Illinois had a Shrinking Population in 2015

Jun 22, 2016

According to the most recent state and county population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, as shown in Chart 1, Illinois had a shrinking population in 2015 and, correspondingly, the second worst population change in the country. Illinois’s population shrank by -0.2 percent (-22,194 people) between 2014 and 2015.


 Chart 1 Illinois Percent Change in Population 2014 to 2015.jpg


Their shrinking population growth is due exclusively to having a negative net domestic migration rate—the second worst in the country.




#Illinois had declining population in 2015 due entirely to a negative net domestic migration rate. (click to tweet)


As shown in Chart 2, Illinois’s net natural population rate, as a percent of total population, was 0.41 percent in 2015—the 24th highest growth rate in the country. The below average net natural population rate is due to both a lower than average birth rate (1.22 percent, 21st lowest) and death rate (0.81 percent, 19th lowest).


 Chart 2 Illinois Net Natural Population Change as a Percent of Population 2015.jpg 


Additionally, as shown in Chart 3, Illinois’s net migration rate, as a percent of total population, was -0.53 percent—the 2nd lowest rate in the country. This out-migration is due to exclusively to the U.S. domestic migration rate which was -0.82 percent—the 2nd lowest rate in the country. In contrast, the international migration rate was 0.29 percent which is the 16th highest in the country, but not high enough to overcome the negative domestic migration rate.


 Chart 3 Illinois Net Migration as a Percent of Population 2015.jpg


Of course, the population change within Illinois is not distributed equally. The Illinois counties with the fasted growing population growth include:


  • Kendall County, IL (1.3 percent)
  • Champaign County, IL (0.7 percent)
  • Kane County, IL (0.6 percent)
  • Monroe County, IL (0.5 percent)
  • Williamson County, IL (0.3 percent)
  • Moultrie County, IL (0.3 percent)
  • Will County, IL (0.2 percent)
  • Fayette County, IL (0.2 percent)
  • Grundy County, IL (0.2 percent)
  • Ford County, IL (0.2 percent)


The Illinois counties with the slowest population growth include:


  • Alexander County, IL (-4.5 percent)
  • Schuyler County, IL (-2.8 percent)
  • Putnam County, IL (-2.6 percent)
  • Pulaski County, IL (-2.4 percent)
  • Hardin County, IL (-2 percent)
  • Cass County, IL (-1.8 percent)
  • Warren County, IL (-1.5 percent)
  • Mason County, IL (-1.5 percent)
  • Scott County, IL (-1.4 percent)
  • Shelby County, IL (-1.3 percent)


Interestingly, Cook County, IL (Chicago) also lost -0.2 percent of its population.



Click here to view our full demographic data app with details by state, by county, type of growth (natural [births minus deaths] and migrant [domestic and international]), and over time.


 Illinois Percent Population Change by County 2014 to 2015.jpg

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Category: Demographics

J. Scott Moody

Scott has nearly 20 years of experience as a public policy economist. He is the author, co-author and editor of over 180 studies and books. His professional experience also includes positions at the American Conservative Union Foundation, Granite Institute, Federalism In Action, Maine Heritage Policy Center, Tax Foundation, and Heritage Foundation.

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