Sad Times for Shrinking Illinois

For much of the 19th and early-20th centuries, the state of Illinois was a powerful magnet. Between 1850 and 1900, the state’s population grew five-fold, from 850,000 to more than 4.8 million. Some of that growth was attributable to natural population increase — big families were the rule then — but population growth was supercharged by both domestic and international migration.

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