Illinois set to lose one, maybe two seats in Congress

With Illinois losing residents at a pace much faster than any other state, it is sure to drop at least one, if not two, members of Congress after the next census in 2020.

According to the most recent census’ numbers, Illinois suffered a population loss of 37,508 over the 12 months leading up to July 2016. Years of consistent losses like this mean the population measured U.S. House of Representatives is likely to lose at least one voice from Illinois.

“Illinois would lose one for sure; there is a chance that we could lose two,” Southern Illinois University Professor John Jackson said. “The state’s consistent population losses make Illinoisans have less impact in Washington.”

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Illinois’ Congressional districts since 2013.

The last two districts to be dissolved were in downstate Illinois. Jackson thinks it could happen again in 2020, but a second would likely have to come from Chicagoland.

“Southern Illinois, central Illinois — wherever this sacrifice comes from, you’re going to lose one, maybe two,” he said. “Then you’re going to start eating into the possibility of losing one from the city.”

In 2012, Rep. Tim Johnson decided not to run against Republican Rodney Davis when their districts were consolidated after the 2010 census. Democrat David Phelps lost to Republican John Shimkus when their districts were merged in 2000.

Currently, only four of the state’s 18 representatives reside south of Interstate 80.

Population loss is also likely to decrease the number of Illinois delegates for the Electoral College, making the state less significant to presidential candidates looking to court votes.

Because of legal challenges against redistricting reform in 2016, the next congressional maps will be determined by whichever party maintains majority control after the census.

Both Ohio and New York lost two representatives in 2010. Texas, a major destination for fleeing Illinoisans based on IRS data, gained four seats.

–Illinois News Network

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