With Illinois leading the Midwest in outbound migration (people leaving), and being one of the top 3 states overall in losing population, it's understandable that you might not think any Illinois city is growing.

I'll give you a hint. In the photo above, it's one of the cities with a red pin stuck in it. It's named in the photo below, too...just no pin.

Getty Images
Getty Images

To Come Up With The Numbers, 24/7 Wall Street Went To The Census

There were several interesting finds in the 2020 U.S. Census, including the fact that the United States population growth rate hit its lowest level since the Great Depression. The Census shows that over the past decade, the Great Recession and COVID-19 pandemic slowed immigration as well as caused many Americans to hold off on having kids.

Some places thrived, however. 24/7 Wall Street reports that in nearly every state at least one major metro area reported a faster population growth rate from 2010 to 2020 than the comparable national rate of 6.7%.

So, who's doing the growing here in Illinois? We know it's not Rockford. It's definitely not Chicago, either.

Census 2020: survey questionnaire form on desk with American flag.
Getty Images

Illinois' Fastest Growing City Is Different Than Fast-Growers In Other States

The 2020 Census shows that economic opportunity is one of the key drivers of population changes. The American cities that are showing the most growth often offer higher incomes than the rest of their state as a whole.

Here in Illinois, that's not the case. Illinois' fastest growing city has a median annual household income of $53,081, which is well below Illinois's overall median of $69,187.

Okay, time to come clean on this and give you the answer. Illinois' fastest growing city features this architecture:

Getty Images
Getty Images
Cathedral in Urbana-Champaign - seen during morning fall
Getty Images

If You Guessed Champaign-Urbana, Pat Yourself On The Back

Champaign-Urbana's metro area population grew by 3.6% from 2010 to 2020 to 225,547 residents. During that same time, the population of Illinois decreased by 1.9%.

24/7 Wall Street:

Illinois: Champaign-Urbana, IL
> 2010-2020 pop. growth: 3.6% (state: -1.9%)
> May 2021 unemployment: 4.4% (state: 7.1%)
> 2010-2020 employment growth: 4.5% (state: 1.4%)
> Median household income: $53,081 (state: $69,187)

The Safest Cities in Illinois & Wisconsin

Safewise did a study on the 100 safest cities in America. Eight of them are in Wisconsin and Illinois.

7 Fascinating Things To Do in Illinois That Aren’t in Chicago

A recent survey says Illinois is one of the most fun states in the U.S.. Truth is that Chicago is the biggest reason, but there's so much more than the Windy City.

More From Rockford's New Country Q98.5