•November 25, 2015•
By Jim Nowlan
NP Guest Columnist
How do we stem the erosion of population and wealth from downstate Illinois?
Illinois lost 50,000 persons between 2010 and 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. There has been an even sharper net out-migration during the period (more people moving out than moving in), which has been covered up largely by high birth rates among Hispanics in the state.
The libertarian (very small government) Illinois Policy Institute has been blaming this all on high taxes. The IPI fails to note, however, that nearby Minnesota, with its much higher income taxes on the wealthy and even colder weather, grew by three percent during the period. The IPI work reflects “analysis” shaped by ideology rather than objectivity.
In fact, Illinois has seen a dramatic shift in our population makeup going back to the 1960s. In a 1982 article for Illinois Issues, demographer Cheng Chiang estimated that Illinois had a net out-flow of up to 900,000 whites in the 1970s alone.
I extrapolate that two million or more whites left the state on a net basis between 1970 and the present. This has been offset by the inflow of Hispanics and Asians and by natural births, so Illinois has grown, but slowly, since.
In effect, we have been exporting population to other states, often to states with no income tax and sunny warmth such as Florida and Texas, while we have been importing residents from other nations. Read More