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Sangamon County's population declines by 2,500 in five years

Sangamon County's population declines by 2,500 in five years (WRSP)

A report released by a moving company finds residents are moving out of Illinois faster than they're moving in and county officials said a similar trend is being seen in Sangamon County.

"In the last four or five years, we've lost about 2,500 residents in Sangamon County,” Sangamon County Administrator Brian McFadden said. “That represents about $70 million in wealth that's walked out of the county."

In 2017, more residents moved out of Illinois than any other state according to a National Movers Study conducted by the moving company United Van Lines.

The study is based on household moves handled by United.

The report claims of all the Illinois household moves United handled in 2017, 63 percent of them were packing people up and moving them out of the state.

"It's clearly something you don't want to be ranked number one,” Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch said. “Those are people and jobs that have left the state."

Maisch said he'd like to see the state make reforms to fix this downward trend.

"Workers compensation and other regulatory burdens are a huge problem,” Maisch said. “There are also some tax incentives that we think would help spur small businesses to grow."

Jonathan Pool lives in St. Louis. He said about a third of the people he works with commute from Illinois.

"It's kind of the running joke that taxes are much higher across the river," Pool said.

Pool has family in Illinois.

We asked him if he’d ever consider moving closer to him and he said not a chance, especially after the two-year budget impasse.

"The budget issues,” Pool said. “Alright, so where are you going to supplement the debt? You're going to have to raise taxes and that's just something – Why would I want to move someplace where I know taxes are going to be raised? It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me."

Mcfadden said he thinks economic development one solution that could increase the population.

He said the county is in the early stages of creating an Economic Development Corporation to market the county and plan for its future.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois' November 2017 unemployment rate is down about 1 percent compared to November 2016, but the actual number of people working in the state also declined by about half a million. So that unemployment drop could be deceiving.

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