New census data show the Chicago area lost population in the fourth consecutive year, continuing an overall trend of decline that could threaten future federal funds, economic prosperity, and political representation of the survivors.
The Metro Chicago area lost an estimated 22,068 residents from 2017 to 2018, according to the US Census Bureau data released Thursday. While New York and Los Angeles also declined, the Chicago region saw a greater decline in both the total and percentage changes; The area lost 0.23 percent of the population, more than twice New York is 0.10 percent.
As defined by the census, the Chicago stretch of space extends from Cook County to its suburbs and includes parts of southeastern Wisconsin and northwest Indiana. Despite the population decline, it is still home to nearly 9.5 million people, according to recent estimates.
Cook County, which includes Chicago, fell in the population for the fourth consecutive year with an estimated loss of 24,009 residents or 0.46 percent from the previous year. While Cook is still the second largest county in the United States, after Los Angeles County, it is on a downward trend invisible since the early 2000s, when the county population fell by 1
Then, the collar counties – DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Will – added hundreds of thousands of people when Cook's population fell. But that is no longer the case, the data shows. The population growth of the collars has slowed down and the total population of the five counties actually fell from 2017 to 2018.
Over the last eight years, the collar area grew by 38,273 people. In a similar period ending in 2007 – just before the big recession – the gain was more than 11 times greater, with 428,954 more residents calling these counties home.
There were a couple of pockets of growth in the area last year; Kendall, Kane, Will and McHenry Counties all so modest gains. But DuPage and Lake Counties each lost residents for the third consecutive year, a total of 9,539 people between the two counties during that period.
The published data Thursday contains population numbers per. County and only in the metropolitan area. State-to-state data came out in December and showed that Illinois fell in population for the fifth consecutive year and lost about 45,000 residents from 2017 to 2018. While much news coverage of Illinois & # 39; population struggles has focused On residents moving away, counter numbers also reflect "natural" gains or losses – births vs. deaths – and the number of people coming from other counties, states or other nations. For the Chicago area, falling birth rates and stagnant international migration have added influence from residents choosing to move elsewhere in recent years.
The census numbers for migration are expressed only in the form of net profit or loss. Cook County's net immigration has been negative for at least 27 years, which means more people moved away than moved to the area. The latest data lowered the current rate of net migration loss of 8.6 per capita. 1,000 people, although the county's lowest point came in 2005, when approx. 13 pr. 1,000 more people left than came in.
Meanwhile, more people left than entered each year since 2011 in the collar regions have turned the previous trend.
The census numbers do not explain the many reasons why people may move out of the Chicago area – some may have followed their employers or graduated from school – but in interviews with Tribune were former residents who chose to leave, given a variety of reasons, including high taxes, state corruption, crime rates, economic instability, long commuting, a total increase in living expenses and the weather.
Michael Gillam and Mary Green, both originally from Ohio, loved Chicago's skyline, lakefront and restaurant scene while living in the Ravenswood Quarter in 2015 and 2016, then enjoying a more suburban lifestyle in a second year in Naperville in DuPage County .
But as it was time to root out, the couple moved to Houston in February 2018 and sought more affordable housing and a warmer climate in one of the country's fastest growing areas.
"We just wanted to move a place where our money would go further," Gillam, 29, said. "The housing market here is amazing, it explodes. In Illinois, people seem to be leaving."
Gillam and Green, a 33-year-old licensed practitioner nurse, said they grew uneasy with city crime and instability in Illinois. government, especially after experiencing two-year budget budgets that ended in 2017. They are looking to buy a home and were worried that real estate in a declining area would prove to be a poor investment and difficult to sell down the road.
Man the & # 39; I come back to Chicago for their wedding in the summer of 2021, they have no plans to make it permanent.
"No one regrets at all," Gillam said. "We never looked back."
Not Just Migration
Flights to other states are a factor in the area's population decline, but not the only one.
Some experts note that the metro area does not attract enough novices to make up for people moving away. Immigration from other countries has also long contributed to reducing population losses, but in recent years this influx has been less robust, according to census estimates. Meanwhile, the birth rate is slowly statewide, meaning fewer new residents can compensate for other losses.
Take Cook County as an example. From 2017 to 2018, there were more births (63,850) than deaths (43,455) according to the census – creating the so-called "natural increase." During the same period, Cook experienced a net increase of 18,796 people arriving from other countries. (The census includes US troops and civilians moving back to the United States in this count.)
But both of these gains combined could not offset 63,339 net losses on domestic migration. All of this creates the county's total loss of more than 24,000 people.
In western suburbs Kane County, the picture is different, as thousands of babies help drive population growth. Kane experienced an estimated 6,516 births in the past year, enough to compensate for a net migration loss of 2,011 people and 3,446 deaths.
Kane had the highest natural increase in the region from 2017 to 2018 and added approx. 6 people per 1,000 residents when births and deaths are combined. Although Kane's birth rate has declined over the years – mirrored the rest of the state – remains the highest in the suburbs of northeast Illinois at 12.2 births per year. 1000.
These trends did not surprise Tara Burghart, who is on the City Council of West Suburbs Geneva and used to run the blog "Go West Young Mom", a hyper-local site for parents in the Kane County area.
Burghart believes that the county tends to attract young families with large schools, libraries, thriving park districts and more affordable homes compared to other parts of the region.
"And people can feel that they have more physical space and maybe financial space to get a child more," she said.
Geneva's residency Amanda Pauli agreed that it has been a good place to travel children – but that is not enough to keep her in the area. Her family plans to move to Michigan in June, close to the city, where she grew up and close relatives.
Pauli said they are currently paying approx. $ 1,000 a month in property tax, against $ 450 a month they expect to pay in Michigan. They will also live on a lake in a forest area with several opportunities for cycling, hiking and skiing.
"The two biggest things have to be about family and living expenses," said Pauli, a stay at Hometowns of two school age. "And the outdoor part of it. We really miss it."
Her family will join one side of the net migration calculation, those who leave. But some experts say that one should also focus on attracting new people to the area.
"We do not have a particularly high degree of equal emigration, but very few people come here in relation to our population compared to the rest of the country," says Daniel Kay Hertz, research director at the Center for Tax and Budget Responsibility.
Using US Census 2015 US Census data, his agency found that Illinois ranked mid-pack nationally on the number of people leaving the state, but third from scratch. the number of people coming in.
The potential reasons why people do not move to Illinois should be part of the conversation, Hertz said. 19659002] "The stories around the state mean and can shape people's decisions," Hertz said. "And those in Illinois are really, really, really negative in ways that I believe override some of the issues over elsewhere."
Jody Cameron, 44, who came to Chicago from Dallas in November 2016 for a radiology management job said he was happy because he had moved.
While he found the total cost of living in Texas much lower – there is no state tax and fewer parking fees due to more open space – he said his salary increased by 50 percent because his training was more in demand here.
He appreciates Chicago diversity, restaurants, cultural opportunities and sporting events, and doesn't feel any less secure than when he lived in Dallas. When he sends photos of snow on social media, friends in Texas say they're jealous. He doesn't miss burning hot summers.
"People here are like, why would you move here?" Said Cameron who lives in the Logan Square neighborhood. "Because people tend to believe the grass is greener elsewhere. My opinion is that there are pros and cons of each site."
Consequences of change
The Chicago area's population loss fits a wider pattern in Illinois, which lost its place as the fifth-largest state in the country to Pennsylvania in 2017.
Of 102 counties in Illinois, only 16 have experienced population growth from 2017 to 2018, and only 11 have experienced net gains so far this decade, Brian says. Harger, research assistant at the Center for Regulatory Studies at Northern Illinois University.
After decades of modest growth, the state population began to decline after 2013, with a net loss of more than 138,000 since then, he said. The growth in the Chicago area and a few pockets of deserts were enough to compensate for losses elsewhere, but this has not been the case in recent years, he said.
"Even the Chicago area didn't do that well," Harger said. "There were only a few peripheral counties that got the population and their winnings were pretty modest."
Downstate metro areas – counties surrounding an urban core of at least 50,000 people, such as Moline in Quad Cities, Peoria and Bloomington – experience similarly large net migration deficits that have turned the population gain into losses, census data shows.
From 2001 to 2007, subway stations in the sub-states added 144,089residents, primarily driven by gains in migration. But in the last seven years, these areas have lost one third of this gain of about 43,000 people.
As far as the state's rural areas are concerned, they have lost their population since 1997, as the death of residents exceeds births and more people move out than enter.
While many experts bemoan drops in the population, Chicago demographer Rob Paral Cook examined County's latest figures and found "no cause for joy or cause for alarm."
Because Cook is such a large county, the number of residents is lost, less important than the percentage change, he said. Cook County's population increased for several years after 2010, Paral said, and while it has fallen in 2015, the percentage decline has been minimal.
While population loss is important to monitor, he said he did not believe there is a crisis in Cook County.
"There is no mass emigration going on," he said. "I think it's important, because for many years there was a concern that the county would only get accelerated losses, but that's not what we see. People used the loss of population here … as a hook to hang their they would say it was because of taxes, or because of this and that, but the numbers do not really support the idea that we have some sort of serious problem. "
Other experts warn that the consequences of continuing population losses could be gloomy.
At least $ 34 billion in federal funding for programs that directly assist the residents of Illinois are tied to the threatening 2020 census, according to a new report from the George Washington University Institute of Public Policy; population loss can mean less money going around. Illinois is also in danger of losing as many as two congressional sites, if this number is probably due to a slowdown in population with long-term political representation, according to a report by the Illinois Complete Count Commission.
Population loss in the Chicago area is particularly related to the region's economy, says Aseal Tineh, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Policy Analyst.
"We talk a lot about how demographic trends and population changes are a condition and consequence of economic prosperity," she said. "When we see population decline, it may indicate how well the economy is doing to allow individuals and communities, but vice versa is true. When we lose the population, we also lose human capital and our workforce. regional economy. So the concern is both ways. "
Norman Walzer, senior researcher at the NIU State Research Center, who has studied economic development and public finance in rural areas for nearly 50 years, noted that these parts of the state are already there deals with lack of access to health care. Dwindling populations also put a strain on local public finances, Walzer said.
Population decline can tear the socially harshest communities, especially when businesses close down and local schools close or merge, says Kathleen Cagney, director of the Population Research Center at the University of Chicago.
An aging population with less growth and stagnant birth rates is shifting more from the financial burden of younger working people, she added.
"You have to think of something called dependency relationship," she said. "The number of people in the labor market, in essence, compared to those in need of support. Because people live longer, many of these people are not fully involved in the labor market. So you have a population that needs some kind of help and fewer people to help. "
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