Gallup: Half of Illinoisans Would Move Out of State If They Could

Published May 2, 2014

Half of Illinoisans would leave the state if they could, according to a recent Gallup poll. That percentage is the highest of any state in the nation. This comes a week after a Gallup poll that showed one in four Illinoisans consider Illinois to be the worst possible place to live.

The Gallup poll asked:

“Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?”

Illinois is the only state in which half the respondents want to leave. Illinois is accompanied in the top 10 by a collection of other high-tax states. Six of the states people most want to leave ranked among the seven worst for the Tax Foundation’s 2014 Tax Freedom Day.

Lousy Work, Business Environment

Respondents were also asked to cite the main reason they want to move out. One in four Illinoisans cited the work and business environment as the leading factor. Another 8 percent cited taxes. This is no surprise in the state with the third-worst jobless rate and a reputation for cronyism.

These polls were conducted between July and December of 2013, and so were not influenced by the chilling “polar vortex” Illinois experienced this past winter.

And Illinoisans don’t just talk the talk; they also walk the walk.

Annual Exodus

According to Internal Revenue Service statistics, Illinois lost 50,000 residents to net out-migration in 2010. More recently, Census estimates show that Illinois is losing as many as 70,000 people per year to net out-migration.

The Illinois General Assembly needs to act quickly before the state loses more people. The first action lawmakers can take would be to fulfill their promise to sunset the 2011 tax hikes. Such a move would immediately improve the state’s business environment and improve Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation level of trust in government.

Michael Lucci ([email protected]) is director of jobs and growth at the Illinois Policy Institute. Used with permission of