By DuPage Policy Journal

Mark Rice, a candidate for the 8th Congressional District, has expressed concerns over the population decline in Illinois. This concern comes following U.S. Census data that showed nine consecutive years of declining numbers within the state.

“The exodus out of Illinois isn’t hyperbole or a conspiracy… we lost a congressional seat because of it,” Rice said on Facebook.

Despite the census data indicating a significant decrease in Illinois’ population, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other Democrats argue that the state is, in fact, experiencing growth, according to Center Square. The Vintage 2022 census estimates disclosed a net loss of 110,127 people in Illinois in the previous year, following an 80,000 loss in 2020.

U.S. Representative Mike Bost (R-IL) attributes Illinois’ population loss to what he describes as poor Democratic policies. He contrasts the current situation with the state’s more favorable conditions under Republican control in 1995. Bost contended that policy reforms in areas such as housing, employment, and taxes are necessary to address the reasons behind residents leaving the state and to improve its economic prospects.

Illinois Policy reports that in 2022, the state experienced a record population decline of 104,437 residents, with 91 out of 102 counties losing population. The most populous counties, including Cook, DuPage, Lake, St. Clair, and Kane, witnessed significant numeric declines. Cook County, in particular, ranked second in the nation for population loss, trailing only Los Angeles County.

While urban areas are witnessing the most significant declines in terms of numbers, rural areas such as Alexander, Henderson, Perry, and Lawrence counties are experiencing the fastest rates of population decline. Domestic migration is identified as the primary driver of the statewide population decline, with 88% of the counties losing population also experiencing domestic outmigration.

The trend underscores the urgency of policy reforms to address the reasons behind residents leaving the state and to enhance Illinois’ economic prospects.

The 8th Congressional District, where Rice is running for office, spans northern Cook County, northern DuPage County and northeast Kane County. Currently, the seat is held by U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL).