- Most Free
- Least Free
- #41 Overall
- #29 Economic
- #49 Personal
- Change in overall freedom, 2007–2009:
- Change in overall freedom ranking since 2007:
- Net domestic migration, 2000–2009 (% of 2000 population):
- Governor, 2011:
- Pat Quinn (D)
- Legislature, 2011:
- House 54R/64D, Senate 24R/35D
Illinois is one of the worst states to live in from a personal-freedom perspective, but on economic freedom it is in the middle of the pack. Illinois has the fifth-harshest gun-control laws in the country, after California, Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts, and the state’s victimless-crimes arrest rates are almost unfathomable. In 2008, more than 2 percent of the state’s population was arrested for a victimless crime (and that figure does not count people under 18), and the vast majority of these arrests were for drugs. Illinois’s drug law-enforcement rate is by far the worst in the country at more than three standard deviations worse than average. Asset-forfeiture laws are also among the worst in the nation. On the plus side, Illinois’s homeschool regulations are effectively as minimal as Idaho’s, a case of benign neglect it seems. Since 2007, smoking bans have come in with a vengeance. Illinois is in the middle of the pack on most economic issues, but could certainly stand to relax its labor laws, improve the court system, and expand eminent-domain reforms.
- Allow the state minimum wage to revert to the federal standard.
- Decriminalize marijuana, legalize medical marijuana, and repeal the Salvia ban.
- End partisan elections for the state supreme court in order to improve the court system.
State Freedom Calculator
You know how free your state is today, but how free could it be in the future? Here are four policies from each area of the index--fiscal, regulatory, and paternalist--that allow you to play policy maker. Select from the options below and observe as your state's rankings in economic, personal, and overall freedom will be recalculated in real time and your state's ranking will rise or fall depending on your choices.