in Springfield. Please consider Making a Contribution to Illinois Policy Institute.

I am an unpaid senior fellow at the IPI and receive no part of donations. My benefit is the same as yours. The IPI is fighting on our behalf.

The Illinois Policy Institute is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Few organizations work as hard as the IPI to support Illinois taxpayers.

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Smedley's picture

No one wants to live in these dumps anymore!


A veritable wreck on everyway you look at it....

So sad, I see it everyday....

GUS100CORRINA's picture

Another OBAMA-Led DEMOCRATIC stronghold in retreat and decline. 

I guess the HOPE and CHANGE was never realized.

mofreedom's picture

Mission accomplished...locusts moving on to more fertile territory to ravage.

metastar's picture

... while others search for an escape to the new land which isn't there.

Slomotrainwreck's picture

Make the state a no loaded moving van area.

Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

This is the migration of more conservative citizens moving to "healthier climes" and democrats sick of the crime and over-taxation. The problem is that many of them do not understand that they voted for these collectivist programs that have ruined Illinois and now will move to someplace else and vote that way again.

This has been seen in the exodus of Californians to Colorado and Arizona. Sedona is a pit of leftist dung at the top of a plateau. Prescott Valley is getting that way.

More Government = Less Freedom

That's the math.

tbd108's picture

I moved my family 2 years ago from Lake County, Illinois, to Hardin County, TN. Property tax went from 7+ thousand to 3 hundred a year. Same sized house but in a much nicer and much more safe neighborhood.

NidStyles's picture

Wish they would stop coming to Arizona, they are pushing to make this place into California.

Automatic Choke's picture

what they need are more good community organizers !!!

HermanVanCuckold's picture

Keep that to yourself or your neighborhood will be overrun by cucks who want to raise your taxes for social good.

Tactical Joke's picture

Tennessee sucks. It's a horrible place. Don't go to Tennessee. Go to anyplace but Tennessee.

Francis Marx's picture

"Mission accomplished...locusts moving on to more fertile territory to ravage."

 Silly me. Here I though it was because of the crime and murder

booboo's picture

Right, build a wall around Illinois and keep the ignorant fucks there or they will infect other locals with their "that's not how we did it up north" stupidity

The_Dude's picture

Absolutely parasites . ..personal anecdote...friend of mine is DA in a midsize rural town.  Since the Fed has stuck us in a 0 rate environment  for so long,  investors seeking return have been grabbing apartment complexes in these towns and then advertising in Chicago how welfare dollars go further.   Now there are tons of these 'refugees' flooding in....crime is up,  drug pushing, violence in the name it.   It's destroying these peaceful towns. ..Should be a fucking crime!

Red Raspberry's picture

No the locust are sitting on their government jobs enacting policies that suck the blood from the taxpayers.  It's the taxpayers leaving.

Chuck Walla's picture

The locust's nest is in Cook County Hall and  Springfield where they eat the plenty of the land, do little and expect to be paid handsomely for it.  Where the opportunity for graft and bribes would make Tammany blush.  Fuck the little people, they only need them to vote and plenty of money to buy those. No worries.

AlaricBalth's picture

Decreasing tax base means increased strain on Illinois pensions.
In 2015, Illinois’ state pension debt reached a record $111 billion. Government-worker pensions already take one-fourth of the state’s budget.
Taxes are being increased to make up for the pension deficits and the people moving away have had enough.

chubbar's picture

Well, exactly. ZH had an article not too long ago that detailed the pension issue. The only recourse is to raise property taxes, that's it. They can't legally reduce the pensions that were promised by the assholes in charge at the time, so unless they are ready to reduce city services (police/fire,etc) by a HUGE factor, taxes have to go up. So property taxes are not only NOT coming down, they have to be raised and by a whole bunch!

The window of opportunity for folks who own homes to leave is slamming shut. Why the fuck would anyone buy a house that has a large and as of yet to be determined tax obligation attached to it in order to pay a bunch of overpaid city employees a 6 figure pension?

The absurdity of this situation is unreal. Before this is over we will see wide spread home loan defaults, property tax defaults, drastic city wide services cutback and ultimately pension defaults OR federal gov't backstopping. It's just math and math doesn't lie.

Dilluminati's picture

These pensions in out-years are factually insolvent.  State by state the last decade has destroyed them, there is no financial illustration performed by anyone mathematically literate who can come to another conclusion.  This is not by party line, liberal, democrat, long market, short market, doesn't matter.  These are what are essentially a new type  of NP asset paying out more than they take in.  I was new to the state of PA and it is different in taxation and structure from MD.  So naturally after a 10 year assesment change after 2006 which was innacurate in respect to real estate.. I looked into it further and concluded it was insolvent.

I think the high water mark of stupid here was the idea to build a wild west museum (east) mind you.

I cannot, simply cannot make this shit up, where truth is even more bizarre than the cynic.  But we are BROKE, there is no pension.  There is no lockbox.  You need to grab wtf you can and lock it in the best box you can because we have fuckwads like in the article above running things.

It's every man for himself.  But Chicago, any major city, any sort of US publci debt (PUERTO RICO)

I'd run so far and so f0cking fast away from anything with a muni smell, that was even close to a muni, had muni in the same paragraph, was managed by a muni guy etc..




Bam_Man's picture

In other words, Detroit on steroids.

theBBD's picture

Stuck here for work, but absolutely the reason why I rent and plan to GTFO at retirement. Unless you have unlimited resources, this is no place for retirees. You can fool yourself into thinking you "own" a home here, but the taxes, assessments and fees are not sustainable by normal people on a fixed income. 

waspwench's picture

Ultimately Illinois will have to declare bankruptcy in order to deal with the pension fund insolvencies.   There is no other solution.   TPTB are refusing to confront this fact right now but eventually they will have to concede that they have no other options.

markar's picture

And those pension payments are baked into the IL constitution . FUBAR

ejmoosa's picture

Let's be honest however, Based on total population, this is hardly noticeable.


exi1ed0ne's picture

LOL.  The very fact that they CAN leave a dying shit hole means that:

1) They have skill sets in demand in other areas of the country.

2) This is the portion of the tax base that are overall contributors (more paid in then taken out).  AKA tax donkeys.

3) This is only the first wave.  2017 will see the renters leave - sorry homeowners, you're fucked.

4) Chiraq makes Detroit look good in comparison, and people know the violence will eventually spread to the surrounding "good" areas.

5) People recognize it won't get better doing the same shit that created the situation in the first place.  But hey, moar taxing should solve that! /sarc


slwsnowman40's picture

They spent so much on hope, that all they have left is change.

silvercity's picture

Almost every city > 100,000 is run by Democrats and all are in trouble because of pie-in-the-sky pension promises. Has nothing to do with Obama. I live in Ill. which has a super majority Democrat in both Houses. They could pass anything and force it down the Republican govonors throat but they would then own it and being gutless POSs perfer to do nothing. Of course they all get their pay even if vendors get nothing. Also, voters in Ill. will never, ever elect a Republican legislature. The best this state can hope for is the current status in which nobody does anything.

XqWretch's picture

How many of those 42k deaths were homicides?

Stuck on Zero's picture

Politicians response will be to raise taxes.

Bigly's picture

Public enema #1:  Dan Malloy

ZD1's picture

Politicians response will be to raise taxes.


And to usher in moar illegals and Muslim refugees!

Bigly's picture

ANY surprise here?  Res ipsa loquitur.

OT-  Hartford/New Haven is also doing poorly...Same reasons although the violence is not as bad.  Yet.

Dilluminati's picture

Cheap housing in crime zones.

1.21 jigawatts's picture

Is there any way to short Chicago?

Dilluminati's picture

best post today!

Short humanity, retailers, and Chicago.

Mr Pink's picture

JP Morgan - You want to short the city of Chicago?

1.21 jigawatts - Yes..yes...I do

JP Morgan - No one has ever shorted a city...they are the safest investment

1.21 jigawatts - Can you do it or not?

JP Morgan - Yes, we can do it ( smirks)

1.21 jigawatts - Great (smirks)

Iknowstuff's picture

+1000 for a great reference!!!!!!

Dilluminati's picture

on serious note:

On the muni's, Puerto Rico, etc.. I'd rather own FDIC 10 year issued CD by Discover than wait around for a certain argument or lengthy court proceedings over who gets a haircut.  In a world of low GDP grab that low hanging fruit.

The crowded trades.. they burn


silvercity's picture

Their credit rating says they have already been shorted. Or at least given a wedgee

wisefool's picture

Not even their favorite son Obama wants to live there anymore. His entire career was subsidized by that state. A "but for" thing for all you constitutional law professors and community organizers ...

But don't worry, he will stay in his D.C. mansion and run his "my brothers keeper" 501c3 to halp them....

itstippy's picture

Obama got out; why would he go back?  He's not stupid.  He did his time, got ahead, and moved on.

The only reason to stay in Cook County is for opportunity to prosper economically.  The weather sucks, the culture sucks, the traffic sucks, the air sucks, and everything's paved over with drab decaying concrete.  If the economic incentive to live in the Chicago area disappears, the place is doomed.

Nobody moves to the North Dakota oil patch for the fabulous lifestyle; they do it for the money.  Same deal with Chicago.

Paper Mache's picture

Nah. Obongo will be in jail, hopefully undergoing an anal enlargement process, carried out by  Dr Mexicano 

Ban KKiller's picture

Free market in action. Wait until they say you CANT leave....

BLM except in Chicago? No wonder blacks are leaving, they hate other blacks killing their kids. 

Uncertain T's picture

 Wait until they say you CANT leave..  

 Or ... impose a hefty "exit tax" on your IRA... after all, you earned the money in Ill.