Record number of people leaving Illinois - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Record number of people leaving Illinois

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WSIL-TV -- More than 250 thousand people moved from Illinois to other U.S. States in 2015, while only 165,000 moved in, according to new data from the IRS.

That net loss of more than 86 thousand people meant nearly 5 billion more dollars in income left the state than came in.

It put Illinois, as second-worst in the nation, behind only California.

"I've lived in a bunch of states before I moved to Illinois, and not one of them badmouthed at the leadership level the state the way Illinois leaders badmouth Illinois," said John Jackson, professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

He says the way Illinois politicians talk about the state could actually be driving people out.

But that isn't the only reason.

A poll by the institute last year found that nearly 50 percent of Illinoisans wanted to leave the state, with more than half of those citing taxes, government, jobs or education. 

Jackson says that the state's two-year budget crisis was a key driver to people leaving town.

"It made a huge difference," he said. "You heard it again and again that the state was in disarray and it was in disarray."

Illinois lost people to every single surrounding state, including a net loss of more than 8,000 residents to Indiana and more than 6,00 to Wisconsin.

Jackson say that if Illinois continues to lose population at this rate it will not only continue to hurt the state's economy, but reduce its political power on a national level.

"We're already slated to lose one, and could lose two members of the House of Representatives in 2021 so we don't want to keep losing population," he said.

Jackson did say with the budget impasse over the flow of people leaving Illinois should slow, if the state can pass a budget on a yearly basis.

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