By Andy Grimm
4:55 p.m. CDT, May 1, 2014
Half of Illinois residents would move to another state if they could — the highest percentage for any state, according to a poll released by Gallup this week. Nearly half of those polled in Connecticut and Maryland said they would move.
Some 19 percent of Illinoisans surveyed said they plan to move in the next 12 months, a rate that trailed only Nevada.
The New Jersey-based polling firm conducted interviews of 600 residents in each state, asking “Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?”
On average, 33 percent of those polled would leave their state. Montana, Hawaii and Maine had the lowest percentage of residents expressing a desire to move.
The top reason for wanting to move from Illinois, given by 26 percent of those polled, was “work/business-related.” Weather was the next most-cited reason for wanting to move, though the poll was conducted from June to December 2013, meaning pollsters contacted respondents at latest midway through this year’s frigid, snowy winter.
A release from Gallup points out that Illinois has ranked at the bottom of recent polls gauging residents satisfaction with state taxes, state government and “overall perceptions of how their state compares to others as a place to live.”
On the positive side, since the poll has a margin of error of plus/minus 5 percent, Illinois could be tied or faring better than the other states in the top three, Connecticut (49) and Maryland (47), said Brian Gaines, a political scientist at University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
The responses likely point to a general disaffection with state leadership, which has been scandal-plagued for decades and more recently has seemed unable to deal with lingering budget and pension crises, Gaines said. But he noted that it often is hard to say why people want to move.
“It is sort of noisy data. There are a lot of reasons why people want to move, and it could be that they have a problem with their city or local area more than their state,” he said. Despite the polling responses, it is unlikely that 20 percent of current residents are likely to move in the next 12 months, Gaines said.
The poll can be viewed here.