Illinoisans punch tickets to Texas as Chi-town becomes 'Bye-town'
Texas is less than 1,000 miles from Illinois, but it appears to be an entirely new world for the thousands fleeing the prairie for the plains.
A new Census Bureau estimate finds that the Lone Star State boasted four of the 10 fastest-growing cities in the country over a yearlong period beginning July 1, 2015. Harris County picked up 56,587 residents, Tarrant County gained 35,462, Bexar County grew by 33,198 and Dallas County added 29,209.
In addition, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro areas were the two fastest-growing metro areas per capita, increasing by more than 100,000 people each.
Meanwhile, Illinois’ Cook County experienced the largest decline of any county over that same time, losing 21,324 people.
“Places like Illinois have become feeder states for places like Texas,” Chris Bryan, a spokesperson for the Texas comptroller’s office told the Chicago City Wire. “Here the government likes to get out of people’s way and let them succeed, instead of burdening them with a lot of red tape.”
Bryan said residents have greatly benefited from a less-is-more attitude recently adopted by Texas.
“Lawmakers have taken a hands-off approach,” he said. “That includes not overtaxing or over-regulating. That makes it easier for people to succeed. It also helps that the state has no income tax.”
A particularly telling and perhaps troubling prediction, at least for Illinois, is that Houston will soon take Chicago's long-held spot as the third-largest city in the nation.
According to Reuters, within a decade, Houston will boast as many as 2.7 million residents, while the Windy City population will have slipped to around 2.5 million.
“Houston has emerged as more than just an energy capital,” Bryan said. “The tech sector and medical research fields are also blossoming and contributed to an overall strong economy.”
Census data also show the unemployment rate in Houston remains below that of the national average, while Chicago has consistently remained above it lately.
Illinois lawmakers also remain locked in a bitter ideological struggle that has resulted in the state being without a budget for two years, while residents are burdened with some of the highest property tax rates in the country.