Illinois Leads Nation For Third Year In Population Decline

illinois-state-flagI am in Chicago for the holiday and was struck by a recent report that shows that my native state is losing more people than any other state. It is a combination of factors to be sure but I have been critical of the politicians in Illinois (and particularly Chicago, my home town) for years in bankrupting the state and driving up taxes on every possible group. This is the third consecutive years for Illinois in leading the decline.

Illinois lost 37,508 people in 2016 and has now reached the lowest population in a decade. It is one of eight states on the decline and now has a population of 12,801,539 people. The move to the South is not the fault of Illinois’ leaders but there are also contributors like pension deals that brought politicians votes from unions but ruined the city and the state finances. Then there were absurdly corrupt deals (even for Chicago) for things like parking meters. Businesses face high taxes and endless requirements for permits and fees — something I hear about from various friends who struggle to stay in business in the city.

Other Midwestern states are facing the same dangerous trend with falls in Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Missouri. The mismanagement of budgets and rising tax levels can only exacerbate this trend. If cities like Chicago are going to thrive and avoid the death spiral of cities like Detroit, voters will have to hold politicians accountable for years of negligence and corruption. Illinois is an example of a lack of such accountability with politicians continuing with little evidence of such accountability despite financial crises that they helped produce.

78 thoughts on “Illinois Leads Nation For Third Year In Population Decline”

  1. Saw in the article that Iowa only lost a little over 3,000 people. They were probably all engineers. I would love to move back to Iowa but outside of professorships and John Deere, there are not a whole lot of good engineering jobs there. Maybe someday…

  2. NO. The Chicago parking meter fiasco is an example of monopolistic Dem politicians getting kickbacks from private companies and selling out the taxpayers.

    1. Ha,ha,ha. You’re spot on Nick. I Couldn’t agree more except that some think Democrats have a monopoly on corruption and so must go to Herculean efforts to twist reality to suit their tribal fantasies whereas I have no such mind numbing tribal allegiance.

      Corruption and asset stripping of public resources for the benefit of private enterprise go hand in hand. They are all but synonymous.

  3. The Chicago parking meter fiasco is a case study in what happens with privatization of public resources.

  4. Just got home from Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy
    Got to sit down, take a rest on the porch
    Imagination sets in, pretty soon I’m singin’
    Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door

    / G – Em – / C G D D7 / G – Em / C G D7 G /

    There’s a giant doing cartwheels, a statue wearin’ high heels
    Look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn
    A dinosaur Victrola list’ning to Buck Owens
    Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door

    Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band
    Won’t you take a ride on the flyin’ spoon
    Wond’rous apparition provided by magician
    Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door

    / D – C G / G Em D D7 / ” / ” /

    Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band
    Won’t you take a ride on the flyin’ spoon
    Bother me tomorrow, today I’ll buy no sorrow
    Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door

    Forward troubles, Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy
    Look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn

    Bother me tomorrow, today I’ll buy no sorrow
    Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door

  5. A bit late to the party, but….

    We have plenty of room here in Texas for as many Illini as can get over to I-35. Having said that, at the border the Texas Rangers will direct you to a city that matches your political bent. Alt-Left? Austin. Liberal? Houston. Centrist? Not available. Conservative? North Texas. Alt-Right? U-turn.

    I’m in Dallas. If you live in Chicago and you’re conservative, come by and I’ll put you up until you find work (about 10 to 14 days). Only two rules in my house: we drink long-necks and we don’t watch MSNBC.

  6. On second thought…

    “As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose — that it may violate property instead of protecting it — then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting at the door of the Legislative Palace, and the struggle within will be no less furious.

    Is there any need to offer proof that this odious perversion of the law is a perpetual source of hatred and discord; that it tends to destroy society itself? If such proof is needed, look at the United States [in 1850]. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person’s liberty and property. As a consequence of this, there appears to be no country in the world where the social order rests on a firmer foundation.” Frederic Bastiat

    It would be interesting to get Bastiat’s perspective on the United States 166 years later. He might no longer see our “progress” as an example for other nations to aspire to.

  7. See DC is still growing. Trump should move some of those federal jobs and agencies to hard hit parts of the country. Just sayin……

  8. Seattle, Portland, Denver, Minneapolis and Los Angeles all have successful democratic mayors and governors and they are nice places to live. 🙂 Go visit and get out of whatever rock you live under. It sounds so miserable.

    1. Bella, Virtually all major cities are Dem controlled. For every decent big city there are 5 sh!tholes. The only big city that has been Rep controlled is San Diego, where I spend winter. It is, year in and out, one of the safest and best run big cities. The SMART voters of San Diego just voted down a boondoggle tax increase corporate welfare new NFL stadium. The only blip in San Diego was a couple years ago when a Dem weaseled into the mayor’s office. Bob Filner. You may have heard about him. Hell, he may have even fondled you!

    2. Portland is choking on traffic because the dem mayor refuses to build bridges or infrastructure–bicycles for everyone. The homeless have taken over city center, again because of his policies. Please open your eyes when you visit.

  9. Why does anyone expect the Democratic Party Machine to change in Chicago??? My goodness, but even Lucifer preferred to reign in Hell, rather than serve in Heaven. Political parties rarely wake up. They just keep doing what they have been doing until something big, and outside their control, happens.

    Remember the Nazi Party? As long as they could go to operas, and be driven in limousines, did they really care about their cities getting the heck bombed out of them? Remember the Communist Party? Did they give a hoot about the average soviet citizen, as long as they got to run things, and got their perks? Remember Castro? Remember the North Koreans? Remember Venezuela? Remember South Vietnam?

    Did any of these party apparatusii ever break down and admit that they had screwed things up, and say, “Maybe the other guys should be running things!” Don’t hold your breath. Political parties are usually just run for the political party leadership types. That’s why Democratic leadership is all for illegal immigrants. Heck, they need poor people to vote for them. The more screwed up Illinois, and Chicago is, the better the Democratic Machine likes it.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. And yet the Democratic Party works beautifully in NYC, Boston and San Francisco. They are some of the most prosperous cities in the world and they are sanctuary cities. Some of these old know nothings need to get out and travel.

          1. Except that the story that people paid no attention and let someone stab her to death was nonsense and has been definitively discredited.

    2. You might consider yourself to be an expert on nazis but you clearly know nothing about Chicago.

      1. I went there. Once. I was not impressed. It had an old, stale, dead hog smell to it. I would certainly not return in light of its current murder rate. Plus, there seems to be a lot of Neo-Fascists there. The kind of thugs who shut down opposing party’s political rallies.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        1. Greater Chicago can be divvied up into three zones. Zone A, where about 2/3 of the population lives, has a homicide rate of 2.25 per 100,000. That’s suburbs. Zone B, where shy of 1/4 of the population lives, consists of the more congenial parts of the city and some inner-ring suburbs. It has a homicide rate of 5.6 per 100,000. Zone C consists of four islands which sum to 12% of the population: a bloc of South Side neighborhoods with a population of 600,000, a bloc of West Side neighborhoods with a population of 360,000, Gary and East Chicago (in Lake County, Indiana), and the suburb of Harvey, Ill. Zone C has a homicide rate of 47 per 100,000 – as bad as Detroit and 3.5x comparable neighborhoods in New York City.

          1. Desperate, What a great addition you are to this forum. I lived in Chicago a few years and your analysis is spot on.

  10. It’s the entire paradigm of tax and spend, buying votes with free stuff, and treating business owners like the enemy. Sure, it works to get votes, but it destroys the economy and drives up crime.

  11. Violent corrupt narcissistic arrogant leadership is a sure recipe to weakness and failure. Strength comes from fairness, compassion, helping hands, and openness to diversity.

    1. Doglover, your post reminded me of this very interesting article.

      “This tendency to split up into groups—sometimes called “tribalism”—is often harmless, but it can also become catastrophic if it gets out of hand. The 2016 US election and its aftermath is a recent example of extreme tribalism resulting in nasty consequences. People have become hyper-polarized, combative, distrustful, and violent toward one another. Close friends, family members, and neighbors are at each other’s throats. “We the people” are now thoroughly caught up in a seemingly unending, toxic game of “Us vs. Them.””

      1. Tragically true, Olly. I am still grieving at what I saw unfold after the election. The hard Left went absolutely crazy, turning on anyone who voted against Hillary, but especially against anyone who voted for Trump. Never would have believed it if I hadn’t see it myself. Even the moderate Left were left in shock.

        1. This was Obama’s goal from the beginning. This is our “fundamental transformation”, America.

          1. The conception of BO as a capable and effective long-range planner has always struck me as fantastical. Andrew Klavan’s description (BO is a hapless putz whose messes his successors will take 20 years to clean up) is on the money.

            1. We are still cleaning up Bush’s. Both the Iraq war and the financial crisis harmed this country immensely. Sixteen years since he took office and we are still recovering….

              1. In your imagination. The Bush Administration succesfully pacified all but 6 provinces in Iraq. In the six remainder (which have a large Sunni element and where lived about 40% of the population), the level of violence was cut by about 60% with the surge. Obama threw it all away.

                As for the financial crisis, that had little to do with anything the Bush Administration did. Joseph Cassano, Angelo Mozilo, Franklin Raines, and Kerry Killinger were not administration officials. The Administration and John McCain did in 2005 attempt to persuade Congress to enact legislation to mandate the improvement of accounting standards at the mortgage maws. One of the more salient milestones on the way to the crisis was when Freddie Mac slashed underwriting standards in 2003. Keep in mind that the board and senior management of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were chock-a-bloc with Democratic Party insiders, among them Herb Moses, Barney Frank’s boy toy. Frank rallied the GSE constituency in Congress to bloc the Administration’s initiatives.

                Democrats lie. All the time and about everything.

              2. Yes, that’s true and good points. But of course Bush wouldn’t have been able to preside, utterly clueless, over such a fiasco of Casino Banking without good ‘ol Bill having signed off on repeal of Glass–Steagall that turned commercial banks and securities firms into Casino gamblers with other people’s money.

                Both neoliberals. Both .01%ers. Both neoconservatives (any war will do).

            2. Desperate, Dems have tried to get everyone to forget about Jimmy Carter. Obama is much like Carter only he was given 8 years to be incompetent and feckless.

                1. Ask your Democrat Party. They treat him like he has BO, bad breath, and the flu. Odd you don’t see Jimmy @ Democratic Conventions, don’t you think? He was an abject failure, and being an outsider, white, Rebel, he’s not a protected class. Your party will beatify the equally horrible Obama, He’s black, you know.

              1. Obama is nothing like Jimmy Carter except that some of BO fixations reflect his adolescence in that era (e.g. Steven Chu’s venture capital portfolio at the Department of Energy). Carter, abrasive and sanctimonious he may be, was a man of scruple.. He is, in fact, the only Democratic President in the last 60 years who was basically straight up. BO gave the world the IRS scandal, the brazen lying over Benghazi, the seedy fundraisers galore, and the Iran ‘deal’. He’s a spiteful and shallow man who has likely never manifested an original observation in his life.

          1. A public display of sheer ignorance regarding any and all terms such as Left, Leftist, not to mention Socialist, Democratic Socialist, Communist, etc., seems to be a badge of honor for many on this site along the lines of beating one’s chest to show that facts are beneath contempt when proclaiming one’s deep tribal roots. Pure irony given the discussion. Even more pure when one considers that the neoliberals driving the insanity make up the leaders of both tribes. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha, snort. 🙂

          1. Because the term, hard left applied to Democrats broad brush, in this case Hillary’s supporters, is used as ignorantly as possible on purpose as 1) an insult and 2) as a badge of membership and 3) as a formulaic expression intended to always push the Overton window ever rightward. That last is something invented by the think tanks and then pushed out onto the appropriate public. Most on this site who use the term thus are completely unaware of the origin. Same as “haters”.

  12. Other Midwestern states are facing the same dangerous trend with falls in Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Missouri. T

    None of these states have registered a declining population in the last 6 years and Illinois’ decline was on the order of 0.2%.

  13. chiguy, Great comment. You are a great leadoff hitter. Being a former resident of Chicago, I always found Chicagoans take a perverse pride in their corruption and spending. It will take an epiphany for that to change.

  14. According to the article I read they were heading for the Sun Belt. However, Arizona was last on their list. California was first. Boy are they going to be surprised. 🙂 The thing that really surprised me was the number of blacks moving out of the state.

  15. What can I say? I am back at my home state Minnesota for the last 25 years after spending a dozen years in beautiful San Diego.
    The winters suck. The baby boomers are feeling the cold, and I am sure they are fleeing.
    Little towns are turning into ghost towns. If it wasn’t for the immigrants coming here, who knows what would happen. Last one out, turn off the lights.

        1. Joe, tell your family not to come to Colorado. It’s awful, awful, awful! Utah is the place to go, NOT Colorado! Any place other than Colorado!

    1. That’s my home state as well but I’ve remained in San Diego after retiring from the Navy. Today I’m following my annual winter solstice tradition wearing shorts and an aloha shirt. 😉

  16. The sad part is that even though the state Reps can not run their own part of the Government, they also try to micro manage county & city government, which screws us up locally!!!
    I want to leave the state too, but I’m retired, so I’d rather the corrupt Reps leave instead….Grrr

  17. The states of Washington and Oregon are among the fastest growing and they have high tax rates plus a good quality of life. Low tax low services states are low on the quality of life indexes for the most part.

    1. Joe
      Except that Washington doesn’t have a income tax and Oregon doesn’t have a sales tax. Washington does have one of the highest gas taxes and there is a real estate tax rate, but it is lower than most. Electricity rates are “to die for” anywhere else. The basics of taxes and utilities are such that our realized rate is much less than most think.

      As to the quality of life? The housing market costs are driving the middle class and lower out of the Seattle metro-complex. Rent an open one room flat for $900/mo. with toilet etc out in the open and have to use a common kitchen. City has to deal with several rather large homeless encampments, almost villages.

      Our schools are under court ordered changes for exceptionally poor performance. Legislature is having to drastically increase funding to pay decent salaries to get quality teachers. Corporations have many quality jobs begging for our kids but they can’t qualify and, as a result, are hiring foreign nationals.

      And, the town is known for one of the worst traffic gridlocking in the US. Sure the housing prices are booming, but construction rate isn’t. Sell your house? Sure, but you’ll pay more for less or equal to the house you had.

      So your generalization has significant holes in it.

      1. Renegade, Thanks for your comment loaded w/ FACTS. It stands in stark contrast to Joe’s spin comment. You are a real asset here, Renegade.

      2. Renegade, I wrongly assumed that the state of Washington had a high state income tax as does California. I was thinking that those left coast states were more alike than they actually are with regards to taxation. Again,my mistake…..

    2. You might want to consider, “Joe” that you do not live in the Northwest and don’t know what you are talking about.

      Everything Renegade said is accurate. Also this state does not owe all success to what you term as high taxes. People here actually succeed on their own accord and government is not responsible for all of it. And it is overly simple and folly to expect otherwise.

      If you claim that WA is “high tax” and the people benefit consider that for two decades voters have been handing defeat after defeat regarding taxation to the legislature through the initiative process and pummeling politicians who are steadfast in any serious drive to levy an income tax, which our state supreme court declared unconstitutional many decades ago. In fact, excessive taxes are something that voters in probably thirty-two out of the thirty-nine counties resist earnestly.

      In fact the tax system in WA, over-regulation, and an anti-small business mentality has stifled much more growth and the state has a reputation for being anti small business and liberal politicians are continually demonizing certain segments of the business community on whims and such. In fact, the Port of Olympia is in shambles due in large part to stupid policies levied by activist liberal port commissioners that drove port business away to Tacoma and Seattle. Such policies included surprise edicts dictating commodities that cannot be drayed and the city makes rules declaring that if businesses have any investment in companies on some arbitrary list crafted to appease their own political agendas they will not receive a business license. The port has been operating at a net loss for years and employment is minimal as a result. Big businesses, which you seem to dislike, such as Boeing, Microsoft, and a few tech companies are the darlings to the legislature, especially the democrats. Many others not so much.

      As Renegade mentions, the primary school system funding approach is in shambles due to decades of mismanagement by the legislature and the superintendent of public instruction’s office. The state is billions in arrears to be in compliance with a court ordered mandate to fully fund education. In fact, the Supreme Court held the legislature in contempt for failing to perform on its responsibilities and was fined a hundred thousand dollars per day at one time.

      For a long while the housing situation in Seattle was very tight, especially in the rental market. One of the reasons for this is investors were wary to build new apartment complexes because the liberals and the flakes in the city council made just about every disincentive possible for investors to build in the city. They had this “stick it to the man” approach to property owners and made the cost of doing business there so unappealing they would build outside the city, which contributed to much sprawl because the existing apartment complexes had high rent increases due to low supply and increasing risk caused by the city’s stupidity. One of the few things that incentivized the rental housing market there was that large tech companies moved in and paid higher than normal salaries. But small businesses are often crunched there because the city seems to be bent on creating its own set of labor laws and business regulations. And now, housing costs are rocketing up once again.

      High taxes and mismanagement have hurt Washingtonians more than it has benefited.

      Oregon’s economy on the other hand was in shambles for a long time until just in the past few years. It’s tax system, which is reliant heavily on property and income taxes, hampered the state and many services were reduced, especially in the 2000’s. In fact, the State Police was gutted brutally due to tax revenues being low because the economy was tanking at times, according to OSP officers I talked with, the entire length of US 101 on the Oregon coast had only one officer available to respond to calls. Go out side Multnomah County and compare how “successful” Oregon is. For a long time few wanted to invest heavily in Oregon because it just did not pencil.

      1. Have family in Seattle and they love it. Have never heard a negative word about it from them. It is a beautiful area but it is getting expensive because so many people are moving there. The young people really want to move to Portland, and I have considered moving there, myself. It is a cool progressive city. Sorry your experience has been so negative. Peace.

        1. “Sorry your experience has been so negative.”

          The keyword is EXPERIENCE. You cannot ignore the fact these sunshine and lollipop progressive policies might actually have a negative impact in the real world. Darren’s post is a great example of what is actually happening within his state. When these same policies have the same disastrous results throughout the country then it is absolutely reasonable and rational to change course. If the local government doubles-down instead then either you change the government or you move out of the state. Our central government with Obama as its chief administrator chose to double-down and we were facing Clinton coming in to double-down once again. The results of this election clearly show no one is about to leave; they just want to change course.

          1. I live in Oregon. We have some of the highest state income taxes in the nation. The state, and Portland in particular, are hostile to business, with many companies as they grow exiting for friendlier places. (Columbia Sportswear, Nike and Adidas are the only large companies that choose to remain.) Yet, people are moving here, but primarily it is Californians seeking a cheaper place to retire. Cheaper housing and no sales tax is pulling them in. But this crowd brings with them their politics and approach to entitlements. The electorate (people of all political persuasions) is fighting the state unions and allied democrats to stave off tax increases, which includes attempts to impose a state sales tax. They refuse to look at the budget mess they’ve made and start over. When enough Californians get here, we will have a sales tax and they will wonder why it costs so much to live here.

  18. Chicago residents show no particular desire to hold their politicians accountable – bold generalization, but look at the election results over the past 40 years.

    Chicago seems to have the government that it both deserves and wants.

    Just don’t try to bail Chicago out with my money.

    1. Great comment.

      Only a fool keeps repeating exactly the same experiment, but expects different results. I wonder if one day, they will stop blaming the GOP who isn’t even in the room, and look to change their own policies.

        1. And he’s been doing everything within his relatively limited power to reverse course, and has been beaten back by the Madigan mob who control the legislature.

          So, your hello is only relevant if you’re trying to greet the solution to the entrenched problems.

        2. Bella – my comment was about Chicago.

          Don’t think that the Illinois governor has much to say about Chicago – either de jure or de facto.

    2. Exactly, chiguy31! Illinois and Chicago in particular are deeply in LOVE with corruption. If there were a magic switch in Illinois that would end corruption, nobody would dare flip it because so many corrupt parties are feeding at the honey pot to want to make things better. And they politicians won’t be happy until they’ve detroited Chicago. Yet, the people continue to back these corrupt politicians. The fact that the Illinois voters selected the depraved, corrupt, lying, deceptive, and fraudulent Hillary Clinton says it all.

      It seems that things were actually better under Al Capone. At least under Capone’s organization, the corrupt politicians, judges, the police, and the corrupt government officials had the be accountable to Capone, who ran things more like a business.

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