OUR VIEW: Top 10 of the 2010s: Every citizen counts as we move forward

OUR VIEW: Top 10 of the 2010s: Every citizen counts as we move forward

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For Illinois, the 2010s were marked by a troubling statistical trend: There are fewer of us.

The state experienced an outflow so great that Illinois is now the sixth most populous state behind Pennsylvania, the product of losing population for five years in a row. Last year, 86 of the state's 102 counties wound up with a negative number.

Most troubling is that young and working-age people are leaving in greater numbers than other population groups.

There are several overlapping factors for what's causing this, and often those turn into a political blame game. High taxes, limited job growth and, yes, cold weather play a part. Internal Revenue Service data shows many decamped for places like Florida and Texas.

For those of us left, the exodus has a real-life impact. One of the biggest is how many seats the state gets in Congress. Illinois currently has 18, but will almost certainly lose one and possibly two seats. That's a big decrease in the state's influence on what happens in Washington.

The process to redistrict also presents various politically charged stumbling blocks.

All of this will become more clear as the census process starts in 2020. That data will give us a solid look at where we go from here.

If there's one takeaway from the 2010s, it's important that each Illinois resident is counted. With fewer and fewer us, we all count on the census.


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