By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner


New U.S. Census data shows that Illinois’ population fell again in 2019, making this the sixth year in a row Illinois has shrunk.

Here are the key facts you need to know:

1. Illinois’ population fell by 51,000 in 2019, the 2nd-most in the nation.

Only New York lost more people than Illinois in 2019.

Illinois also had the third-worst loss as a percentage of population. Only West Virginia and Alaska lost more in percentage terms.

Overall, Illinois shrunk the most of any state in the nation between 2010 and 2019. There are now 170,000 fewer people in Illinois today than in 2010.

2. Illinois has lost population six years in a row.

Cumulatively, the state has lost 223,000 people since 2014. That’s the equivalent of losing the entire city of Aurora.

Only West Virginia and Connecticut have also lost population for six years or more.

3. Illinois netted a loss of nearly 105,000 residents to domestic out-migration in 2019. 

A key reason for Illinois’ loss in population is its continuous stream of residents leaving the state. Illinois lost a net of 105,000 residents to other states in 2019.

4. Illinois has one of the worst rates of domestic out-migration.

Illinois’ domestic migration losses are some of the nation’s worst. When measured per 1,000 people, Illinois lost over 8 people to out-migration in 2019, the 4th-highest in the nation. 

And as the list below shows, none of Illinois’ neighbors come close to those losses. Michigan lost 2.4 people per 1,000 residents. Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin were almost flat. And Indiana actually had positive net migration.

5. Illinois’ neighbors are gaining population.

Bad weather – the favorite excuse of those who deny Illinois’ population problems – is not to blame for the state’s ills.

All of Illinois’ neighboring states gained population in 2019. In fact, Indiana gained nearly 37,000 people last year – 2/3rds of what Illinois lost.

Overall, Illinois has lost about 1.3 percent of its population since 2010. And while Illinois has shrunk six years in a row, none of its neighbors have shrunk even once in that time period.


Illinois politicians seem to have no plan to stem the state’s population losses. There’s no talk of an amendment to the pension protection clause nor are there plans to address the drivers of Illinois’ second-highest-in-the-nation property taxes

Instead, their only plan is a for of a multi-billion dollar progressive tax hike – something that will only chase even more people out.

Read more about Illinois and its many crises:

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Yes, According the us population 2020 blog the population of Illinois is decreasing or in negative growth of 0.0446 Million in the past 5 years. The most accurate population of 2019 is 12.75 million and it will be in 12.74 in 2020 estimated.

Poor Taxpayer

The best day of your life is the day you move out of Illinois.
There is no hope, DOA, a goner.
Let the cops, teachers and firemen pay all the pension taxes.
Do not be the last man to move.
The race is on to get out of this hell hole.
HIGH TAXES, LOW SERVICES AND some of the worst weather in the US.
You and your family deserve much better.

Joe strzalka

The assumption is that there is some pattern year after year to the population loss. That is likely not the case and one year could be more high income earners or females or older people etc than in another year. The idea that only poor people leave and given enough time this will be Nirvana is false. Economic growth in part depends on population growth. 50k less people means less haircuts, oil changes etc and fewer jobs are needed. If a place like Lincoln yards,for example, is built and occupied it will have muted demand for like properties in other… Read more »

joe blow

The ironic part is that you go to extremely liberal places like r/chicago and everyone (mostly young people) is completely oblivious to this fact. They say its only poor blacks leaving so no big deal (which is pretty racist in itself) but the numbers state otherwise. Eventually (hopefully not for at least 4 more years) some socialist moron will get elected president and completely implode the stock and bond markets, completely imploding the pension plans. Illinois residents will then be slaves to the feds to pay for the past sins of their fathers, their homes will become literally worthless as… Read more »


These young people (and some of the older ones too who don’t ever leave the city proper) are oblivious. I drove the other day through some office parks off the Edens expressway just north of Chicago and there are sooooo many vacancies. That entire office market is being cannibalized for other office markets in the Chicago area. I also read another article the other day saying that the Chicago loop is suffering higher vacancies as large companies move to shiny new buildings outside of the traditional loop. The author claimed that there was no center of gravity like the board… Read more »


>>>llinois residents will then be slaves to the feds to pay for the past sins of their fathers, their homes will become literally worthless as there will be no demand to buy them<<<
What an excellent post. Most in Illinois have no idea that these pension obligations are a first mortgage on their real estate. Interestingly they vote to continue the parody every election day.


I would like to say Happy New Year Everyone!! Most of us will make the new years resolution of losing weight and we will all succeed hands down. Problem is that only our WALLETS will definitely get thinner.

Illinois Entrepreneur

Nothing against your immediate stats guys, but it would be much more interesting if we could get an in-depth profile of WHO is leaving and WHO is coming. I suppose that is to come, as the stats were just released. I know there are some past census data that get into income/demographics, etc., but it seems skin deep. Which parts of Illinois are being vacated? How old are the people? We’ve heard some of that in the past. But I’d love to hear more about who is coming in. Are they immigrants? Where are they from? How are the demographics… Read more »

Hank Scorpio

+1000 for this comment

Bob out of here

I thought Ted had covered the demographics a few months ago. What’s more important than how many people are leaving and how many are moving in is how many dollars are leaving and how many are moving in. If middle class/upper end earners are replaced by the same number of low wage workers that’s not good. And yes, we have 2 Democratic parties. One for white people, another for everybody else. One need look no further than the union job sites to see that. As I asked a hispanic friend of mine years ago “When was the last time you… Read more »


The union laborers I know, and I know quite a few, are told to vote D, but all of them vote Trump. Not sure how they vote down ticket, I don’t ask, none of my business.

Ted and John have done a good job on that before with what data are available, but there is a huge handicap for a big part of that and you can blame the IRS. Only they have data on what income groups are moving, to where, and how much income they are taking with them. But they haven’t released anything since 2016.


That data is hard to come by but we have many anecdotal stories, and as they saying goes, the plural of anecdotal is data! Like I said a million times before, it’s one retiree at a time, one job transfer at a time, one high school grad, or college graduate at a time. Anecdotally, nearly all of my college roommates (granted, 20+ years ago) left the state. Only one stayed, lives in a People’s Republic kind of city; one of my best friends from high school followed his spouse (also a lifelong resident of chicago) to WI for a job… Read more »

Here is the demographic report we did a few months ago. A new one should be coming shortly. It covers the fall in international immigrants, the fall in births and the increase in domestic outmigration.

And for more on outmigration details, go to this page: There you will see a five part series on who left, ages, income group, etc., to the best we could get our hands on… Hope it helps.


Do the figures include illegal immigrants? After all we are a sanctuary State so I would think illegal statistics are somewhere available…aren’t they?


I’m sure JB and IL government will turn it around. We just need more taxes, corruption, laws, diminishment of individual liberty and property rights. Things will turn around– you’ll see!

joe blow

dude, weed and gambling are so awesome!


And abortion on demand up until the baby is 90% out of the birth canal, that’s how you increase the population in the state. Abortion is a HUGE reason why people want to move to this state!

joe blow

me and all my friends have sooo wanted to have abortions! lets move to Illinois!


Although the numbers are not good for Illinois, the numbers seem to support the position of many commenters here that the state’s decline will continue, though slowly. The exodus does not appear to be gaining momentum.The media and it’s liberal masters are doing a good job of masking the scope of Illinois financial woes. My own opinion is that for most people, their finances haven’t deteriorated enough yet for them to just up and leave. The desire to remain among family and friends is powerful, as is the desire to simply live in a familiar environment. Most will not leave… Read more »

Mike Williams

Perhaps those that left will move back in 2020. LOL


“The exodus does not appear to be gaining momentum.” The next recession will either accelerate the exodus or stall it, depending on how well the local economy does. Last recession Illinois was hit pretty bad with all the banking, foreclosures and construction related layoffs whereas we survived the 2000 dot com recession pretty well. But if the next recession hurts Illinois bad, expect the exodus to pick up pace, pretty quickly, when there are no jobs here to tie residents, especially young and mobile ones, to Illinois. The other issue with Illinois is that there is less middle class left… Read more »