At one point in our state's history, Illinois was a big growth spot in the country. During the 19th century up to just past the midpoint of the 20th century, people from all over the country and the world poured into Illinois.

Then, as we approached the millennium, those numbers really started going the other way, leaving us where we are now, which is leading the Midwest in outbound migration, and being 3rd overall in the nation in people leaving the state.

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Outta beer, outta here! (Getty Images)
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I'll call you from Branson! (Getty Images)
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New Study Shows That For Every 100 Illinoisans Who Move Away, Only 42 People Move To Illinois From Elsewhere

That's according moving company MoveBuddha.com, using numbers from their brand new 2022 Illinois Migration Report. New Jersey is number-one in the country for residents wanting to (and actually) leaving, followed by California, then comes the state of Illinois.

How intense is the desire to leave Illinois and find another state to live in?

MoveBuddha.com:

  • 2022 data for state-to-state moves shows that for every 42 moves into Illinois there are 100 out, the third-highest outbound interest in the US this year.
  • Top states for Illinoisans headed out in 2022: Florida (15.31%), Texas (11.49%), and California (10.18%) 
  • Schaumburg, Illinois, is seeing the steepest decline, where almost 75% of the moves in the city are outbound.
  • 5 top cities for those exiting Illinois in 2022, in this order, are: Ocala (FL), Seattle, Austin, Los Angeles, and New York.
  • The #1 most searched route in early 2022: Downers Grove, Illinois to Ocala, Florida.
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Rockford's Numbers In The Illinois Migration Report Are Concerning, Too

It's no secret that Rockford and the Rockford area have lost, and continue to lose population, but some of these numbers are pretty stark:

  • Rockford lost the largest population in the last decade out of the large cities in IL at a 5.5% population loss from 2010-2020 according to the U.S. Census.
  • For every 100 moves out of Rockford, there are only 67 moves in.
  • The most popular out-of-state destinations for folks leaving Rockford are Nashville, TN, Scottsville, KY, and Columbus, MS (in that order).

Click here to read MoveBuddha's full Illinois migration report.

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Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.