News Local/State

What’s Really Behind Illinois’ Population Loss?


Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois is losing residents, according to recent census estimates, and common explanations include high taxes, unfriendly business policies or the state’s growing pension debt.

An article from the watchdog group Better Government Association examines those claims. The BGA’s senior editor, Bob Secter, says they distract from a deeper look at demographic trends.

He says population outside of the Chicago area has been slowly shrinking.

“That is a trend that is replicated across the Midwest. Less populated rural areas, smaller cities, outside the major metropolitan areas, are not doing well,” he said.

Meanwhile, Secter says the African-American population in Chicago has been declining and there are fewer immigrants moving to the city.