The Washington Post

Half the people in Illinois want out of Illinois

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Illinois’s residents are not very happy with their state.

Fewer than one in five feel it’s the best (or among the best) state in which to live, a distinction it shares only with Rhode Island, as we reported last week. And a new Gallup poll shows that exactly half the state wants to get out.

Every other Illinois resident would move out of the state if they could, a bigger share than in any other state, according to the survey. Though, at 49 percent, Connecticut was a very close second. In Maryland, 47 percent of residents wanted out. And the same was true for more than 40 percent of people living in Nevada, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Louisiana.

The people least eager to move lived in Montana, Hawaii and Maine, where only 23 percent would leave if they could. (Montana topped the list of states whose residents felt it was the best or among the best places to live. Hawaii was up there, too.) Gallup conducted the survey during the second half of 2013.

Illinois residents don’t just say they want out, though, they’re also among the most likely to act on it. Exactly 20 percent of Nevadans say they are extremely or very likely to move out of state in the next year, more than any other state. But Illinois and Arizona are right behind with 19 percent expecting the same.

Why? In the case of Illinois, residents eager to move are most likely to cite work and business or weather and location as reasons for an impending move. The outgoing Nevadans say they plan to relocate for work, business, family or friends.

The states that are particularly vulnerable to losing residents — where high shares both want and plan to move — are Nevada, Illinois, Maryland, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, and Connecticut, according to Gallup. Texas, Minnesota, and Maine “have little to fear,” the report finds.


Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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