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Illinois Residents Have Highest Rate of Discontent


Half the people in Illinois are eager to move to another state, according to a new Gallup poll. The Land of Lincoln has the highest rate of discontentment among the states.

David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Policy Public Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. said he is not surprised half of the state’s residents want to leave.

“Overwhelming numbers of people in Illinois tell our poll that they think the state is heading in the wrong direction, so this seems accurate to me,” he explained.

To him, people in Illinois are down on their state for several reasons, including political corruption, a weak economy, and a state budget is bad shape.

Southern Illinoisans have also expressed similar sentiments.

“Residents of Southern Illinois have long felt disengaged and alienated from the city of Chicago.  There is a huge rural/urban split,” said Yepsen.

He added that within states with large urban and rural populations, tensions and differences of opinions are inevitable.

Illinois is a big and diverse state and there are different reasons in different regions that explain why people would want to leave. In Chicago, for instance, there are issues concerning gun violence, while in rural parts of the state the problems are unemployment and the lack of economic growth.

The bad news for Illinois is that when so many people want to leave, it’s not good publicity.

“When half the people want to leave, that says something to the rest of the country,” said Yepsen.

But Yepsen says it's not all doom and gloom. He thinks that if some main issues get fixed, people will feel more optimistic about it as a place to live.

“I think political corruption, economic growth, fixing the state budget, those are all things that would make this a more attractive state,” concluded Yepsen.

Gallup conducted the poll between June to December 2013. Connecticut came in a close second; forty-nine percent of people in that state want to leave.

On the other end of the spectrum, resident of Montana are the least likely to want to leave. Only 23 percent indicated they want to move to another state.

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