Once again, Illinois outbound migration in 2015 among nation’s highest

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Kevin HoffmanReboot Illinois

Jan 05, 2016
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Déjà vu: Illinois outbound migration third highest in the U.S.

United Van Lines recently released its annual "National Movers Study," and once again, Illinois has one of the highest percentages of outbound domestic moves in the nation.

Illinois remained at the No. 3 spot in 2015 with an outbound move percentage of 63.2 percent, marking the seventh straight year it has been ranked among United Van Lines' Top 5 states of people moving out. Only New Jersey and New York fared worse, at 66.6 percent and 64.6 percent, respectively.

*Map is interactive

The survey cites retiring baby boomers seeking warmer climates as the main reason people are leaving the Midwest and Northeast for the southern and western regions of the country, though some of the states with the highest percentage of inbound moves, such as Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Idaho, have their fair share of weather woes, too.

“This year’s data reflects longer-term trends of people moving to the Pacific West, where cities such as Portland and Seattle are seeing the combination of a boom in the technology and creative marketing industry, as well as a growing ‘want’ for outdoor activity and green space,” said Michael Stoll, economist, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The aging Boomer population is driving relocation from the Northeast and Midwest to the West and South, as more and more people retire to warmer regions.”

Census data released last month shows Illinois had the highest domestic population decline between July 1, 2014 and July 1, 2015, with 105,200 more people leaving than arriving. And all five of Illinois' contiguous neighbors saw small net gains: Indiana (21,800), Iowa (14,418), Wisconsin (11,905), Kentucky (12,475) and Missouri (19,845). When gains from international migration and natural births are included, Illinois' net population loss totaled nearly 22,200 people -- the highest of all 50 states.

As reported by Mark Fitton of the Illinois News Network:

David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, said Illinois rugged economic condition is certainly one reason it’s losing population, although not the only one.

For instance, Yepsen said, people should also remember that trends in domestic migration are running from the Midwest and New England toward the South and the West.

Part of that likely translates to job availability, but parts are also likely attributable to better climates and to retiree movement Yepsen said.

But the business and tax climate in Illinois is volatile, Yepsen said, and while “businesses don’t like taxes, they hate uncertainty.”

UVL's % Outbound Moves2009201020112012201320142015
Illinois58.2%57.3%60.8%59.5%61.3%63.4%63.2%
Iowa52.1%49.2%52.1%50.1%49.8%52.5%53.9%
Missouri49.9%60.1%53.8%54.1%52.3%53.1%55.2%
Indiana57.5%54.4%54.4%50.0%50.3%54.3%55.2%
Wisconsin56.3%53.9%53.6%55.0%53.6%54.1%54.8%
Kentucky47.6%46.2%54.9%55.3%56.4%55.0%54.7%

Bill Bergman, the director of research at Truth in Accounting, conducted his own analysis of United Van Lines' survey and compared it to states with a high vs. low "Taxpayer Burden," which is TIA's measure of each taxpayer’s share of total state debt after available assets have been tapped.

More from Bergman:

The chart below shows the average outbound shipment share of total interstate shipments for United Van Lines (UVL) for two groups of states – the 10 states with the highest TIA Taxpayer Burden, and the 10 states with the lowest Taxpayer Burden (out of the 48 continental United States).  Outmigration has been high, if not intensifying, in states with high Taxpayer Burdens... The four states with the highest share of outbound moves in UVL interstate moves in 2015 were (in order) New Jersey, New York, Illinois, and Connecticut.  Truth in Accounting’s average Taxpayer Burden for these four states rounds out to $42,000, compared to $5,000 for the other 44 continental United States, on average.

UVL vs Outbound Migration

In addition, a March 2015 study from the Center of Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University included a map that showed Illinois wasn't just losing residents to states with better weather, but to our neighboring states.

Illinois population migration map

You can find United Van Lines' full report here.

Related: Munger: Illinois bill backlog projected to hit $10 billion by end of year
Jul 14, 2016

Illinois bill backlog estimated to be $10 billion by end of 2016 Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger announced Thursday the state’s unpaid bill backlog could reach $10 billion by the end of…

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