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COMMENTARY: New poll says 51% of Illinoisans want to leave; taxes No. 1 reason

“Of those who said they would leave Illinois if they had the opportunity, 36% cited high taxes as the reason. Elected officials must work to fix the issues causing this negative outlook.”

Fifty-one percent of Illinoisans said they would leave Illinois if they had the opportunity, according to new polling from Echelon Insights in partnership with the Illinois Policy Institute. These aren’t idle opinions: Census data shows on net 141,656 people did leave Illinois for other states from July 2021-July 2022.

When asked to give an open-ended answer on why they would leave, 36% cited high taxes as the reason, followed by 17% who cited crime and public safety, and 12% who cited the cost of living. Just 10% blamed the weather.

Desire to leave Illinois depends largely on where you live. Most people who would leave live outside of Chicago: 57% of non-Chicagoans would leave. Only 30% of Chicagoans would leave.

Illinoisans ages 40-49 are the likeliest to want to leave. Across incomes, more people said they’d leave Illinois than stay.

Despite so many people voicing a lack of confidence in the state, 50% of Illinoisans are satisfied with their local communities.

“State leaders must reverse this negative outlook by adopting policies residents support.”

Statement from Bryce Hill, director of fiscal and economic research at the Illinois Policy Institute: “Illinoisans’ lack of confidence in their home state is incredibly concerning, and it’s a trend state leaders need to take seriously. When Illinoisans say they’d leave if they had an option, it’s not an empty threat – Illinois lost 141,656 residents on net to other states from July 2021-July 2022, according to estimates released Dec. 22, 2022, by the U.S. Census Bureau. That exodus was entirely driven by people leaving Illinois for other states. And when the largest group of folks saying they want to leave is made up of prime working-age adults, that’s bad for our workforce and our economy.”

Poll toplines are available here

Poll crosstabs are available here

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