More and more people blowing out of Windy City at startling rate
More people left Chicago this summer than any other city in the country, according to United Van Lines, and the Illinois Policy Institute puts the blame on high tax rates.
The institute’s John Kaiser wrote on its website that the ranking should come as a surprise to no one.
“Instead of driving out residents with new taxes and fees, city, county and state government should look for ways to lessen the tax burden and instead reform their own houses before asking for more from Illinois families,” Kaiser wrote on the group's website. “If not, Chicago and Illinois will continue to top lists of where people want to leave, rather than be mentioned as destinations to which people want to move.”
The study is part of the moving company’s longtime efforts to document migration patterns in the country. The company releases a state-level study every January providing data about the previous year and each summer takes a look at city-to-city migration during the company’s busiest period.
“Every year, the summer months continue to be the most popular time to move,” Melissa Sullivan, the marketing communications director of United Van Lines, said in the survey report. “Throughout the entire year, United conducts more moves than any other moving company. This puts us in a unique position to use our data to observe migration trends from across the country – city-to-city and state-to-state.”
This summer, five Northeast cities figured into the highest levels of outmigration; two cities in the Mid-Atlantic and two in Southern California were also among the top 10. Chicago was the only city in the Midwest, and it took the dubious distinction of top spot overall.
United Van Lines’ 2016 Annual Movers Study showed that Illinois was second in terms of outbound moves, with 63 percent of moves taking families out of the state. Of Illinois’ neighboring states, only Kentucky earned a spot on the high-outbound list, with 58 percent of moves. Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana all had more outbound moves, but the rate was within a few percentage points of their inbound moves, earning them “balanced” status from United Van Lines.
Illinois’ rate has qualified it for “high outbound” status for nearly 10 years, and in every year since the company started posting data in 1978, Illinois has been either a medium outbound or high outbound state.
Kaiser highlighted a 2016 poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University that suggested that the trend is unlikely to change in the near future. The poll revealed that 47 percent of Illinoisans would like to move, and 20 percent said it was likely that they would be gone within a year. Of the respondents who wanted to move, the man reason cited was taxes.
According to Kaiser, taxes are a big problem for Chicagoans. In addition to Chicago seeing the most outbound moves this summer, Cook County saw a reduction in population of 21,324 between July 2015 and July 2016.
Chicagoans pay more than 30 city-imposed taxes and fees, not including the ever-increasing city property taxes and taxes imposed by the county and state. New taxes imposed by Cook County, such as the wildly unpopular sweetened beverage tax, and the new 32 percent income tax hike imposed by the state are likely to only exacerbate the issue.