Fact Sheet: Population Change in Illinois

Matthew D. Wilson

Alex Linares

The population loss experienced by the state of Illinois in recent years has been of interest to policy makers, researchers, Illinois residents, and the media, all of whom have sought explanations for why the state is losing population in recent years. Among the most often cited explanations for the state’s declining population are:

  • The tax burdens of Illinois residents, ranking ninth highest out of 50 states.1
  • The business taxation schemes that result in an “unfriendly” business climate.
  • The deterioration of the physical condition and social fabric of neighborhoods.
  • An underfunded educational system.
  • Changes in the types and locations of jobs, with few middle-income employment options, that have limited opportunity across the state.

While these explanatory factors have been debated, few have examined where within Illinois the population loss is occurring and compared the recent population trend of Illinois to other states. This fact sheet seeks to provide recent data to further our understanding of where the population loss in Illinois is occurring and compare Illinois to other states in the U.S. This fact sheet provides yearly population figures from 2010 to 2018, comparing population change in Illinois to other states, examining population change in individual counties in Illinois, and examining population change in all the counties in the continental U.S.

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