In just the latest sign that things are about to get a whole lot worse for the city of Chicago, especially in their efforts to deal with that pesky little $130 billion pension problem, the latest population statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that people are abandoning the Windy City in record numbers. Per the table below from Crain's, the population of metropolitan Chicago has now declined two years in a row, a rate of decline that is accelerating, with over 65,000 people choosing migrate to other safer areas of the country.
The metro area declines are heavily concentrated in Cook County, but show signs of spreading to outlying counties, too. For instance, the bureau estimates that DuPage County lost 3,000 people in the past two years, and that Will and Grundy counties had small population losses last year.
The bureau did not break down the data by municipality, so it's impossible to tell for sure if the Cook County decline was in Chicago proper, suburban areas, or both.
One particularly stunning figure: net domestic migration, with an estimated 89,000 more people moving from the Chicago area to other portions of the country in the past year than those who moved in.
And while some "policy analysts" (a.k.a. "Rahm Emmanuel Drones") tried to suggest that the mass exodus from Chicago is just a reflection of the general migratory patterns afflicting all of the MidWest...
Liz Schuh, principal policy analyst for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, said the figures are "of concern for the region's continued economic success."
"Residents often choose to stay in or migrate to a region because of economic opportunity and quality of life," she added. While the region has recovered from the recession, and indeed has the largest workforce since recording began, "that recovery has lagged our peers."
Others suggested that the region, like much of the Rust Belt, eventually will return to slow-growth form after those who wanted to leave during the recession but couldn't do so for economic reasons finally are gone.
"But data also suggest that African-Americans are now leaving the region at a significantly faster rate than whites, Paral added. That suggests that rising crime rates and the loss of jobs on Chicago's South and West Sides are continuing to encourage residents to look elsewhere for a better life.
...we would be willing to bet that it just might have something to do with those spiking murder rates..but that's just a hunch.