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Jordan Candler / May 30, 2017

Chicago’s Great Population Purge

What happens when gang violence, high homicide rates and statism mix? You get a great population exodus.

New statistics reveal more of the troubling blowback of liberal policies in Chicago, where gang violence, high homicide rates and statism have long been a problem. Yet again, the city’s population has dwindled, according to the Chicago Tribune. “It’s the city’s third consecutive year of population loss,” the Tribune reports. “Chicago’s population fell by 8,638 residents between 2015 and 2016, to 2,704,958. The year before, it declined by 4,934.” Even more noteworthy, of the U.S.‘s 20 largest cities, Chicago stands alone in this category — the 19 other cities saw population gains last year.


The Tribune subtlety tries to soften the blow by noting, “Chicago’s population drop is part of a larger pattern of slowed urban growth in 2016. The country’s top cities did not see the same surge as in previous years, experts say.” Fair enough. But those cities didn’t see losses, either. And given Chicago’s considerable homicide hazard — the number of murders this year is approaching 250 — the rational inference is that gang violence is the primary reason for the population migration. But there are other causes, too. The purge isn’t confined to just Chicago — the state lost a union-leading 37,508 people residents last year. This implies that in addition to gang violence, the tentacles of statism are also helping drive out Illinois residents. The fact that other blue states are experiencing a similar exodus bolsters that case.

The Tribune affirms this theory later in the article, stating: “By most estimates, Chicago’s population will continue to decline. Over the past year, the Tribune surveyed dozens of former residents who said they have packed their bags for a variety of reasons: high taxes, the state budget stalemate, crime, the unemployment rate and weather. Black residents have been among those leaving in search of safe neighborhoods and prosperity, with many heading to the suburbs and warm-weather states. Chicago lost 181,000 black residents between 2000 and 2010, according to census data.” That’s a remarkable statistic because black-on-black crime is one of the driving forces behind the city’s high homicide rate. It would seem tens of thousands of blacks are discovering that liberal policies aren’t the cure.

A quick aside: According to the Census Bureau, “Ten of the 15 fastest-growing large cities were located across the South in 2016,” to which the Tribune surmises: “Chicagoans are likely to continue heading to those warmer states.” And here we thought global warming was driving people out of the South!

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