Population loss in Illinois more than 51,000 in 2019, most lost in decade

Illinois moving
(Pixabay photo)

(The Center Square) — Illinois lost nearly 105,000 people in net domestic migration from 2018 to 2019, according to new numbers from the U.S. Census Monday. In total, the Land of Lincoln lost on net 51,250 people, the largest annual population decline this decade.

Its the sixth consecutive year Illinois’ population declined. The 51,250 in net population loss is roughly the size of the village of Hoffman Estates in suburban Chicago or Normal in downstate McLean County.

The U.S. Census announced the numbers nationally on Monday. According to national and state population estimates, 42 states and the District of Columbia had fewer births in 2019 than 2018.

“While natural increase is the biggest contributor to the U.S. population increase, it has been slowing over the last five years,” said Dr. Sandra Johnson, a demographer/statistician in the Population Division of the Census Bureau. “Natural increase, or when the number of births is greater than the number of deaths, dropped below 1 million in 2019 for the first time in decades.”

The Census said the nation’s population was 328.2 million, growing by 0.5 percent over the year, or by nearly 1.6 million people.

The updated numbers for Illinois, according to the U.S. Census, showed a loss of 51,250. Last year, Illinois dropped from the fifth to the sixth most populous state, losing an estimated 45,000 people and falling behind Pennsylvania. In 2017, Illinois lost around 40,000 people. In 2016, there was a loss around 38,000 people. In 2015 there was a loss of around 25,000. In 2014, there was a loss of around 10,000.

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On net domestic migration, Illinois lost 104,986 in 2019, coming behind net domestic migration losses in California (-203,414) and New York (-180,649).

Population losses come with a myriad of financial implications for Illinois officials. Many federal grants and other assistance is calculated based on population. Fewer people buying homes could lower property values, pushing property taxes higher. Companies seeking to relocate or expand in a state often view population loss as a negative quality because a growing business needs new workers. After reapportionment in 2021, Illinois will likely lose at least one congressional seat because the seats are based on population.

Reporting by Greg Bishop

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The Center Square -- formerly known as Watchdog.org and the Illinois News Network -- and their reporters represent 18 states across the United States as the taxpayers' watchdog, exposing the way government really works.

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