Follow Us

Americans are fleeing blue states in droves over taxes and crime. Illinois leads the pack

After Illinois, California, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania round out the list for top 5 outbound migration states in 2022.

Published: September 4, 2023 11:18pm

For the fourth year in a row, Illinois tops the list of states where Americans are fleeing as residents struggle with high taxes, crime and a soft economy, according to a new report from the moving company Allied Van Lines.

Since 2019, Illinois has consistently had more outbound moves than inbound moves with Allied than any other state, according to the moving company's latest U.S. Migration report.

For the past four years in Illinois, more than 65% of all interstate moves involved residents leaving the state compared to less than 35% of moves that involved people coming to Illinois.

After Illinois, California, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania round out the list for top outbound states in 2022. All of the top outbound states excluding New Jersey have been at the top of Allied's outbound list since 2017. All five have Democrat governors.

"Those who could afford to relocate, moved south and settled along the Sunbelt, which offered stronger economic opportunities and a lower cost of living than the West Coast or Northeast," the report added.

Meanwhile, Allied's data show the top five "inbound" states are Arizona, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. 

"Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Illinois are not expensive states, but have experienced slow job growth compared to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida," Allied said in its report, which ranks Florida as the No. 6 state for inbound moves.

While New York City tops the list of cities with outbound moves, three of the top five slots for top outbound cities are located in California with Anaheim as No. 2 followed by San Diego, Chicago and Riverside.

"A shocking 27% of New Yorkers are planning to leave the Empire State in the next five years, with 30% saying they wish they lived somewhere else", reported the New York Post in April of this year.

Meanwhile, the average prices of homes in New York City and the top three California for outbound moves have home prices that are significantly above the national average.

"Chicago is an outlier among outbound cities this year, the only one with a housing market below the national average, a sign other factors (e.g. crime, economy) play a more significant role in its migration patterns," Allied noted.

Crime in Chicago has increased 54% so far this year compared to the same time period in 2019 before the COVID pandemic, Chicago police department data shows.

Adding to the reasons for the exodus from "blue" states, Illinois has some of the highest taxes in the nation, with an effective rate of 12.9% when factoring in state and local taxes, according to the nonprofit Tax Foundation.

During the 2010 Census, Illinois had more than 12.83 million residents, but by 2022, it had over 12.58 million residents, according to U.S. Census estimates.

While Chicago may be the fourth top outbound city, it only lost an estimated 30,000 residents from 2010 to 2022, U.S. Census data shows, which means that the bulk of residents leaving are from other parts of the state. 

A significant portion of that movement occurred after the COVID-19 pandemic, when Illinois instituted strict lockdown measures. From July 2021 to July 2022, more than 142,000 people moved out of Illinois than moved in, according to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

"To put that loss into perspective, consider that about 127,000 Illinois residents died in that same period. In terms of state population change, Illinois’ emigration problem effectively doubled its death rate," the foundation stated.

Even before the pandemic, 61% of Illinois residents polled said they had thought about moving out of state within the past year, according to a 2019 survey from NPR Illinois and the University of Illinois Springfield.

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

Just the News Spotlight