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*** UPDATED x2 *** US Census admits it undercounted Illinois population by 2 percent

Thursday, May 19, 2022

* NPR

For the 2020 census, all states were not counted equally well for population numbers used to allocate political representation and federal funding over the next decade, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Thursday.

A follow-up survey the bureau conducted to measure the national tally’s accuracy found significant net undercount rates in six states: Arkansas (5.04%), Florida (3.48%), Illinois (1.97%), Mississippi (4.11%), Tennessee (4.78%) and Texas (1.92%).

It also uncovered significant net overcount rates in eight states — Delaware (5.45%), Hawaii (6.79%), Massachusetts (2.24%), Minnesota (3.84%), New York (3.44%), Ohio (1.49%), Rhode Island (5.05%) and Utah (2.59%).

For the other 36 states, as well as Washington, D.C., the bureau did not find statistically significant net over- or undercount rates.

Official release is here.

A 2 percent undercount means Illinois grew by about a quarter million rather than shrank by 18,000.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Gov. Pritzker…

Following a review of 2020 U.S. Census Data, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today that Illinois was undercounted by nearly 2%. This means that Illinois’ population grew by nearly 250,000 people and is now above 13 million people for the first time in Illinois history. In response, Governor JB Pritzker released the following statement:

“I ran for governor on a promise to be our state’s best chief marketing officer and reverse the trend of outmigration we’ve seen over the past few decades. These latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show that Illinois is now a state on the rise with a growing population,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “From boundless economic opportunities, to booming economic development and leading institutions of higher education, Illinois has so much to offer our new residents. While it is disappointing that these numbers were not reflected in the initial count, I have already spoken to members of our congressional delegation and will work tirelessly to ensure Illinois receives its fair share of federal funding. I look forward to celebrating this development with all Illinoisans, including those who routinely badmouth our state.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** US Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi…

Earlier this year, I wrote to the Census Bureau regarding my serious concern that the agency had undercounted Illinois, potentially putting our proportional federal representation and funding at risk. I’m glad to see that the Bureau’s additional review of their data has revealed the truth: that our state’s population is growing and now exceeds 13 million for the first time in our history. These new findings reaffirm that our state is on the upswing in every way, and I’m committed to ensuring that we get our fair share of federal funding.


…Adding…
Senate President Don Harmon…

This is excellent news. It confirms what most of us already know: Illinois is a great place to live and work. We need more people cheering for Illinois and fewer spelunking for misery.

…Adding… House Speaker Chris Welch…

This correction confirms what Democrats have been saying all along: Illinois is growing, Illinois is thriving, and Illinois has so much to offer.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

63 Comments
  1. - The Real Captain - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 11:52 am:

    So people weren’t fleeing the state in droves?


  2. - Vader - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 11:54 am:

    I’m sure IPI and Center Square will claim this is some kind of conspiracy and fraud by the dems to influence the election.


  3. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 11:55 am:

    Has anyone told the Tribune editorial board yet?


  4. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 11:55 am:

    Someone check on Greg Bishop. /s ?!?


  5. - Big Dipper - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 11:56 am:

    Or all the Negative Nellies at ILGOP?


  6. - Arsenal - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:01 pm:

    ==After Jan 6th, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was an intentional strategy - especially if it happened in other”blue” states.==

    C’mon, we can see right in the OP that it wasn’t confined to blue states.


  7. - Just Wondering - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:01 pm:

    So will we have to again redraw the legislative and congressional maps?


  8. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:03 pm:

    Intentional strategy to undercount blue states?

    5 of the 6 undercounts are Red states.

    6 of the 8 overcounts are Blue states.


  9. - Arsenal - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:05 pm:

    ==So will we have to again redraw the legislative and congressional maps? ==

    There could be an intriguing case for this under Reynolds v. Sims. Tho I suspect the difference isn’t big enough to save that last CD for IL.


  10. - Annonin' - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:06 pm:

    So believing the Tribbie Exodus Creed is a big “never mind”


  11. - G'Kar - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:06 pm:

    Well, as a former census worker who spent the summer going door to door throughout central Illinois trying to do an accurate count, I can say: It is not my fault [banned punctuation]


  12. - PublicServant - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:12 pm:

    People are fleeing to Illinois. Keep up the good work, JB.


  13. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:15 pm:

    “After Jan 6th, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was an intentional strategy - especially if it happened in other”blue” states”

    Save the conspiracy stuff - the NPR article illustrated that the undercount was mostly in Red states…

    “found significant net undercount rates in six states: Arkansas (5.04%), Florida (3.48%), Illinois (1.97%), Mississippi (4.11%), Tennessee (4.78%) and Texas (1.92%).”


  14. - May soon be required - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:19 pm:

    I understand that undercounts happen, but I have trouble understanding significant overcounts. Do they double count people, did people list children that don’t exist?


  15. - Frank Manzo IV - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:21 pm:

    The Census has consistently undercounted Illinois’ population over the past decade. It’s a real problem. Even now, the July 2021 annual estimates had our population declining by 1% from that already-too-low 2020 figure. It’s made quality economic research more difficult while fueling certain talking points that have been misguided or incorrect once more data comes in.


  16. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:22 pm:

    “So people weren’t fleeing the state in droves?”

    They were, they were just ‘replaced’ with even more people with better paying jobs - as evidenced by tax collections.


  17. - Google Is Your Friend - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:25 pm:

    - May soon be required - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:19 pm:

    From the linked report:

    “possible overcount: This occurred when a respondent indicated that a person usually lives or stays at college, in the military, at their job, in jail, at a nursing home, with relatives, at a seasonal home, or other places.”


  18. - Nick - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:30 pm:

    And I guess I’m still supposed to believe the ACS numbers that hundreds of thousands have started leaving again, too?


  19. - MisterJayEm - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:32 pm:

    “A 2 percent undercount means Illinois grew by about a quarter million rather than shrank by 18,000.”

    I guess folks were fleeing Illinois in reverse.

    – MrJM


  20. - illinifan - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:32 pm:

    Would this impact the number of congressional districts we are supposed to have?


  21. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:43 pm:

    Folks, the story isn’t behind a paywall …

    During a press briefing on Wednesday, bureau officials emphasized the follow-up survey’s estimates, which were delayed largely because of the pandemic, will not change each state’s share of representation in the House or the Electoral College.


  22. - Stu - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:48 pm:

    Just for a frame of reference, according to IDPH’s website births out-paced deaths during the 2010-2019 period by 493,107

    (1,547,755 births & 1,054,648 deaths)


  23. - Fivegreenleaves - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:53 pm:

    This will make Gov. Pritzker’s chances of re-election even better. The GOP can’t spin this and say people are leaving IL in droves. That happened during the Rauner years, and Pritzker turned it around. Illinois would be dumb to change administrations now.


  24. - Benjamin - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:55 pm:

    Oof. That’s a pretty big delta–like missing Springfield and Peoria combined.

    I wonder if it was a statewide issue, or just confined to specific regions. That is, did Downstate not lose as many people as we first thought–or did Chicago just grow even more?


  25. - Hot Taeks - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:00 pm:

    I concur with @47th Ward. The Tribune Editorial Board took a massive L here. I expect absolutely NO apologies from them.


  26. - City Guy - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:04 pm:

    Decades ago there was a push to use sampling to develop more accurate census results. The result would have been an increase in number of young people of color and a decrease in white wealthy people. The Republicans stopped this scientific approach for their political purposes.


  27. - Blue to the Bone - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:08 pm:

    I too am interested in knowing what the regional data at the county level looks like as you compare undercounts and overcounts.

    It could possibly benefit one party over another if, say, most overcounting occurred in more rural areas of the country and undercounting occurred in suburban/urban areas.

    There was a large discrepancy in Aurora with the preliminary numbers compared to these, possibly faulty, census results which definitely affected the mapmaking procedure in Kane County.

    I know I’m feeding to the fire but…


  28. - Amalia - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:12 pm:

    what the what? and what happens with Congress?


  29. - The Hills 60010 - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:14 pm:

    - MisterJayEm - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 12:32 pm:

    “A 2 percent undercount means Illinois grew by about a quarter million rather than shrank by 18,000.”

    The state could ask for a special census. I suggest they begin by looking at those NW center Chicago and inner burbs abutting up against Oak Park.


  30. - Central IL Centrist - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:19 pm:

    Is Re-Remap a word? It might need to be.


  31. - illinifan - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:26 pm:

    Will the new numbers be used to help determine
    Federal funding allocations or do we just have to live with the mistake? Hope not.


  32. - Nick Name - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:30 pm:

    Can we get our congressional seat back, please?


  33. - Jibba - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:43 pm:

    Florida’s undercount cost them an additional House seat (771K people),and it might have come from New York (660K people overcounted).


  34. - SAP - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:46 pm:

    As I recall, New York cam within a couple hundred inhabitants of not losing a congressional seat. Imagine if the Census Bureau overcounted just a little bit more.


  35. - Arsenal - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:54 pm:

    ==This will make Gov. Pritzker’s chances of re-election even better. The GOP can’t spin this and say people are leaving IL in droves.==

    I think you’re overestimating how much the average voter cares about statistics.


  36. - Blake - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 1:57 pm:

    I looked in the pdf to see if it would then say where Illinois ranked in population growth then, but it wasn’t said.


  37. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 2:03 pm:

    “The GOP can’t spin this and say people are leaving IL in droves.”

    Sure, because that would be a lie, and there’s no way the GOP would ever do that.

    But it also doesn’t really matter now.

    Their mission has been accomplished - ‘leaving in droves’ has reached meme status as a phrase that can be used as a shortcut to thinking.


  38. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 2:07 pm:

    ===they were just ‘replaced’ with even more people with better paying jobs===

    The real reason the IPI/GOP/Trib-types care. If the poor leave, how will they exploit them?

    ===Is Re-Remap a word?===

    Like a ‘We Do’ Redo, this is a Remap Recap. Or as the kids might say, a bit sus Census.


  39. - twowaystreet - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 2:17 pm:

    ==As I recall, New York cam within a couple hundred inhabitants of not losing a congressional seat. Imagine if the Census Bureau overcounted just a little bit more.==

    They lost a seat to Minnesota by less than hundred people. Both states have over counts but Minnesota over count was larger (more than 100 people) than NY.


  40. - New Day - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 2:40 pm:

    So no Illinois exodus? Got it. I’m sure we can count on apologies from the GOP, Wirepoints, IPI, Trib edit board, every GOP candidate any minute now. Any. Minute.


  41. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 2:59 pm:

    Skillful statement by the governor. Well done.


  42. - Montrose - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 3:07 pm:

    You have to love the last line of the Gov’s statement. Truly.


  43. - Club J - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 3:15 pm:

    I normally don’t listen to the morning show on WMAY. Tomorrow I might tune in just to see how Greg Bishop tries to spin this if he even brings it up at all.


  44. - TNR - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 3:19 pm:

    This means Illinois is still the 5th most populous state and was not passed by Pennsylvania.


  45. - Perrid - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 3:29 pm:

    I’ll take the statistician’s word on it, but I don’t understand how they can take a sample and from that be confident that they missed a quarter million people when they tried to count everyone. It’s probably right but I can’t follow that logic.


  46. - Boone's is Back - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 3:31 pm:

    Whose gonna break the news to Terry Martin?


  47. - City Zen - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 3:34 pm:

    ==The GOP can’t spin this and say people are leaving IL in droves.==

    Sure they can. Outmigration is outmigration, no matter how you spin it. Plus they can still compare IL to overall US growth and other states, which it still severely lags.

    ==That happened during the Rauner years, and Pritzker turned it around.==

    You’re trusting the mid-decade counts when the US Census Bureau just admitted they miscounted the big census? You’re implying Illinois’ entire population gain occurred in 2019.


  48. - twowaystreet - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 3:50 pm:

    ==reverse the trend of outmigration==

    But we haven’t been losing population over the last few decades. We actually grew at a higher rate 91-00 and 01-10. We’ve lost congressional seat over that time because we were not growing at fast as some other states.

    2010 Illinois population was 12.8 million
    2000 Illinois population was 12.4 million
    1990 Illinois population was 11.4 million


  49. - Blake - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 3:53 pm:

    City Zen is likely right. On City Zen’s first part, hence why I wonder where we rank in population growth. Was our percentage growth percentage still 48th or did we move up the rankings?


  50. - City Zen - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 4:11 pm:

    @twowaystreet - I thought the same thing. Illinois has never had a decade of population loss. It came close in 1980-1990, but even then our growth was larger than last decade. JB specifically mentioning “decades” is a blatant false statement.

    The problem here is multi-faceted. It’s not like the US Census Bureau undercounted what was still reported as a net gain. The undercount not only resulted in a negative outcome, but made us look like an extreme outlier. And since these bad numbers have been circulating for almost a year now, Illinois is going to be perceived as a net loser. It’s not much different than someone tweeting false information that gets thousands of shares while the retraction goes unnoticed. The damage is done and hard to reverse.


  51. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 4:11 pm:

    I can understand an undercount where you miss the hard-to-count, but how do you overcount a state’s population by nearly 7%, like Hawaii?


  52. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 4:14 pm:

    ==Like a ‘We Do’ Redo, this is a Remap Recap. Or as the kids might say, a bit sus Census.==

    I propose using the current “new” maps for this election only, then next year go back to the drawing board and create new maps (GA, congressional, judiciary, Cook County Board of Review) using these new figures. Which will be in use until after the 2030 census.


  53. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 4:17 pm:

    Now the entire spelunker narrative is kaput. First it was “Illinois is a fiscal doom hole.” Now it’s “exodus.” Good. The professional Illinois trashers have bad intent and are dishonest players. Their real goal is to strip unions, slash regulations, slash government, etc., and remake us into a low income red state.

    California is liberal doom HQ for the right and GOP, and it has a huge budget surplus.


  54. - btowntruthfromforgottonia - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 4:46 pm:

    “Democrat conspiracy”.
    Thanks Lucky…..
    That was the last square I needed on my “How A Trumper Would Explain This” bingo card…..I GOT BINGO!!!!!!

    Does that mean I get a Confederate Flag for a prize?
    Or a MTG Best Of Collection?


  55. - Nick - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 4:53 pm:

    ===I can understand an undercount where you miss the hard-to-count, but how do you overcount a state’s population by nearly 7%, like Hawaii?===

    Duplicate responses, mainly.


  56. - 47th Ward - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 5:00 pm:

    Everyday I used to read Tribune stories and op-eds telling me all of these people were moving out of Illinois, and yet traffic was still a mess and everywhere I went there were crowds of people.

    Now we’re officially over 13 million residents, and the Tribune Tower is an empty condo building. Also, if everyone was packing their bags, you’d think converting it to condos would be a terrible idea, right?

    Do you think Bruce Dold regrets leading the U-Haul brigade, or is he happy in retirement, presumably out of state? Wherever he is, I hope he understands that he can think whatever he wants, believe what he wants to believe, but facts still matter and the fact is, he was pushing a lot of baloney on his editorial page.


  57. - Nick - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 5:05 pm:

    Or at least duplicate responses were the main reason for Hawaii. There are also those who were counted but actually live in another state, and an ‘other reason’ category.

    All states have a mix of, well, over-counting and under-counting. Illinois alas just had a way higher omissions rate than we did any sort of overcounting.


  58. - New Day - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 5:15 pm:

    “Whose gonna break the news to Terry Martin?”

    LOLOLOL Don’t worry - Terry will just facts aren’t facts or make up his own facts which he does everyday.


  59. - New Day - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 5:17 pm:

    BTW, fast forward 20 years from now when industry starts moving out of the SouthWest because they can’t get water for their factories and you’ll see our population and our jobs surge again. We can’t fix our crappy weather but our water is in great abundance.


  60. - Huh? - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 6:22 pm:

    New Day - your remark about abundant water is only true for those areas using Lake Michigan water. There are many areas which are running out of well water.

    I would wager that the business migration out of the SW will be sooner than 20 years. The Colorado River is drying up.


  61. - JS Mill - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 6:41 pm:

    =There are many areas which are running out of well water.=

    Like where? Not saying it isn’t happening at all, but water access in the state is excellent.

    ===The GOP can’t spin this and say people are leaving IL in droves.==

    Sure they can.=

    City Zen is right, just ask Darren Bailey and Mary Miller. They lie about a landslide election victory every day. So do lots of other ILGOP members.


  62. - TNR - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 6:43 pm:

    == We can’t fix our crappy weather ==

    No, but global warming will.


  63. - Fivegreenleaves - Thursday, May 19, 22 @ 7:46 pm:

    ===I think you’re overestimating how much the average voter cares about statistics.===

    Maybe, but Pritzker can genuinely claim he is turning Illinois around. Plus, now he has proof that Illinois lost population during the last Republican administration, and gained population during his administration, also claiming Illinois is growing again.


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