Illinois lost 122,000 people in 2021, the largest drop since World War II: Census

Only District of Columbia, New York believed to have suffered higher percentage losses in population

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Illinois has suffered its largest single-year population decline in decades, according to newly-released estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

In 2021, only the District of Columbia and New York lost a higher percentage of residents, the data shows

"In 2021, 20 states and the District of Columbia lost residents via net domestic migration. Largest domestic migration losses were in California (-367,299), New York (-352,185) and Illinois (-122,460)," the Census Bureau says. 

Traffic flows along the Interstate 90 highway in March 2021 as a Metra suburban commuter train moves along an elevated track in Chicago. 

Traffic flows along the Interstate 90 highway in March 2021 as a Metra suburban commuter train moves along an elevated track in Chicago.  (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar, File)

RED STATES LIKE TEXAS AND FLORIDA GROWING, WHILE CALIFORNIA, ILLINOIS AND NEW YORK ARE SHRINKING, CENSUS ESTIMATES SHOW 

"The largest net domestic migration gains were in Florida (220,890), Texas (170,307) and Arizona (93,026)," it added. 

Illinois’ estimated losses of more than 122,000 people in 2021 is part of a steady decline there in recent years. 

The Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield. 

The Illinois State Capitol building in Springfield.  (Photo by Daniel Acker for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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The decline started in 2014 when the state lost nearly 11,000 people and has increased to losses of nearly 80,000 in 2020, the website Illinois Policy reports, citing census data. 

The drop in 2021 appears to the most severe since 1943, when Illinois lost around 300,000 people during World War II, according to Federal Reserve Economic Data