Why Thousands Are Leaving Illinois for Wisconsin

An analysis of the accelerating outbound migration across the border to the Badger State by Mark J. Perry

On 14 different measures of labor market dynamism, economic growth, various tax burdens, business climate and fiscal health, Wisconsin comes out ahead of neighboring Illinois on all but one of those measures — state individual income tax rate. Taken together, these results suggest that compared with Illinois, Wisconsin is a relatively more pro-growth and fiscally sound state, a more economically vibrant and business-friendly state, with a lower tax and regulatory burden for businesses and a more robust labor market. Overall, the Badger State offers citizens, workers and businesses greater economic and job opportunities, with greater future prospects for economic growth than the Prairie State. Reflecting the greater relative degree of economic vibrancy and business friendliness in Wisconsin compared with Illinois, residents and businesses are increasingly leaving the Land of Lincoln for brighter economic opportunities across its northern border. The state-to-state migration flow patterns that exist at the national level are consistent with what is happening between Wisconsin and Illinois at a local level, summarized as follows: Residents and businesses in Illinois are increasingly “voting with their feet” and escaping across the northern border to Wisconsin — at a net rate of 40 every day — from a relatively stagnant, high-tax, fiscally unhealthy, business-unfriendly state to a fiscally sound state that is more economically vibrant and business-friendly with greater economic prospects for residents, businesses and workers.

The complete story in PDF form here > Leaving Illinois for Wisconsin: An analysis of the accelerating outbound migration across the border to the Badger State By Mark J. Perry

Illinois vs Wisconsin

Mark Perry joined us Friday morning. Audio below

Mark Perry on Illinois/Wisconsin Study

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