The Great Exodus Continues: Fresh IRS Data Shows Illinois Loses Residents To 40 Other States

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jul 01, 2024 - 10:20 PM

Authored by Tad Dabrowski via,

The latest state-to-state migration numbers from the Internal Revenue Service confirm what Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker consistently denies: Illinois is bleeding people.

IRS data for the 2022 tax filing year released last week shows Illinois once again lost out in the battle for Americans as they migrate between states each year. In all, Illinois netted a loss of 87,000 residents, with 175,000 moving into Illinois from other states and 262,000 moving out. That loss was the third-largest in the country, with only California and New York netting bigger losses of residents. Wirepoints documented in detail last week who were the nation’s biggest winners and losers overall.

Not only did Illinois lose a net 87,000 residents, but the state also lost the incomes those residents took with them. Illinois gave up a net $9.8 billion in Adjusted Gross Incomes (AGI), with outgoing residents taking with them more than $19.3 billion in AGI, while those moving in only brought in $9.5 billion. The net loss of AGI was also the nation’s third largest.

In all, Illinois lost residents, on net, to 40 states, giving up a total 87,877 residents, while it netted a tiny gain of 632 residents from 7 states. Illinois broke even with Hawaii and Nebraska.

The full detail of Illinois vs. each state in the country is provided in the appendix below.

The IRS report of more Illinois resident losses piles on top of those already reported by the U.S. Census and a host of moving companies like United Van Lines. Illinois was one of only three states in the country to shrink during the last Census decennial count (2010-2020), while the last three years of Census estimates show another 240,000 in fresh population losses. The moving companies, meanwhile, have consistently reported in recent years Illinois as having the first or second most net outbound traffic in the country.

Illinois’ loss of population relative to the rest of the country has resulted in a major drop in Illinois representation in Congress. Whereas the state had 24 U.S. House Representatives after the 1970 Census, today the state has just 17. Illinois most recently dropped from 18 as a result of the 2020 decennial count.

The IRS data is particularly important because it is not based on surveys or statistical analysis. Instead, it is hard data based on actual tax returns. The IRS knows where each tax filer lives and if and when they move. It also knows each tax filer’s income and the number of dependents in each family. That makes it easy to calculate which states are attracting the most people and how incomes are shifting between the states. It also allows trends to be tracked.

A look at IRS data since 2010 shows Illinois has accumulated a net loss of more than 1 million people due to domestic outmigration to other states, only partially made up by births and international immigration. Those out-migration losses are among the worst in the country.

It’s important to note that the IRS data does not track the movement of people who do not file tax returns. That will become increasingly important as the record number of illegal immigrants flowing into the U.S. are eventually counted. Illinois’ population numbers in the 2030 decennial count could be significantly impacted by illegal immigration.

The big winners vs. Illinois

Unsurprisingly, Florida was the biggest net taker of Illinoisans and their wealth in 2022.

As the IRS reported, 12, 521 Floridians moved to Illinois, but 31,620 Illinoisans moved to Florida. The net gain for Florida was 19,099 new residents from Illinois alone. That gain also came with a net of nearly $3.3 billion in new AGI for Florida. In all, a massive gain for Florida and a massive loss for Illinois.

That same dismal story for Illinois can be repeated several times over vis-à-vis Texas, Indiana, Tennessee, Wisconsin and more. The full data on people and income movement between Illinois and the nation’s other 49 states can be found in the appendix.

A particularly troubling fact is that every one of Illinois’ neighbors took people from the Prairie State. Indiana netted a gain of 9,196 residents vs. Illinois. Wisconsin picked up 6,323. Kentucky, 1,113.

In all, Illinois lost a net 21,050 residents to its six neighboring states.

Acknowledging a problem

Gov. Pritzker has repeatedly refused to acknowledge Illinois’ population and outmigration woes despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He’s even said that the IRS migration data “is not migration data.” The collapse in congressional representation alone should be a wake up call that Illinois is consistently losing the nationwide competition for people, their talents and their incomes.

That lack of acknowledgment means the governor and the state’s General Assembly continue to ignore the major woes facing Illinoisans. The nation’s highest property taxes. The country’s second-highest gas taxes. A six-year high in violent crimes in Chicago. Twelve years in a row in which Chicago has led the nation in total homicides. A massive prioritization of illegal immigrants over the state’s own residents. An educational system which many parents, in Chicago in particular, continue to flee. A lack of school choice because lawmakers last year killed off the state’s only small, tax-credit scholarship. The list could go on and on.

Increasingly, Illinoisans can’t see their future here. Until things change – and it starts with an acknowledgement of the problems – they’ll continue to flee.

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