The Daily Mail published an article naming Illinois as one of the ‘Worst possible states to live in’, the article used data from a 2013 Gallup survey. While it maybe five years old, some residents say the feeling remains.
“The system is messed up here,” said resident Nicholas Cooley. “There’s no money here. I just want to go somewhere different.”
For some, Illinois is the place they call, “home”, simply because of their families.
“We had left for a couple years for some tax reasons,” said Chicago resident Beverly Scully. “Now, we’re back and it’s working out fine. The real draw is my kids and my grandkids.”
Paul Wiese lived in Illinois for 14 years, but now lives up north in America’s dairyland.
“I think Wisconsin is a better state to live in than Illinois,” said La Crosse resident Wiese. “Even though we all complain about the government and we’ll complain about various things, we have a beautiful state.”
Wiese is among many who have left Illinois. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Illinois has had the largest decline in population in the country over the past year. Rockford University Associate Professor Robert Evans says that becomes a problem after the next census when the amount of representation Illinois has in Congress shrinks with it.
“There are fewer votes in Congress for bills to help Illinois,” said Evans. “It’s harder to get money from the federal government to come to Illinois because we have fewer and fewer seats in Congress.”
Moving forward, Evans says Illinois has to learn from other states like Wisconsin and Indiana — where resident satisfaction is much higher. “There’s got to be a lesson for us. If there’s  other states, there ought to be at least 20 lessons or something, that we could learn from other states.”
If Illinois keeps losing population at its current pace, we could lose two congressional seats after the next census.