MARSHALL, Ill. (WTHI) - If a state as a whole loses residents, it makes sense that its counties would feel the loss too. The most recent numbers from the United States Census Bureau show Illinois lost more than 45,000 residents from 2017 to 2018.
News 10 spoke with Warren LeFever. He was the Complete Count Chairman for the 2010 census and is a Marshall City Alderman. LeFever started to look at Clark County data focusing on employment numbers. Then, he was surprised by what he found.
LeFever shares, "The population exodus was not anticipated when I started, in fact, I didn't realize I had it until about 2 years ago."
So based on employment data, LeFever found people have been leaving Clark County.
LeFever says, "To lose 1,100 people out of your county who have jobs, that's a hit. Because this is a 15 thousand person county."
As LeFever found, the county wasn't just losing ordinary people, but hard-working employed people.
He explains, "People who want to move and want to leave for opportunity, they're looking for an opportunity you don't have."
LeFever says some people are leaving due to low job opportunity, quality of life, and high taxes. He says Illinois is the 5th most taxed state per individual in the United States. News 10 asked LeFever as a local leader what he thinks needs to be done to keep people in Clark County.
LeFever shared, "Quite frankly there's not a lot you can do. Because these people are affected by things that are absolutely out of local control."
He feels there's overspending at the state level that needs to be reigned in. Otherwise, he projects the exodus out of Illinois will continue, and hurt the state.
He says, "The poor people get left behind who have lesser capabilities and they get stuck with all the bills. The bills pile up into debt, until the whole house of cards collapses."
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