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Pritzker announces Census updating Illinois’ count by 46,400 people

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(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office says it will continue challenging the state’s estimated population decline. Others say Illinois leaders need to enact business friendly policies to grow, instead of denying the state is shrinking.

Millions more federal tax dollars could be coming to Illinois after Pritzker announced the U.S. Census Bureau approved the state’s request to include 46,400 Illinoisans to the rolls moving forward.

After Pritzker and Democratic leaders requested a review, the Census agreed it missed or undercounted the 2020 Census for those living in group facilities. Undercounted or missed were 733 group quarters for a total of 46,400 people, including thousands living in places like senior living facilities and dormitory settings.

“I’m pleased that the Census Bureau has recognized the undercounting that I and many members of Illinois’ Congressional Delegation have worked to remedy since the 2020 census results were first released,” Pritzker said in a statement. “This correction will bring in millions in additional federal funding for crucial programs and help to ensure future counts reflect the true number of Illinois residents.”

Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski said the update doesn’t change the trend that Illinois is losing people to other states.

“Call it stagnation if you want. While everybody else is growing, we’re stagnating,” Dabrowski said, noting states like Texas and Florida are growing by millions. “If we don’t solve that problem, we’ll continue to hemorrhage tax base, we’ll continue to be uncompetitive and watch out.”

Annual Census estimates released last month showed a decade of decline for Illinois. In the eighth year of the decline, 2020, Illinois lost 79,500. The following year, Illinois lost more than 107,000 people. In the tenth year of decline through July 1, 2023, the state lost 32,800.

When reached by email Wednesday, a public information officer with the Census said they will reply “once we have an answer” to the question of if the update Pritzker announced was included in December’s population estimates.

The governor’s office said while Wednesday’s update won’t be added to Illinois’ 2020 numbers of 12.8 million, it will add to future population estimates used in determining Illinois’ share of $675 billion in state and federal programs. The latest numbers on the U.S. Census for Illinois have the state’s population at 12.5 million.

“The state will continue to challenge population undercounts and plans to participate in additional opportunities for appeal and review to make further adjustments to the state’s count,” Pritzker’s office said in a statement.

Dabrowski said Pritzker is doing everything he can to deny population loss. Instead, he said leaders need to enact business friendly policies that make Illinois an attractive place to live and work.

“Because everything you look at, whether it’s U-Haul, or United Van Lines or IRS, all of them show that Illinois is the big loser when it comes to people migration and overall population,” Dabrowski told The Center Square.

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