The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

The Chicago Area Lost More Residents Than Any Other U.S. County Last Year

By Stephen Gossett in News on Mar 23, 2017 3:22PM

Flickr / Photo: Jessica Spengler

For the second consecutive year, Cook County has seen it's population dwindle. In fact, the Chicago area lost more people than any other county in the country last year.

The figures are eye-popping (and ripe for politicization) in some ways. The number of residents in the Chicago fell by 21,324, according to census data released on Thursday morning. None of the country's other ten most populous cities saw a decrease of any kind. The figures dovetail with the state's overall trend: census numbers released in December showed that Illinois lost more residents than any other state—a distinction it’s held for three years running.

At the same time, the overall rate of decline is also in line with other Midwestern cities. Before last year's shockwave-sending decline, the city saw some population spikes, between 2005 and 2010, as the figure below shows. And Cook County's -0.4 percent loss in 2016 was akin to areas like Cleveland and Milwaukee (both -.05).

According to a Tribune survey, respondents who left said their reasons for moving from the area ranged from taxes, crime, the weather and the budget stalemate. But as Daniel Kay Hertz, of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability noted, the rates of population change over the past several years throw some cold water on blaming any one or two particular issue.