More Than 228,000 Moved to Illinois Last Year: Where Did They Come From?

Illinois has experienced significant population changes in recent years, with some residents leaving due to factors like high taxes, crime, or weather, while others have chosen to establish roots in the state. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 228,000 people migrated to Illinois from outside the state in 2023. The question arises: where did these newcomers originate, and what drew them to the Land of Lincoln?

International Immigrants

The largest influx of new Illinois residents comprised individuals who arrived from foreign countries. Census data reveals that in 2023, more than 73,600 people immigrated to Illinois, attracted by its diverse and vibrant culture, robust economy, and educational opportunities. The state boasts numerous ethnic communities, including Chinatown, Little Italy, Greektown, and Pilsen, along with prestigious universities like the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois. Illinois also offers diverse industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, finance, and technology, providing ample job opportunities and income for newcomers.

Californians and Texans

The second and third largest groups of new Illinoisans relocated from two influential states: California and Texas. Approximately 20,500 individuals migrated from California to Illinois in 2023, and nearly 20,000 came from Texas during the same period. The disparity in climate, culture, and politics between these states and Illinois raises questions about the motivations behind their residents’ moves. One plausible explanation is the cost of living; California and Texas, with high housing prices, gas costs, and taxes, can pose challenges to maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. In contrast, Illinois boasts a lower median home value, gas prices, and income taxes. Another potential factor is the overall quality of life, with Illinois showcasing lower crime rates, higher life expectancy, and superior rankings in healthcare, education, and infrastructure compared to California and Texas. The state’s rich history, culture, and natural attractions further contribute to its appeal.

Neighboring States

A notable portion of new Illinois residents originated from nearby states, including Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Kentucky. Approximately 16,000 individuals relocated from Missouri, followed by 13,800 from Indiana, 12,800 from Wisconsin, 8,500 from Iowa, and 4,000 from Kentucky in 2023. These states share similarities in geography, climate, and culture with Illinois but differ in terms of economy, politics, and demographics. Reasons for choosing Illinois over their home states may include job availability, population diversity, or proximity to family and friends.

Other States

The remaining newcomers to Illinois hailed from various states such as Florida, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. Each state presents distinct characteristics and challenges, prompting residents to move for different reasons. For instance, individuals may have relocated from Florida to escape hurricanes, heat, or the COVID-19 pandemic. Others from Michigan may have sought better opportunities, given the state’s higher unemployment rate, lower median income, and lower GDP per capita than Illinois. Some individuals from New York or Pennsylvania may have chosen Illinois for a more relaxed and affordable lifestyle, considering the high taxes, traffic, and stress levels in their home states.


In 2023, Illinois welcomed over 228,000 new residents, representing diverse backgrounds from various countries and states. These individuals brought their skills, talents, and perspectives, enriching Illinois’ economy, society, and culture. With its diverse and vibrant environment, robust economy, and continually improving quality of life, Illinois stands as an appealing state for both longtime residents and newcomers alike. Illinois is not just a state worth moving to; it’s a state worth staying in.


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