"For the third consecutive year, Illinois has lost more residents than any other state," according to U.S. census data released Tuesday.
The Chicago Tribune dedicated an in-depth report to the "dire" situation in President Obama's adopted home state, and accurately noted the reasons why residents are fleeing Illinois in droves -- yet failed to address the party and policies primarily responsible for the downward spiral. While Illinois is currently governed by a Republican, the state, and moreover its most populous metropolitan area, Chicago, has been controlled by the Democratic machine for far too long.
The result of their failed progressive ideology? In 2016, Illinois lost 37,508 residents, placing its population "at the lowest it has been in nearly a decade." What's more, it's among only eight states in the union to lose residents at all.
"Illinois is a part of the country where, in general, during the recession, it held on to (people) who wanted to move to Sun Belt states," William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution told the Tribune. "Now it's losing them."
"When you have a big state like Illinois, to lose population for three years in a row? That's cause for alarm."
[It's] mainly a result of the large number of residents leaving the state in the past year — about 114,144 in all — which couldn't be offset by new residents and births, according to census data measuring population from July 2015 to July 2016. The number of residents leaving the state is the largest in recent history, as data from 1990 show just 50,440 residents left Illinois and migrated to other states.
What's more, the Tribune reports that state's population "will continue to sharply decline in the coming years" and that the primary reasons include, "high taxes, the state budget stalemate, crime, the unemployment rate and the weather."
Not that Illinois Democrats will notice or even care; after all, they're banking on Mexican immigrants to prop up Chicago's population numbers. No, that's not a Trumpism. The Tribune reports that indeed, Chicago's population has been depending on Mexican immigrants to balance white flight.
More than any other city, Chicago has depended on Mexican immigrants to balance the sluggish growth of its native-born population, and during the 1990s, immigration accounted for most of Chicago's population growth. After 2007, however, Mexican-born populations began to fall across all the nation's major metropolitan areas. Unlike Chicago, most of those cities managed to make up for the loss with the growth of their native populations.
Now, Illinois residents are mostly leaving for Sun Belt states — those with the country's warmest climates, like Texas, Arizona and Florida. During the years after the economic recession of the mid-2000s, migration to those states paused but has started up again as states in the South and West have better job opportunities and more affordable housing. Texas, in fact, attracts the greatest number of Illinois residents, followed by Florida, Indiana, California and Arizona, according to 2013 Internal Revenue Service migration data.
While the outlet includes "the weather" as a catalyst for resident's flight from Illinois, it's likely more due to the fact that "job and business opportunities are stronger in neighboring states." This in turn has sent more Illinois residents "to other parts of the Midwest than vice versa," said Michael Lucci, vice president of policy at the Illinois Policy Institute.
"That really speaks to economic concerns being at the heart of this," he told the Tribune.
While other Midwestern states also are losing population, Lucci said the "pattern is on steroids for Illinois." This past year, just 27,839 residents left Michigan, 12,395 residents left Wisconsin and about 12,135 left Indiana, according to census data. About 6,250 residents left Missouri while Iowa had 3,392 residents leave the state.
"I think what that says about Illinois is quite dire," he said, calling for transformational reform in state leadership. "Overwhelmingly, people are leaving to go anywhere other than Illinois."