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Will Illinois’ population continue its decline? New estimates expected next month

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(The Center Square) – The U.S. Census estimates Illinois’ population has declined for nine consecutive years. The bureau’s Vintage 2022 estimates released last December showed 110,127 fewer people in Illinois on net than the year before. That’s on top of an estimated 80,000 lost in 2020. In 2019, Illinois lost on net 51,250 people.

Annual population estimates for each state are expected sometime next month from the U.S. Census.

State Rep. Marcus Evans, D-Chicago, said the state-by-state population battles shouldn’t matter as long as the United States is growing. While the country has grown moderately, estimates indicate Illinois has shrunk for nine consecutive years. Evans doesn’t think so.

“The biggest thing is, let’s focus on continuing to gain,” Evans said Monday. “Bringing new jobs here. Creating good job climates. Making sure it’s high quality jobs and making sure that we’re taking care of people who are struggling to make them more productive.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, said Illinois’ population loss is evident.

“People are leaving the state and the amount of members of Congress shows that,” Bost said.

Illinois has 17 U.S. House seats. Because of reapportionment based on population, that’s down from 22 seats 30 years ago. Bost suggested poor policies by the Democratic majority in Illinois don’t compare to Republican control decades ago.

“If you’ll remember in 1995, the Republicans had control of the House, control of the Senate and every statewide office,” Bost said. “We paid our bills on a 28-day pay cycle and our long-term indebtedness was less than $20 billion.”

Illinois’ legacy debt for public employee pensions now exceeds $200 billion, when considering state and local unfunded pension liability.

This week with Crain’s Chicago Business, Pritzker blamed the population decline on outgoing college students. He said with more taxpayer funding for college scholarships, that’s turning around.

“People who are down on Illinois are not looking at the right indicators of the future of our state. Our future is bright,” Pritzker said. “Our enrollment numbers are some of the best in our university and our colleges are some of the best in the country now.”

Illinois’ population for 2022 is estimated at 12.6 million, down from 12.8 million in 2020.

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