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Report States Half of Illinois Residents Want to Move

By Sally Deneen

More people want to pack up and leave Illinois than any other state, according to a Gallup survey. Half of polled Prairie State residents said they would move to another state if they could, mainly because of work and weather-related reasons.

People who said they definitely plan to move out of Illinois within 12 months most often blamed work and business-related reasons (26 percent), followed by weather or location (17 percent), and wanting a better quality of life or a change (15 percent), Gallup found. Trailing reasons included cost of living (9 percent), taxes (8 percent), school-related (6 percent), and family and friends (6 percent).

It's tempting to put a lot of focus on weather – after all, last winter was the third-worst winter since the 1950s – but it turns out that some states with snowy climes have won the hearts of more of their people.

Montana, Hawaii and Maine tied for first place in the United Sates for having the fewest polled residents saying they'd move if they could (23 percent), with nearly as small of a proportion (24 percent) saying the same in New Hampshire, Texas and Oregon.

In Portland, Ore., where extreme minimum temperatures have reached negative-3 degrees in February, the weather is typically mild with little to no snow. According to HotPads, the median rental housing here is $1,422 and new homes are listed at $599,000.

For years, more people moved out of Cook County than moved in, as seen in this Forbes map showing tens of thousands of people pouring out of the county each year between 2005 and 2010. Grundy County in that same timeframe grew before stabilizing and starting to lose residents in 2009, according to Forbes' data. Most Illinoisans who take the plunge move to other Midwestern states, as seen in this map at Wired.com.

Illinois appears "particularly vulnerable to losing population in the coming few years," according to the Gallup report, which says the same is true for Nevada, Maryland, New York, Louisiana, Mississippi and Connecticut.

"High percentages of their residents say they would leave if they could," according to the Gallup report, "and larger-than-average percentages say they are at least somewhat likely to do so in the coming year."

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