Let’s see. What city has: high taxes, a state budget still not resolved, high crime and high unemployment rates, and the highest number of people fleeing from it?
Washington, D.C.?…Nope. Detroit?…Nope. How about Baltimore?…Nope. Guess again.
Maybe this will help:
That’s right! The “Windy City”!
From the Chicago Tribune:
By almost every metric, Illinois’ population is sharply declining, largely because residents are fleeing the state. The Tribune surveyed dozens of former residents who’ve left within the last five years, and each offered their own list of reasons for doing so. Common reasons include high taxes, the state budget stalemate, crime, the unemployment rate and the weather. Census data released Thursday suggest the root of the problem is in the Chicago metropolitan area, which in 2015 saw its first population decline since at least 1990.
Chicago’s metropolitan statistical area, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, includes the city and suburbs and extends into Wisconsin and Indiana.
The Chicago area lost an estimated 6,263 residents in 2015 — the greatest loss of any metropolitan area in the country. That puts the region’s population at 9.5 million.
The Chicago region’s decline extended to the state. In fact, Illinois was one of just seven states to see a population dip in 2015, and had the second-greatest decline rate last year after West Virginia, census data show. While the state’s population dropped by 7,391 people in 2014, the number more than tripled in 2015, to 22,194.
The plunge is mainly a result of the large number of residents leaving the state last year — about 105,200 in all — which couldn’t be offset by new residents and births, according to census data. The last year Illinois saw its population plunge was 1988.
The potential fallout is both political and financial. Federal and state government dollars are often distributed to local government agencies based on population; so the population loss creates long-term budget concerns. Communities pouring millions into new roads and schools, for example, based on rosy projections of future growth are left with fewer taxpayers to cover the cost.
The loss of residents over the last 20 years translates to about $50 billion in lost taxable income, and about $8 billion each year in lost state and local tax revenues, Lucci said.
Want to know the real reasons people are leaving the “Windy City”?
Chicago residents leaving the state have cited the Chicago Public Schools’ financial crisis and the city’s red light camera controversy as motivating factors. The greatest concern, however, seems to be safety. Despite being the nation’s third most populous city, Chicago outpaces New York City and Los Angeles in the number of homicides and shootings, though it fares better than some smaller cities on a per capita comparison.
Thanks again, Obama.
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