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People Are Leaving Chicago In Droves, But They're Leaving NY In Bigger Droves

By Mae Rice in News on Jun 8, 2016 8:32PM

Photo via Roman Boed on Flickr

It's pretty well established that people love to leave the Chicago area. Millionaires are leaving. Non-millionaires are leaving, too, because they can't afford rent. Houston's coming for our title as the U.S.'s third-largest city. People want to get out of Chicago so bad, they routinely leave for Champaign-Urbana. We get it. Sigh.

Or do we? There's a spark of hope on the horizon, sort of. When Americans are making long-distance moves, Chicago isn't the city they're most likely to be leaving, according to a new study of the 50 biggest American cities from That would be New York! Chicago is only second-most-likely to be left behind.

Here are the rankings, based on Census Bureau migration data from 2009-2013, as well as data from and


Such an honor, to only be second-most abandoned. Seriously, though—according to's chief economist, Jonathan Smokes, there's reason to be excited. Overall, "Chicago is not losing populations and households anymore," he told Chicagoist. Though we're losing residents domestically, our metropolitan area—a sprawling entity that includes portions of Indiana and Wisconsin—more than make up for it by attracting people immigrating other countries.

For a look at where people leave Chicago for, check out's map of the most common long-distance moves in America:


As you can see, Chicagoans tend to leave for Atlanta, Phoenix,and Los Angeles. People are clearly trying to escape Chicago winters as well as Illinois's non-existent state budget and Chicago's hordes of rats! (Weather aside, factors in long-distance moves also include better job opportunities and more affordable housing, the study reports.)