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Cities across Illinois are shrinking because people are moving to other states, according to U.S. Census officials.

New Census data show most Illinois’ municipalities are seeing population decline. Six of the eight cities with more than 100,000 people lost population in the 12 months that ended last July. Some college towns and communities in the Chicago suburbs gained more people.

Peoria lost a bigger portion of its residents than any other city, seeing 1,468 people head for the door. Rockford saw its seventh consecutive year of population loss, dropping 749 people. Chicago had its third consecutive year of population decline. It was the only major city in the country to lose people.

Illinois’ total population fell by 33,000 in the same year, dropping it to the 6th most populous state behind Pennsylvania.

“This decline differs from the overall annual trend of large Midwestern cities,” Census demographer Joseph Bowman said. “The losses look to be mostly attributed to domestic migration. People are moving to other states.”

Illinoisans younger than 18 left the state in the highest percentage of any age group.

The losses not only affect towns by way of shrinking tax base. Some cities are in line to lose broad taxing ability that’s bestowed on them by benefit of having more than 25,000 in total population.

Staff Writer

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.