Illinois to lose one House seat as population drops


Daily file illustration by Catherine Buchaniec

In a Monday announcement, the U.S. Census Bureau declared that Illinois will lose a seat in the House of Representatives due to a population decline.

Jacob Fulton, Print Managing Editor

Illinois will lose one seat in the House of Representatives, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Monday after releasing the 2020 census numbers.

The census is used to determine a variety of federal allocations, including House representation, redistricting and funding disbursement. In recent years, Illinois has seen a gradual population decrease as other states have grown. Between 2013 and 2020, residency dropped from 12.9 to 12.65 million people, according to the Center for Illinois Politics.

The lost seat brings the state’s total Congressional membership to 17 representatives and two Senators. The state is one of seven to lose a congressional seat after the new population figures were finalized, alongside California, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Conversely, six states saw an increase in congressional representation — Oregon, Montana, Florida, North Carolina and Colorado all gained one seat in the House and Texas gained two. 

Throughout 2020, census officials reported counting difficulties driven by COVID-19. Many Evanston- and Chicago-based groups worked to reach as any people as possible in hard-to-count communities, but shifting deadlines and a lack of access to technology continued to present barriers. Illinois’ population also hasn’t experienced yearly growth since 2013, whereas many other states have seen increases in residency.

The Monday announcement comes almost one month later than was initially planned due to numerical anomalies and pandemic-related reporting delays. The Illinois state legislature will begin the process of redrawing the state’s districts after it receives complete census data.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jacobnfulton

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