5 Illinois Towns People Are Fleeing as Soon as Possible

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team





Illinois, a state known for its diverse population, culture, and economy, experiences challenges in some of its towns. Certain areas are witnessing a notable decline in population as residents depart for various reasons. Here are five Illinois towns that are currently experiencing significant population loss.


Located in southern Illinois at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, Cairo was once a thriving port and trade center. However, it now faces issues such as high unemployment, poverty, crime, and decay. Since 1960, the town has seen a staggering 80% decline in population, leading to many abandoned or dilapidated buildings. Often referred to as “America’s forgotten city” and “the most depressing place in Illinois.”


Situated in eastern Illinois near the Indiana border, Danville was historically a prosperous industrial and agricultural hub. Presently, it grapples with manufacturing decline, increased drug abuse, and limited economic opportunities. The city has high poverty rates, low median income, and low educational attainment. It also ranks among the most dangerous cities in both the state and the nation due to a high rate of violent crime.


As the third-largest city in Illinois, located in the northern part of the state, Rockford was once an innovation and manufacturing center. However, it now faces challenges such as industry loss, deteriorating infrastructure, and insufficient investment. The city contends with high unemployment, poverty rates, and a low median income. It is also deemed the most dangerous city in Illinois and one of the most perilous in the country due to elevated crime rates.


A city in the Chicago metropolitan area, situated in the south suburbs, Harvey was formerly a prosperous and diverse community. However, it currently grapples with governance collapse, resource depletion, and a breakdown of social order. Harvey faces high debt, a significant tax rate, and a low credit rating. Additionally, corruption is prevalent, with several officials indicted or convicted of various crimes.


Located in central Illinois along the Sangamon River, Decatur was once a leader in agriculture and manufacturing. Presently, it encounters challenges such as declines in both sectors, population loss, and insufficient development. The city struggles with high unemployment, poverty rates, and low median income. Furthermore, it ranks among the worst cities in the state and the nation for air quality due to a high rate of pollution.


As we delve into the narratives of these five Illinois towns, it becomes evident that each faces a unique set of challenges contributing to their population decline. From historical industrial shifts to contemporary issues like crime and governance problems, these towns grapple with multifaceted problems. The hope lies in acknowledging these issues, fostering community resilience, and working towards sustainable solutions to revitalize these once-thriving communities.

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