Census Bureau estimates Cook, Lake and DuPage counties lost thousands of residents
More than 60 percent of the state's estimated population decline in 2018 came from Cook, DuPage and Lake counties.
That's according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates released this week that indicate there were 45,116 fewer residents in the state in 2018 than in the previous year. It is the largest estimated population loss in the state this decade and continues a trend of declining population that began in 2014.
Only New York lost more residents than Illinois in 2018, according to the census estimates.
Cook County's estimated decline was more than 24,000 residents. Meanwhile, DuPage and Lake counties appear to have lost a little more than 2,000 residents each as well.
"Since the (Great) Recession, we've seen a change in migration patterns with more residents leaving the region all together, and that's part of what we're seeing here," said Aseal Tineh, associate policy analyst for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. "There is a relationship between population growth and economic opportunities, and that's playing a part as well."
CMAP issued a report on the effects of the latest census figures, which is available at the agency's website, cmap.illinois.gov.
Illinois' population peaked in 2013. Since then, census officials estimate, Illinois has lost more than 157,000 residents. Once the fifth-most populated state, Illinois is now sixth behind California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, and it likely will lose a congressional seat after the 2020 census is released.
Overall, the drop represents less than 0.4 percent of the state's population. But for the first time statewide, every metropolitan statistical saw its population decline. Illinois was one of nine states to lose population in the last year.
Birthrates aren't outpacing deaths by as much as they used to, and stagnating international immigration isn't making up for the loss of domestic migration to other states, Tineh said.
Kane, McHenry and Will counties each claimed modest growth of less than 1 percent in the estimates. Only nearby Kendall County's estimated growth exceeded 1 percent last year, the reports showed.
More detailed estimates of the population data will be available later this year, census officials said.