Top 5 Reasons Why People Are Moving Out of Illinois

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Illinois, smack dab in the middle of the US, once brought in people from all over the country—and even the world—with plenty of job opportunities and renowned colleges and universities. Chicago in particular brought a sense of Midwestern hospitality within an urban environment.

But more than 140,000 residents left the Land of Lincoln in 2022, its ninth consecutive year of population loss. In fact, it was number two on the list of states most people moved out of in 2022. What’s causing this trend? We explore the reasons below.

Five reasons Americans are moving out of Illinois

1. Taxes

With a rate of just over 15%, Illinois ranks as number one in terms of the highest annual state and local taxes on the median US household—almost 40% more than the national average. The total state and local tax rate for the median household is over 15%

Other tax standings:

  • Personal income tax: 13th-highest per capita
  • Corporate income tax: sixth-highest per capita
  • Gas tax: second highest at 60 cents per gallon
  • Cell phone tax: highest at a rate over 34% (when combined with federal tax)
  • Alcohol tax: 16th-highest excise tax on distilled spirits and 12th-highest on wine
  • Estate taxes: tied for the second-highest rate
  • Property tax: second highest rate

All this said it’s no surprise that taxes are the top reason Illinoisans are choosing to relocate.

2. Housing

Because of high taxes, the economic gap between high-earning and low-wage employees grows. Gentrification of historically working-class areas has caused housing prices to rise, pushing people to less desirable neighborhoods—or, if they can afford it, out of the state entirely.

Plus, although the median home sale price increased year over year, the number of homes sold declined by nearly 30 percent.

3. Crime

Chicago has had a long-standing reputation for high crime rates, but the problem has seemingly only exacerbated in recent years. 

And it’s not only Chicago that has become more dangerous—cities like Danville, Peoria, Rockford and Champaign all have crime rates well over the average US city. Both New York City and Los Angeles have larger populations but lower crime numbers. From property crimes like vandalism to violent crimes, in general people in Illinois feel unsafe. Those with children may prefer to live somewhere  

4. Job market

Illinois, particularly the Chicagoland area, has been a haven for job seekers, whether just starting their careers or decades in.

The following are just some of the recognizable companies headquartered in Illinois:

  • Abbvie
  • John Deere
  • Kraft Heinz
  • McDonald’s
  • Sysco
  • United Airlines
  • Walgreens

The drop in the market and the resulting threat of recession have caused massive layoffs and hiring freezes across the tech organizations and large corporations that once drew people to the state. Some businesses—like Boeing and Caterpillar—have announced plans to move their headquarters elsewhere.

Illinois has also seen the largest drop in job openings and has the highest unemployment rate in the US. And it’s not just in the tech space seeing a downward trend; working class and manufacturing opportunities are also decreasing. 

5. Weather

Live anywhere in the Midwest, and you’ll have to deal with some level of seasonal changes. Certain areas of Illinois, especially those on or near Lake Michigan, have especially harsh winters, with bitter cold and lake-effect winds. Some can handle it, and even embrace it by participating in winter sports, while others find it intolerable, choosing to hole up until the snow melts and signs of spring appear. 

While not the major reason for the state’s population loss, plenty of residents—especially older and retired people—are trading in their snow boots and heavy coats for sunscreen and bathing suits and heading for Florida, Arizona and other warmer locations.

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(Your new) home, sweet home

If you plan to join the hordes of people leaving Illinois (many of whom are heading south) you’ve got some work ahead of you. In addition to getting your furniture, clothing and other belongings packed up, you’ll have to hire movers and arrange new schools, medical providers and other services in your new area.

One thing that isn’t always at the top of movers’ minds is figuring out how to get vehicles across the country. Like professional movers, car shipping companies load up your vehicle onto a truck or trailer and deliver it to your new home. Montway Auto Transport has an expansive network of auto transport carriers and will find the best one for your needs. Request a quote on our site or call us at 888-666-8929 to get started and get your car shipping arranged quickly and efficiently.

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