We've been hearing about and seeing Illinois' "outbound migration" troubles for at least a decade now, and a new study shows the problem is on the increase.

United Van Lines has, for the past 44 years, published their annual National Migration Study, which basically takes a look at where and why Americans decided to move in the previous year.

I've got to think that few would know better about where people are going than a national moving company whose very existence is dictated by folks pulling up stakes at Point-A and pounding those stakes back in at Point-B.

The problem for our state is that we're Point-A far more often than we're Point-B.

In going through the United Van Lines study, I learned that New Jersey leads the nation in outbound migration, and Idaho is the leader in inbound migration. 70% of the moves in New Jersey were heading for other places, while 70% of Idaho's moves were people coming in.

United Van Lines:

Among the top inbound states were South Carolina (64%), Oregon (63%), South Dakota (62%) and Arizona (62%), while New York (67%), Illinois (67%), Connecticut (63%) and California (59%) were among the states experiencing the largest exoduses.

Whatever your problems with the state you live in might be, very few people call up a  moving company to pack their stuff and get it out just because they're unhappy living there. It's probably not the smartest fiscal policy to quit your job and move away without having something lined up to do when you get to your new location (a fact my dad tried to pound into my head).

The United Van Lines study shows that being sick of a geographical location may play a part in the decision to leave, but the main reasons are taking a new job and/or being transferred, or moving out of state to be closer to family. United Van Lines says that the numbers of people leaving for the second reason are the highest in previous years, so never underestimate the draw of being closer to loved ones.

The other point from the study worth noting is that the pandemic has prompted more people to bail out on bigger cities for smaller, less densely populated areas. Which might be why Boise, Idaho is seeing 75% of their moves coming from out of state.

Illinois' outbound migration problems may get a lot worse before they get better. Illinois Policy Institute says that had the governor's "Fair Tax' passed, Illinois' job numbers would have been even worse than they are right now, and with Governor Pritzker threatening a 20% income tax hike on virtually every Illinoisan to make up for the failure of the "Fair Tax," we could end up driving away even more of our population.

 

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