(CBS) — In a state with a massive budget deficit, it’s disturbing news: For the first time since the late-1980s, the population of Illinois is shrinking.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker takes a look at what’s luring people away.
Weather, work and money. Those are three of the biggest reasons people are leaving.
According to the Illinois Policy Institute’s Michael Lucci, some 95,000 people moved to other states last year.
“We actually had more people leave Illinois than were born in Illinois,” he says.
Tara Morales-Johnston and her family just packed up a condo in Lincoln Park and headed for a house in Crown Point, Ind. The reason?
“The cost of living is a lot less expensive than in the city,” she says.
In Chicago, she paid $6,700 in property taxes compared to $2,400 in Crown Point. Also, the expense for her children’s education dropped from $51,000 a year to $18,000.
Michael and Allison Prelaske found similar savings when they left Downers Grove for North Carolina, where they bought a much larger four-bedroom house.
“We would have never been able to afford that in Chicago,” Michael Prelaske says.
He had a hard time finding a teaching job in the Windy City. He sent out 1,200 applications, got just three interviews — but no offers.
“He came down to North Carolina, interviewed with two schools and got both jobs,” his wife says.
Carrie Graham spent months looking for retail work in Chicago. She’s living and working in Indiana now.
Says Lucci: “Compared to when the Great Recession began, we’re still down about 230,000 (jobs). So that’s a lot of excess workers all competing for the same jobs.”
It’s harder to start a business in Chicago, he says. Licensing paperwork takes 30 days, compared to a week in other cities.
“It’s an entire month of bills that you pay for your business while you’re not generating any income,” Lucci says.
The Illinois Policy Institute says another reason people are leaving Illinois: The property taxes are the second-highest in the nation.
So, where are Illinoisans heading? Texas, Florida and Arizona are the top three states.