Illinois Tops List of States Americans Left in 2022: Report

Illinois has topped the list of states from which Americans are fleeing in droves.
Illinois Tops List of States Americans Left in 2022: Report
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a rally at Federal Building Plaza in Chicago, on April 27, 2022. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Katabella Roberts

For the fourth year in a row, Illinois has topped the list of states from which Americans are fleeing in droves, according to a new report from moving company Allied Van Lines.

The report, which tracks migration patterns in the United States, found that fewer Americans moved in 2022 compared to 2021, as rents and interest rates soared and wages struggled to keep up with rising inflation, resulting in a roughly 20 percent decrease year over year.

However, those who did relocate appeared to move to Arizona, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas—specifically to Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, Sarasota, and Tucson, the report found.

Meanwhile, Illinois was the state in which the most number of Americans fled in 2022, with approximately 66.1 percent more Americans moving out of the state compared to just 33.9 percent moving in.

Following Illinois, California, New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were the top four states from which Americans fled in 2022, according to the report.

Anaheim, Chicago, New York City, Riverside, and San Diego were the most fled cities, Allied Van Lines said.

Allied Van Lines' report is based on data from all interstate moves received between Jan. 1, 2016, to Nov. 14, 2022.

The report comes as more and more Americans are choosing to flee high-tax, left-leaning states for Republican-led states in the hopes of a better life, U.S. Census Bureau data shows.

Analysts at Allied Van Lines noted that the most moved-to states in 2022 were "both affordable and offered better financial security," which is likely why states like California lost residents to Texas and Arizona.

Soaring Cost of Living

They noted that while California’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose 8 percent, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the United States behind only Hawaii and Nevada, its cost of living is still extremely high, behind only Hawaii and Alaska.

Meanwhile, California's average weekly wages fell by 0.6 percent over the course of 2022.

"At the same time, while Texas saw only 6.4 percent growth, its wages rose 6.4 percent and its cost-of-living is one of the lowest in the country," the report noted. "The same can’t be said for Arizona. Its prices rose in 2022, mostly due to increased demand for housing. Nonetheless, Arizona’s cost-of-living is still nowhere near as high as California’s cost-of-living, and its wages grew 5.8 percent over the same period," analysts added.

Employment opportunities are another motivating factor behind Americans fleeing certain states, the report noted, citing slow job growth in states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Illinois when compared to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.

"New Jersey has seen large job growth, but is significantly more expensive than states further south, explaining why it continues to lose population," the report added.

Meanwhile, housing is another significant motivating factor, with the report noting home prices in New York City currently stand at 119 percent above the national average.

House prices in Anaheim, California, meanwhile are roughly 140 percent above the national average, while in San Diego residents can expect to pay more than 166 percent above the national average.

Crime, Economy Playing Significant Role

"Chicago is an outlier among outbound cities this year, the only one with a housing market below the national average, a sign other factors (e.g. crime, economy) play a more significant role in its migration patterns," analysts said.

Another reason for the move may be the end of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, which have given back Americans the freedom to live where they prefer, in areas with cheaper housing and better access to nature, according to Allied Van Lines.

Crime is likely another big factor.

In the first three weeks of 2023 alone, the crime rate in Chicago, surged 61 percent, across nearly all crime segments, data from the Chicago Police Department showed, despite officials city maintaining that crime in the city was decreasing.

Meanwhile, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, has pushed measures cutting cash bail for individuals accused of various felonies and violent misdemeanors.

He has also maintained a tough stance on gun laws; in August, he signed into law the "Firearm Industry Responsibility Act," banning gun industry members from engaging in certain marketing practices that "encourage individuals to engage in unlawful paramilitary or private militia activity in Illinois," among other things.

However, while Chicago was the fourth top city from which Americans fled in 2022, according to Allied Van Lines, it has only lost an estimated 3 percent of its residents between 2020 and 2022, according to U.S. Census data, suggesting that many residents are likely fleeing from other parts of Illinois.
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