Here’s a hint: It’s not the weather. Survey data point to economic reasons.
Among Americans who made moves of 500 miles or more from 2014 to 2015, nearly half cited employment-related reasons as the primary motivation for moving, according to census survey data. Another 21 percent of long-distance movers said housing-related reasons spurred them to pack up and ship out.
Family reasons caused 27 percent of respondents to move, and the remaining 3 percent of long-distance movers said “other” reasons drove their decisions. Virtually all of these 500-mile-plus movers left home for a different state.
Proponents of Illinois’ status quo often seek to dismiss the state’s migration woes as the inevitable loss of retirees to warmer climates. But while retirement is considered an “employment-related” reason for moving, and could drive a sizable share of long-distance moves, census data show a mere 1 percent of all moves between 2014 and 2015 were driven primarily by retirement. Even fewer moves were driven by climate.
For all moves of any distance from 2014 to 2015, movers cited each of the following reasons more often than retirement and change of climate combined:
And losing residents isn’t just a people problem. Losing border wars means budgets become harder to balance. If Illinois had simply broken even on domestic migration between 1995 and 2014, there likely wouldn’t be much of a budget problem in a state making national headlines for lacking one.
Illinois’ biggest budget problem is taxpayers leaving the state.
And census data demonstrate that stemming the flow of residents to greener pastures means Illinois lawmakers must pursue bold, pro-growth solutions to right their state’s economic ship.
Until then, expect moving vans to continue leaving the Land of Lincoln in the dust.