Cook County has the second-worst population drop in the country, according to census data.

Baseball season has begun, and tens of thousands of Cook County residents have gone, gone, gone, according to the U.S. The most recent Census Bureau estimates.

According to estimates released on Thursday, the county lost 68,000 people between July 2021 and July 2022, the second largest drop among all U.S. counties during that time period, trailing only Los Angeles County, which lost 91,000.

The county remained the second-most populous (5,110,000) after Los Angeles County (9,720,000), but the 1.3% population decline was more severe than Los Angeles’ 0.9% drop.

Only four counties in the country with one million or more residents experienced greater percentage declines: Philadelphia, Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, and the Bronx. Bronx County saw the greatest drop, at nearly 3%.

The figures were calculated using the base population plus net migration, births, and deaths.

Cook County’s decline, however, is not as severe as last year’s (1.6%), owing largely to international migration, according to Census Bureau demographers. An influx of approximately 18,000 immigrants helped to compensate for an estimated 94,000 residents lost due to domestic migration.

According to demographer Kristie Wilder, the number of immigrants in Cook County is at its highest since around 2011.

Between 2010 and 2017, the rate of international migration to Cook County ranged from 14,000 to nearly 20,000. It fell in 2018 and stayed low throughout the pandemic.

Cook County’s total population decline rate remains well above pre-pandemic levels, but the population has been shrinking since 2015, with a rate of decline ranging between 0.2% and 0.5%. During the pandemic, it increased to more than 1%.

Between July 2021 and July 2022, Illinois experienced a 0.8% population decline, with a total estimated loss of 104,000 residents.

Almost all of the state’s 102 counties saw population declines, with the exception of McHenry County, which gained 155 residents. DuPage County lost the most residents, at a rate of 0.6%.

According to census estimates, many of those people are not moving to the countryside, but rather to other metropolitan areas. 61% of counties with fewer than 10,000 residents lost population, while 68% of counties with 100,000 or more residents gained population.

After Cook County, the three largest counties in the country are Harris (Houston), Maricopa (Phoenix), and San Diego.

Harris County, the largest of the three, gained residents at a rate of about 0.95%, but it is still about 328,000 people short of Cook County.

(Sun-Times Media Wire – Copyright 2023 Chicago Sun-Times.)

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