Illinois lost more residents in 2016 than any other state, according to a Chicago Tribune report based on U.S. census data released Tuesday.
Illinois lost 37,508 residents in 2016, bringing the state's population to 12,801,539 people. This marks the third straight year the state’s population has dipped. Nevertheless, Illinois remains the country’s fifth-most populous state.
Illinois’ population began its downward trend in 2014, losing 7,391 people. That number tripled in 2015, with the state losing 22,194 residents, and continued in 2016 with greater losses.
In total, the state lost roughly 114,144 residents in 2016, although some of those losses were offset by new residents and births, according to the report.
Illinois' population is expected to continue to decline as more residents leave the state. Last year, the Tribune surveyed a dozen former Illinois residents who credited high taxes, the state budget stalemate, crime, the unemployment rate and the weather as key reasons for their relocation.
According to the Tribune report, census data pointed to the Chicago area as the root of the state’s problem. In 2015, the city saw its first population decline since at least 1990, losing 6,263 residents.