By Bob Balgemann


New reports from various state agencies have shown Illinois continues to be less popular with each passing year.

State Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Sycamore, said the state now is the sixth largest in the country, having dropped from No. 5 due to the continued loss of residents to such places as Florida and California.

Pennsylvania was the new No. 5, with 12.8 million residents. Illinois was close behind.

The U.S. Census Bureau used trend data, not any physical counting, to make that determination. The next Census will actually count state residents and will not happen until 2020.

United Van Lines, the nation’s largest household goods mover, corroborated the bureau’s finding about Illinois outmigration. United officials said Illinois has lost population for four consecutive years, with 34,000 leaving last year and heading primarily for the west and south.

States with the highest rates of in-bound movers are Oregon, 65 percent; Idaho, 63 percent; Nevada, 61 percent; Washington, 59 percent; and Colorado, 56 percent. United Van Lines found that the 2017 data continued to reflect moves happening due to lower housing costs, temperate climates, and job growth above the national average.

Slow economic growth

Other end-of-the-year reports, these about revenue and coming from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), showed Illinois’ economic growth continuing to sputter and the commission urged the legislature to do something about it.

Rep. Pritchard said the report, issued on the 10th anniversary of the Great Recession, showed the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) only rose by 3.8 percent from 2016 to 2017. That rate compares with 9.1 percent for the rest of the Midwest, and 10.7 percent nationally.

Illinois’ GDP grew by approximately $25.4 billion during that period, led by growth in the agriculture, forest and hunting sector; scientific and technical sector; and health care and social assistance sector. Contrast that with the construction sector, which shrank 19 percent; and the manufacture of durable goods, which dropped by $6.7 billion.

One bright spot, he said, was the manufacture of nondurable goods – chemical, petroleum, and coal products – which outperformed both the Midwest and U.S. averages.

“The commission’s economic team continues to call the General Assembly’s attention to areas of weakness within the economy and, by inference, to alter


For complete article, pick up the Feb. 4 Belvidere Daily Republican.