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Where are Illinois residents moving to?

Where Are Illinois Residents Moving To (2022 Report)

Illinois continues to record a declining annual population growth rate. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2020 estimates, Pennsylvania's population decreased by about 141,000 (1.1%) from April 2020 to July 2021. But why are so many leaving? And where are they going?

Based on our 2021 Migration Data Study, we analyzed where Illinois residents are moving and why they would choose those locations over others. In this report, we share our findings with you.

Top 5 Cities Illinois Residents Are Moving To

The traffic from Illinois ends up in cities with similar characteristics. A closer look at the favorability of these cities can help with creating a feasible relocation budget for residents looking to find greener pastures. The most preferred destinations for Illinois residents are:

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Dallas, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Denver, CO
  • Atlanta, GA

Phoenix, AZ

A special report by 24/7 Wall St. shows 10, 915 people relocated to Arizona from Illinois in 2019. With the cost of living in Arizona being 2.7% lower than in Illinois, goods and services are cheaper and housing prices remain at affordable rates. Additionally, the state's income tax rates depend on a person's income bracket, ranging from 2.50% to 4.50%.

The state is ideal for young people because of the thriving job market. It is also suitable for the retirement age group because they can enjoy the impressive scenery and lower tax rates, as well as great golfing prospects.

Phoenix is a favorite for many Illinois residents because of the warmer temperatures prevalent in the region. It gets the nickname "Valley of the Sun" from the great weather it enjoys throughout most of the year.

Phoenix also has several outdoor activities that residents enjoy. There is a desert botanical garden in the Sonoran desert with diverse and unique desert plants, nature trails, and plenty of outdoor activities. Residents also enjoy the Phoenix Zoo, Chase Field, and Heard Museum.

Dallas, TX

Dallas is also a prime location for many Illinois residents. Its metropolitan areas experienced growth between July 2020 and July 2021, according to the Census Bureau, despite the pandemic. Areas like Dallas-Fort Worth experienced the highest domestic inbound migration.

The influx in numbers is a consequence of the affordable cost of living, which is 5% lower than in Illinois. Additionally, housing prices are 6.3% less in Dallas, with the average cost of a residential property there being $14,400 less than in Illinois.

Furthermore, Texas is a tax-friendly state. There is no levy for all income forms at the state level. In Dallas, the property tax rate stands at 1.93%, and the median home value at $161, 500.

Dallas also has a booming job market for people looking for employment opportunities, and lower costs of living mean an increased purchasing power for its residents.

Los Angeles, CA

Although the cost of living in Los Angeles is higher than in Illinois, residents in the former have a higher income rate. Thus, the average salary can sustain the living expenses in Los Angeles. On the other hand, the income rate in Illinois is 6.2% less than in Los Angeles.

LA also has a diverse physical landscape with marshes, hills, lakes, rivers, mountains, and ranges. The topography provides immense opportunities for outdoor activities. Residents enjoy swimming, surfing, sailing, biking, hiking, bike riding and so much more.

The SoCal city also has world-class higher learning institutions like UCLA and CalTech. It also records the highest public charter school enrollment in the country.

The city ranks ninth in the country for its comprehensive public transit, covering every inch while leaving room for walking and cycling. Furthermore, Los Angeles, CA is a hub for cultural diversity. It is home to the country's entertainment industry that attracts immigrants worldwide. Hollywood is also a source of employment for many aspiring artists and entertainers.

Denver, CO

According to the Starker, 10,153 Illinois residents migrated to Colorado in 2019. Colorado homeowners enjoy the lowest housing tax rates in the country. Denver has a property tax rate of 0.50%. The median home value is $375,300, and the housing price as of 2022 is $550,000.

Income tax in Colorado is at a flat 4.50%. However, in Denver residents also have to pay local tax rates. Retirees aged 65 and older enjoy a $24,000 deduction on retirement income.

Denver is thriving in employment opportunities. The city has a diversified economy, and its job market is more robust than in comparable metro-sized cities. Additionally, a lower corporate tax rate, a large educated workforce, and better work-life balance make Denver a business-friendly city. Most start-ups target Denver more than any other city in the state because of its commerce-ready characteristics.

Denver's semi-arid climate makes it warmer than Illinois weather. Residents get to enjoy 3,100 hours of sunshine annually. The city experiences a mild winter with the coldest months registering 45 degrees as the lowest temperature.

Atlanta, GA

The median housing cost in Atlanta is $334,200. Renters constitute 44.8% of the entire population. The cost of living is lower than the national average, and the income tax rate in Atlanta is 6%. The average resident earns $35,719 compared to a national average of $28,555. With that said, the quality of life in Atlanta is quite high. The city has a predominantly young population with a bustling metropolitan area that houses urban parks, social amenities, and unique culture.

Atlanta has had a 2.9% increase in the job market. The city's 5.3 million population has a 5.3% unemployment rate against a national average of 6%. The city's future job growth is estimated to be 46.8% against the nation's 33.5%.

Why would Illinois Residents move to these cities?


Many former Illinois residents cite high tax rates as the primary reason behind their relocation, which isn't surprising considering Illinois has the highest tax rates in the country. The progressive nature of these rates hits businesses and high-income earners the most with many simply choosing to leave.

Illinois also ranks second in terms of property taxes in the nation at 2.16% — double the nation's average. This in turn raises housing prices in the state, causing some property owners, as well as renters, to avoid this by moving away.


Illinois was among the states hardest hit by COVID-19. A decline in the state's GDP and job losses were part of the aftermath of the pandemic in 2020. Although the state recorded an increase in GDP in the last financial quarter, migration rates remain high.

Warm Climate

Many residents are also moving out of state for a warmer climate, as well as lower housing prices and property taxes rates.

Employment Opportunities

Residents from Illinois also move to other states in search of jobs. The manufacturing industry is experiencing a decline partly because of the lack of incentives such as construction grants.

Embed the Infographic by Allied Van Lines

Where are Illinois Residents moving to infographic