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*** UPDATED x2 *** An eerily prescient 1997 prediction from the US Census Bureau

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* In May of 1997, after more than 20 years of Republican Illinois governors, the US Census Bureau laid out its predictions of the states that would have the highest net loss of population due to interstate migration in the 30-year period between 1995 and 2025 per 1,000 people

California -4
Massachusetts -4
Illinois -5
New York -9
DC -10

* From that report

While Americans frequently move among the states… Florida, Texas, and North Carolina will each gain 1 million or more persons over the 30-year period through net interstate migration, with Florida gaining nearly 4 million. Georgia and Washington will each gain slightly less than 1 million. Four states will have a net loss of at least 1 million persons to other states. New York will lose 5.0 million; California, 4.4 million; Illinois, 1.7 million; and Michigan, 1.1 million. Over the 1995-2025 period, nearly one-quarter billion people are projected to move from one state to another. […]

California is projected to add the largest number of international migrants (more than 8 million). … Other states projected to have gains of 1 million or more from immigration are New York, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, and Texas.

International immigration slowed way down under President Trump and then because of COVID, which has obviously hurt Illinois, and that may have been partly why the 1997 projection was off by about a hundred thousand people when the Census estimated Illinois’ 2020 population to be 13.121 million. As you know, the latest corrected Census number has Illinois right around 13 million.

* Point being, the fundamentals have been against Illinois for a very long time. This ain’t a new issue. And maybe some folks in Massachusetts should take a look at that 1997 report as well.

*** UPDATE 1 *** From the governor’s office…

Governor Pritzker today urged President Joe Biden and the federal government to ensure that Illinois receives federal funding that reflects its growth of 250,000 residents, lifting the state’s population to more than 13 million for the first time in its history.

Illinois’s population was undercounted by roughly 2% in the 2020 census. The adjusted Census results show an increase in Illinois’ population as people move to the state in pursuit of expanded economic and employment opportunities.

“Illinois is growing, and our federal funding should reflect that reality,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Nearly 250,000 Illinoisans—the majority of whom are from historically disenfranchised and underserved communities—were not represented in the Census results. That’s why I have urged President Biden and the federal government to ensure that the local communities of Illinois receive the federal dollars they are entitled to—and deserve. I thank the President for his commitment to an accurate Census count, and I look forward to working with him to guarantee that our state secures its fair share of federal funding.”

Governor Pritzker’s letter to President Biden calls for adjusted population counts to be considered when allocating over $1.5 trillion in federal funds for Medicare, affordable housing, homeland security, and other essential programs. Census undercounts often disservice Black, Latino, and minority residents who are historically underserved by federal resources such as these, making the correct appropriation of these funds even more important. The letter requests that President Biden support any efforts to factor the new data into equitable funding allocations.

The Census Bureau’s Post Enumeration Survey (PES) is a follow-up survey to the census count meant to examine the results for accuracy through additional statistical sampling. The original census count, which inaccurately showed a population decline, resulted in Illinois losing one congressional seat, making accurate appropriation of funds even more essential to ensure Illinoisans can access the resources they need over the next decade.

This updated count reflects Illinois’s rising status in the region and the country as a site of innovation and opportunity. Increased investment by the Pritzker administration in training and apprenticeship programs in manufacturing and aviation have created jobs and attracted new residents across the state.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Monique Garcia on behalf of the Illinois Municipal League…

Hi Rich,

As you continue to cover what the Census undercount means for Illinois, I wanted to bring your attention to this letter from the Illinois Municipal League to Gov. JB Pritzker seeking clarification about whether the administration intends to ensure municipalities are made whole for the purposes of state-shared revenues. The letter also raises the need to address the pending loss of population-established home rule authority in several communities across the state, which could be resolved if corrections to undercounts are made.

Thank you,


The letter is here.


  1. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 2:16 pm:

    Maybe it’s because I’ve spent time in St. Louis, but I never really saw this as a huge problem. I like St. Louis, but man that is a depopulated place. Illinois treaded water for these last 25 years or so, and we could always do things better, but it is not a crises like people on the right like to make it out to be.

  2. - Sir Reel - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 2:24 pm:

    If you take a long view, eventually Illinois will become attractive when the west and southwest run out of water and burn to the ground and the southeast is flattened and inundated by hurricanes.

  3. - Annonin' - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 2:25 pm:

    So this started in Clinton’s 3nd term so it can be blamed on… Gore? Or you pick em

  4. - Chicago Blue - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 2:40 pm:

    I think the issue 3D Checkers is that our entirely economic system is based on infinite growth. Companies that are profitable and well run, but without growth opportunities will be hated by Wall St. while Tesla has a higher valuation than every other “archaic” car company combined. States seem to be viewed viewed through a similar lens.

  5. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 2:55 pm:

    There was an article posted here a few months back about how a new type of metropolitan area is emerging. One where economic growth is still happening, but population is growing slowly or not at all.

    That’s something we should be looking at an trying to duplicate in as many places as possible. We don’t have infinite land or resources, and an economic system with a foundational expectation that population growth can continue to infinity is doomed to eventual failure.

  6. - Downstate - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 3:03 pm:

    There are great examples of some small rural communities in Central Illinois that are actually increasing their population, somewhat significantly. They aren’t near an interstate and are devoid of any “national” employers. They are doing it by attracting young people with very inexpensive land on which to build a house. In one case, a community has the largest class of first graders in more than 50 years.

  7. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 3:25 pm:

    What Sir Reel said.

  8. - Mel - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 3:27 pm:

    For a huge metro area, Chicago has affordable and stable housing prices. If our policies can maintain that, I think we have a very good trajectory.

  9. - Blake - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 3:40 pm:

    The fundamentals being against Illinois should increase the emphasis on the state and local governments reducing their debts sooner than they would need to if in a place advantaged in migration since they’ll likely have fewer people later to deal with those debts in addition to the needed expenses then.

  10. - Jibba - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 4:43 pm:

    Downstate…can you give some examples? Not arguing, just want to know more. Wondering if that can be replicated or if it is more based on local factors.

  11. - Angry Chicagoan - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 5:27 pm:

    Mel, I should point out, one reason Chicago’s housing prices are affordable and stable is because property taxes arguably are neither. Some of the worst property hyperinflation around the world is to be found in places that have cut property taxes too far (London comes to mind) but we’re bordering on the other end.

  12. - Downstate Illinois - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 6:22 pm:

    The regional census office in Chicago was utterly incompetent in 2020. There was absolutely no coordination between the get counted outreach efforts and the actual field offices. Everything ran through Chicago. As to field offices the bureau eliminated more than half of what they had in 2010. The Springfield office which now covered most of downstate was an utter joke. College towns which were hurt when Covid shut down campuses and students were sent home did almost nothing to force off campus housing to work with enumerators. Local governments assume the bureau knew what it was doing. It’s been decades since the bureau had local field offices helmed by connected locals.

  13. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 6:31 pm:

    ===We don’t have infinite land or resources, and an economic system with a foundational expectation that population growth can continue to infinity is doomed to eventual failure.===

    And the driving force of that growth is predicted to be immigration, not births over deaths. Should we make the US less attractive and/or more restrictive to attain “no growth” goals?

  14. - JS Mill - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 7:03 pm:

    =There are great examples of some small rural communities in Central Illinois=

    I wonder if the little old lady who used to talk Rauner told you that?

    Sounds like some of the fairytales from the gop candidates.

    They all lied about Illinois population and business growth.

  15. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, May 24, 22 @ 7:12 pm:

    === The fundamentals being against Illinois ===

    That is a false premise.

    Almost all of the fastest growing countries in the world are in Africa. They are also the poorest.

    Japan has a declining population, but I dont think most people would argue it is a failed state.

    With rapidly increasing population comes rapidly rising strain on infrastructure and oftertimes, rising poverty rates.

    There are exceptions of course like the Gold Rush or Silicon Valley, and declinig populations can be due to war, famine or natural disaster.

    A better measure of a state’s health is GDP per capita, when that is rising, its a good sign.

    New York has the highest GDP per capita, at $93K, followed by Massachussetts, Washington, California.

    Illinois’ GDP per capita ranks 10th in the US, highest in the Midwest.

    Alabama, West Virginia, Arkansas and Mississippi are at th3 bottom of the list.

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