What to know about about Illinois’ population update

May 21, 2022

The latest U.S. Census Bureau update shows Illinois’ population is bigger than expected, but residents are still leaving the state

PRESS RELEASE from the
ILLINOIS POLICY INSTITUTE

CONTACT: Melanie Krakauer (312) 607-4977

What to know about about Illinois’ population update
The latest U.S. Census Bureau update shows Illinois’ population is bigger than expected, but residents are still leaving the state

CHICAGO (May 21, 2022) – On May 19, the U.S. Census Bureau released state-level results for their decennial Post-Enumeration Survey, which estimates Illinois’ household population was undercounted by 1.97% during the 2020 official Census and resulted in a 250,000 population increase for Illinois. However, the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program, releasing annual findings each year, has estimated Illinois has seen population loss since 2014, driven by people moving away.

Bryce Hill, senior research analyst for the Illinois Policy Institute, offered the following statement:

“It’s much more complicated than saying these findings show that 250,000 residents moved into Illinois during the decade. It’s likely these people were always in Illinois, they just were missed by the official 2010 Census count. Outreach efforts were broader in 2020, as it included online and more multilingual options. It is likely these changes led to a more accurate 2020 count, and that the 2010 count should have been higher than it was.

“Politicians saying the state is growing are incorrect. It’s true Illinois is bigger than we thought. It’s also true we’re still losing population because people are moving out. Illinois’ population is like a leaky bucket. Just because the bucket is bigger than we thought, doesn’t change the fact that there’s still a hole.

“Take claims that we don’t have a problem with residents moving away with serious scrutiny. A closer look at the data shows exactly why they are wrong.”

An Illinois Policy Institute analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows:

  • Illinois’ population is higher than previous estimates based on the 2010 Census. The 2010 population estimate may have been underestimated relative to the 2020 count due to changes in methodology and differing conditions between the 2010 and 2020 counts.
  • Illinois’ population is in decline. Annual estimates of population change were likely accurate when they showed decline led by outmigration. Other estimates of migration from the IRS and moving companies have found more people continue to move out of Illinois than into the state.
  • Confusion surrounding estimates of population levels and change could be fixed through better integration of Census Bureau products. The Census Bureau is working on that.

To read more about the latest U.S. Census estimates, visit illin.is/population.

For bookings or interviews, contact Melanie Krakauer at media@illinoispolicy.org or 312-607-4977.