On Friday, USA today published a list of the 50 US metropolitan areas with the largest population declines, focused around people moving out. Peoria is ranked 18th.
USA Today says that from 2010-2017 over 14,000 people left the Peoria area. That translates to a one point eight percent population decrease."
Residents say this figure makes sense and they understand why people are leaving the area. Some said because of excessive taxes, others because of the city's increasing issue with violence. Antonio Williams will soon be moving to St. Louis and says his childrens' education is a motivator.
"I don't feel like they are getting what they should be getting or deserve to be getting, my kids also have problem with bullying," said Williams.
Williams also says while there's plenty of work in the river city, the compensation isn't there to match.
"Most jobs are at least 9.50 to 10 dollars, and most people have growing families and you can't really support a family with 10 dollars an hour income," said Williams.
Aaron Rutherford is a Peoria native and says the key to stop the shrinking: focus on the kids.
"There's a lot of, there's not much going on, they need some guidance, they need people to look up to," said Rutherford.
He added that leaving Peoria will solve nothing.
"Running from the problems is not the solution. The solution would be to stay, to fight, and to fix it. You're gonna have problems, corruption, financial problems wherever you go," said Rutherford.
Even if these issues aren't isolated to Peoria...The River City's combination seems to be driving people away.