Cook County becomes nation's biggest loser
Cook County saw more people leave between mid-2015 and mid-2016 than any other county in the United States, according to recent U.S. Census data, as the county suffered a net loss of 21,324 people.
Scrutinizing the details, the Illinois Policy Institute pointed out that the county did have more births than deaths and the state as a whole gained 18,434 residents who came as immigrants.
But 66,244 residents left.
While other U.S. regions, counties and cities suffered similar changes in terms of proportional loss, none came close to seeing the same number of people leave. Cook’s net loss is based on births, deaths and migration.
The second-largest county population loss was also in the Heartland: Wayne County, Michigan — essentially Detroit and its surroundings — registered a loss of 7,696 people.
The latest data from the government agency also revealed that nearly nine out of every 10 counties in Illinois — plus most of the state’s metropolitan areas — also suffered population losses, as outmigration surpassed new residencies.
The Illinois Policy Institute pointed out that it wasn’t necessarily a geographical cure that led citizens out of Cook County: Many were just moving across state lines.
“In fact, most of Illinois is depopulating — 93 of Illinois’ 102 counties are experiencing net outmigration, and 89 of Illinois’ 102 counties have shrinking populations,” the institute reported. “Illinois’ dysfunctional government, weak job creation, and ever-increasing tax burden help explain why.”
A poll released in October 2016 by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute indicated that taxes were the top reason people wanted to leave Illinois. The institute said it was interesting that Cook County’s loss didn’t appear to help Chicago’s “collar counties” of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will.
“The flow of people out of Cook County did not result in net in-migration for the collar counties,” it said.
In fact, those counties also registered net losses.
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