Youth on the run from Illinois

People spend time at the Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park on September 5. ...

People spend time at the Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park on September 5.


Hannah Beier / Reuters

Illinois lost a House seat in this year’s redistribution, and Democrats blame the snowbirds migrating south. But a new analysis from the University of Illinois Extension reveals that those fleeing for better fiscal and economic climates include swarms of young people.

Lincoln is one of only three states, including West Virginia and Mississippi, to have lost population since 2010. But its population over 55 has grown as baby boomers age. Over the past decade, Illinois’ median age has fallen from 36.6 to 38.8, making it one of the most aging states. Florida’s median age has increased from two years to 42.7 years.

Illinois loses youngsters while Florida wins them. State Development Specialist Zach Kennedy notes that “the US population has actually increased in their prime, the young adult cohorts, 25-29, 30-34, and 35 at age 39 ”. Illinois was among the few states to experience a decline in these age cohorts.

One of the reasons is that many students who leave the state for college do not return. Analysts call this the “brain drain”. “Only New Jersey has lost more college-aged individuals out of state who never returned,” Kennedy said. Hmmm. What do the two have in common?

High taxes, for example. Illinois’ effective residential property tax rate (1.97%) in 2019 was just behind New Jersey’s (2.13%). Illinois’ fixed income tax of 4.95% is relatively low, although its corporate rate of 9.5% is among the highest in the country. Heavy corporate taxes have held back job growth, and young people are following employers out of state.

The state is also losing children. Its population under the age of 18 has declined by 350,000 over the past decade. Lousy schools can drive out young families. Youth emigration sets off a demographic and fiscal time bomb like the one that ultimately bankrupted Puerto Rico.

Illinois does not tax retirement income such as 401 (k) or public pensions. This tax benefit can help prevent some seniors from leaving. But a shrinking population of prime-age workers and children means that a smaller tax base will have to support rising pension obligations. The people who stay will have to pay higher and higher taxes.

A study last month by research agency Wirepoints estimated that each Illinois household is on average owing $ 110,000 in retirement debt for public servants, up from $ 90,000 in 2019. The state’s retirement debt alone is $ 64,200 per household, or four times that. more than the national average and second highest after Connecticut ($ 65,400), which has a wealthier population. Boarding charges per household in Iowa and Wisconsin were $ 3,500 and $ 3,200, respectively. Both states have won over young people.

Illinois state and local communities are run by unions of public servants, and people shy away from the economic and fiscal consequences.

Wonder Land: From progressive dream to democratic nightmare as voters in Virginia, New York, Buffalo, New Jersey and Minneapolis oppose excess left, incompetence and intolerance. Images: Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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Published in the print edition of December 14, 2021.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Youth on the run from Illinois
Youth on the run from Illinois
Newsrust - US Top News
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