CHICAGO (CBS) — A conservative think tank says a population exodus from Illinois to other states since the mid-1990s has cost the state $26 billion in taxable income.

In a new report, the Illinois Policy Institute said from 1995 through 2009, the state lost 366,616 taxpaying households, or 806,054 people, to other states.

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This means the state lost an average of one resident every 10 minutes, and in 2009 alone, more than 40,000 people moved to other states.


This is despite the fact that the 2010 Census showed that the Illinois population actually increased by 3.3 percent compared with the 2000 Census, which the institute’s report only mentions once and says can be attributed to “international immigrants and expanding families.”

But based on Internal Revenue Service data, Illinois netted a loss of residents to all but eight states in the country, the report said.

The consequence, the institute says, is that $26.3 billion in taxable income that would have been paid to the residents who left the state. Those who left were also getting paid more than new residents who moved in – the adjusted gross income for new Illinois residents in 2009 was $4 billion, compared with $5.5 billion for residents who left, according to the institute.

“This loss of people and revenue hurts a state in fiscal crisis,” the institute said. “It’s not just people and their taxable income the state loses, but also their spending power and entrepreneurial activity. When people leave, they no longer pay taxes, invest in the economy, buy homes or start businesses.”

Furthermore, the institute said, a resident who moves out of the state takes taxable income away from the state not just for one year, but forever.

The institute argued that high state and local taxes and “non-competitive public policies” were to blame for the loss of residents in Illinois, and that departing residents were leaving for “states with significantly lower union membership and cheaper housing costs.”

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The report said the average state for which Illinois residents left had better conditions across the board, although the criteria for “better conditions” lined up largely with the institute’s political and economic stances.

The criteria included lower state and local tax burdens, lower income tax burdens, lower estate tax burdens, lower housing costs, and lower union membership. While union jobs might be considered a positive factor for some, the institute apparently considers union membership an unmitigated negative.

The institute also considered lower population density and higher average temperature to be “better conditions.”

But the report did not have any poll of out-migrants to determine their actual motivations for leaving the state.

“Although residents leave a state for many reasons, Illinoisans may now fear that overspending will lead to over taxation,” the report said.

The report said in 2009, Illinois lost the greatest number of residents to Texas. Illinois lost 7,615 people to Texas that year, for a loss of $188 million in income, the report said.

In terms of total taxable income, Illinois lost the greatest share to Florida, which has taken $294 million from Illinois as a result of residents moving, the report said.

Illinois has also lost residents to every border state, the report said.

While Illinois gained population between 2000 and 2010, the city of Chicago took a major hit, with a loss of 6.9 percent of its population. In particular, the city lost a major share of its African-American population, with a total 177,401 black residents, along with 52,449 white residents. The city gained 25,218 Hispanic residents.

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Chicago population losses, of course, would include people who moved to the suburbs or elsewhere in Illinois.