Chicago Population Shrinks Most Of Any City In US

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

Illinoisans continue their exodus, with Chicago having the dubious distinction of the highest population loss in the nation.

High taxes are the number one reason people and businesses leave the state.

What follows is a guest post by Michael Lucci, Vice President of Policy, Illinois Policy Institute.


The majority of major cities in Illinois are shrinking as the Land of Lincoln depopulates due to massive out-migration to other states.

But while most of Illinois’ cities and towns are continuing to shrink, the majority of cities and towns in Illinois’ bordering states are growing, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
When Illinoisans are polled on why they are leaving, taxes are the No. 1 reason they cite. Yet Illinois politicians continue to raise taxes, showing that political leaders have not yet heard the message of the state’s residents.

Chicago shrank more than any other U.S. city, but Berwyn, Cicero and Peoria are shrinking faster on a per capita basis

Chicago’s population declined by 8,638 people from July 2015 to July 2016, a larger loss than any other major American city. Illinois has 29 cities with 50,000 people or more, and 21 of those cities also shrank in total size.

However, on a per capita basis, Decatur is shrinking more than any other city in Illinois. Decatur’s population shrank by 8.5 people per 1,000 residents from July 2015 to July 2016. That means that for every 1,000 people in Decatur in 2015, there were 8.5 fewer people in Decatur in 2016.

On a per capita basis, Decatur’s loss was followed by Berwyn, Cicero, Peoria and Oak Park, all of which shrank by more than seven people per 1,000 residents.

Eight of these larger Illinois cities had population growth year over year. Champaign is the only Illinois city that had more than 1 percent population growth, fueled almost entirely by the arrival of international students at the University of Illinois.

Most of these cities are shrinking because there are so many people leaving for other parts of the country. Those losses to other parts of the country outweigh the normal population gains experienced across the state from having more births than deaths, and having a small inflow of international immigrants.

Illinois’ Neighbors are Watching Most of their Biggest Cities Grow

The story is different in neighboring states, where most cities with more than 50,000 people are growing. Illinois’ border states have 58 cities with more than 50,000 people, and 38 of them are growing. That means that 65 percent of such cities in neighboring states are growing.

In Illinois, only eight of 29 cities with populations of 50,000 or more are growing, which is only 28 percent of Illinois cities with more than 50,000 people.

A large part of the reason Illinois’ border states have growing cities and Illinois has shrinking cities is because Illinois is losing the border wars with all of its neighbors. Illinoisans are flooding into bordering states faster than ever before. Over the last 10 years, Illinois has experienced large net migration losses to nearly all of its bordering states, and those losses have accelerated in recent years. (The exception to this 10-year trend is Michigan, which shares a lake border with Illinois and to which Illinois had net losses of residents over only the two most recent years of data.)

Higher Taxes Will Push More Residents Out of State

The Census Bureau released its out-migration data the same week the Illinois Senate passed a massive tax hike bill.

This is a significant development in a state where residents are fed up with the high tax burden, and this frustration is pushing more and more people to leave. According to a Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll released in October 2016, 47 percent of Illinoisans surveyed said they want to leave the state. And taxes were the most commonly cited reason people gave for their desire to move.

And according to a recent poll commissioned by the Illinois Policy Institute, fewer than 1 in 3 likely Illinois voters support raising taxes to balance the state’s books. Yet the General Assembly continues to insist on tax hikes as the way to close the budget deficit.

Illinoisans are taxed enough already, and the state will continue to lose residents until it reins in taxes and adopts policies to support more jobs growth.

The General Assembly has run a losing strategy for years: raising taxes and failing to reform spending drivers. This has not brought prosperity or opportunity to the state, and will not do so over the longer term, either.
Illinois will not become sustainable again until the state implements reforms so that the government, its bureaucracies and special interests serve the people rather than the other way around.

Until Illinois is fixed, Illinoisans will continue to vote with their feet against staying in the Land of Lincoln.

Michael Lucci
Vice President of Policy

* *  *

Those who leave are generally better educated and have higher wages than those who stay. Those who cannot find another job elsewhere have no choice but to stay.

Five Desperately Needed Reforms

  1. Municipal bankruptcy legislation
  2. Pension reform
  3. Right-to-Work legislation
  4. End of prevailing wage laws
  5. Workers’ compensation reform

Number one on my list of Illinois reforms is bankruptcy legislation. It is the only hope for numerous Illinois cities whose hands are also tied by union-sponsored prevailing wage laws.

For further discussion, including pension analysis,  please see Puerto Rico Placed in Bankruptcy Protection: Illinois Needs Similar Deal.

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Troy Ounce's picture


Can't be.

With every child born, a man leaves town

MagicHandPuppet's picture

White flight!  Always be ready to bug out if the commie-crooks in charge destroy the economy beyond repair.

wee-weed up's picture



The ones leaving are the ones who pay the taxes.

Eventually all that will remain will be the thugs, gang-bangers, and the free-shit army.

Good luck with that!

Agstacker's picture

They'll get a taxpayer bailout.

Dudeskis's picture

Federal funds to bail out a city or state would be the end of our republic.  

greenskeeper carl's picture

I believe the republic 'ended' when we ceases to have honest money. What we are witnessing is the resultant decline.

This results in a downward spiral of which there is no escape. Any politician who takes the clear and necessary steps to end it will be voted out and replaced by a can kicker. The self sustaining negative feedback loop has taken hold. They raise taxes, and productive people leave. So revenues fall short, and the pols raise taxes some more, causing more productive people to leave.

I can tell you that a lot of the people leaving the liberal northern cities are retired public employees. In east central Florida, I can't tell you how many people I've talked to that are retired teachers or something similar from somewhere up there. In Melbourne, FL you can buy 2200 square feet with a pool in a nice neighborhood for 200k or so. As soon as they can, they retire with their big pension, sell their overpriced big city house, and move down to FL with its not state income tax and low property tax. Then, they start voting down there, for the EXACT SAME BULLSHIT that chased them out of their home state. Sorry, long post.

Omen IV's picture

Retirees are not going to vote for higher property taxes to be used in  public education - so i dont think that is accurate


as the states eliminate welfare in all forms and state government make work jobs -- the taxes will go down and states will become "whiter"

Illinois, California, NY should "increase" welfare to drive the black and brown to those states - this is a prescription for long term Republican control via the Electoral College

The Democratic states can have welfare and public education - the republican states NO welfare and charter schools that are in part paid for by those with children


lower crime / lower welfare / lower taxes......more whites will move to those states

leave the dregs of civilization to the Democrats!!!!

greenskeeper carl's picture

"Retirees are not going to vote for higher property taxes to be used in public education - so i dont think thats accurate"

They don't vote 'directly' for higher property taxes, but they do vote for democrats who raise their taxes. FL would not be a swing state of it wasn't for snow bird transplants. I no longer live there, but I did for a long time. Trust me, that's the case.

Manthong's picture

Don’t be fooled.

It’s because certain “communities” are being shipped out to the suburbs with generous section 8 help.

Your average suburbanite is not smart enough to understand why all the violence, murders, graffiti, homelessness, school funding increases and taxes has come from.

I knew what was going to happen when Bill Clinton broke out his wrecking ball.

I think I still have the original clipping of Bovard’s piece from the WSJ in 1994.


But no city or town in the country has escaped the disaster inflicted upon us by Billy Jeff "B J" Clinton .



smokintoad's picture

Des Moines: 14 homicides last year and 15 already this year

"After an extensive investigation of alleged discrimination in their local priority ranking system, which was found to unfairly keep minorities (mostly from out of state, specifically Chicago, Illinois, which is four hours away) from being approved and placed on the Dubuque Section 8 voucher list, HUD forced officials to sign a Voluntary Compliance Agreement ceding control of their program even before AFFH is finalized. Dubuque is being required to not focus on the local needy citizens, but instead to attract and recruit new low-income renters from outside of Iowa. They must specifically advertise for and recruit low-income applicants reflecting the demographics of Chicago."

dunce's picture

Tax refugees have a blind spot. They don't vote for high taxes directly but they continue to vote for democrats which is the same thing. They are still liberals that have been drawing government checks all their life and see nothing wrong with that.

BarkingCat's picture

I used to live in Massachusetts and noticed the same behavior with people moving to New Hampshire.

They would move there to escape the insane political bullshit that was happening in Massachusetts and immediately started voting the same kind of leftist idiots into office.

The same crap is happening other places too. Kalifornians moving anywhere is like poison to the other regions. They spread their idiotic ideas wherever they go.

azusgm's picture

Of course the politicians are cutting their own throats with the tax hikes. That's what has to happen when your predecessors (and yourselves) pile on the general obligation debt.

Look around on EMMA and glance at some of the older official statements. For years, the state of Illinois has been allowing several entities to issue moral obligation bonds. Where have we heard of that flavor of bonds within the last year? Rhymes with Puerto Rico.

dunce's picture

The policies they implement are what the democratic majority want and though it bankrupts the state they have golden parachutes. he politicians will retire toactual gated communities or effectively (financial barriors) gated communities with very few of the despised minorities around except as gardeners and other menial labor.

Got The Wrong No's picture

People are dying to get out one way or another. 

mofreedom's picture

I would pay to leave Shitcago.

AGuy's picture

New Movie coming in 2018 staring Kurt Russell: Escape from Chicago.

Its not just Taxes, but the soaring crime and murder rate is is sending people running for their lives.

Chauncey Gardener's picture

But, but everyone loves Chiraq...

Mazzy's picture

You know what they say: every time a woman (of any color) breeds with a become a single mom.....forever....and no one will love you.....ever.

Such is life.  People make choices.  Just don't ask me to feed 'em.



AtATrESICI's picture

Sorry for the off topic spam. I just found out that Jim Jones was a democratic bigwig in San Francisco. It seems that this factoid is lost to history. Furthermore Jim Jones used honey pot tactics with underage women to compromise politicians per the article below. Anything else anyone can add to this vein of information would be much appreciated.

847328_3527's picture

Even blacks are jumping off the sinking ship. sadly, many are moving to my state where the crime rate will surely rise just like after katrina. It's a cultural thingy; you can take the savage out of the jungle, but ..... well, you know the rest.


If Obama had a son ... shoots 8 dead in hateful shooting rampage in Mississippi; suspect arrested

AtATrESICI's picture

Dear Demon Troll,

You and your kind cannot face the fact that the democratic party had deep ties to Jim Jones? This is from the paragon of facts Salon no less. I guess the democratic cult members have drank the kool-aid. the facts come out the democratic party will alienate more and more of the Jeffersonian Liberals / Classical Liberals.


SilverRoofer's picture

There will be a massive exodus of the ghetto state known as Illinois


BustainMovealota's picture

No, three men leave town.  The real father and the 2 that are accused

Got The Wrong No's picture

It's the real life Maury Povich Show. 

Never One Roach's picture

Genetic testing for Paternity is against the law in Shitcago. It's not pc. No one knows who be their Daddy and they  seem not to care since the EBT still flows like water to them on the taxpayers back.

Megaton Jim's picture

Mass confusion on Fathers Day!

Tijuana Donkey Show's picture

What's a father? Isn't that white privilege?

Great Deceivah's picture

This is a good oportunity for all the illegal mexican scum to move into Chicongo, so  we can later nuke it out existence.. 

larz's picture

Part of the Obama legacy

mofreedom's picture

Great hotdogs and Italian beef at Portillos...may you be blessed to have coming to your town soon...

WestVillageIdiot's picture

I always enjoy reading Mish's insights into Illinois.  The states surrounding Illinois should be building a wall.  Something tells me these are not all rocket scientists and wonderful citizens leaving Illinois. 

City_Of_Champyinz's picture

Hey I fled to Indiana to get away from Chicago's absurd corruption.  There needs to be some kind of pass system for non-douchebags if they build a wall...

Edit: Most people do not realize the tax burden on home owners in IL.  Some of my friends who still live there have like 6-10 different local tax authorities that tax the shit out of them.  Just look up all the forest preserve county tax bureaus, it is insane.

Great Deceivah's picture

What do you expect from a city run by low IQ niggers?? 
 We all know that if there is one thing African Monkeys excel at, is corruption..

SmackDaddy's picture

Well it's a faggot jew actually in charge there. The blacks don't "run" anything. They just "overrun" everything when they're permitted.

greenskeeper carl's picture

It's not run by low IQ niggers. It's run by smart people who have figured out how to extract the maximum amount of revenue out of their people. The low IQ component is who votes for them.

dexter_morgan's picture

I work in the city for now. The Indiana people I work with are upset at all the Illinois folks moving in. Lake county Indiana is becoming like Chicago east as the libtards move across the borders. They left Chicago, but didn't leave their libtards values behind, just trying to save on taxes.......until they get all the same shit imposed there causing taxes to go up.

1904AUSTIN's picture

The same thing has happened in Arizona.  All the wack-job governors in Kalifornia have driven residents into AZ the last 20 years only to bring their libtard views with them.  AZ used to be solid red.  Now its about 50/50. 

Creepy Lurker's picture

Same also happened to Colorado. Turned it blue. I loved the place, and would have stayed there happily for the rest of my life. At least I made bank on my house.

Midas's picture

I have lived all over the West.  The Kalifornians have done this to literally every western state.  Maybe not Wyoming, but from Montana down to Colorado and New Mexico and everything west, the influx of left-wing voters from California who leave behind the consequences of their ideas, but not the ideas themselves have drastically altered the politics of western states. 

greenskeeper carl's picture

Same thing happened in Florida. It went trump this time, but the only reason it's even a swing state is NE retirees moving down there.

MisterMousePotato's picture

"AZ used to be solid red."

Actually, the truth is a little more nuanced.

"Wack-job" and "libtard" are, arguably, words that can be applied to any place that elects the likes of John McCain.