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Illinois likely to lose Congressional seat — a Republican in Downstate

By COLE LAUTERBACH, The Center Square

An analysis of population trends now suggests Illinois will only lose one seat in Congress.

Illinois has lost tens of thousands in total population count since 2010, when the last U.S. Census count took place. The latest Census figures showed the state’s population declined by 51,000.

Among other downsides, the population losses mean fewer members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Congressional seats are apportioned based on how the national population is split between states by the decennial U.S. Census. Each state is given one Representative and the other 385 seats are distributed by the state’s share of the population. In Illinois, lawmakers in the majority are allowed to draw political boundaries. This has been the crux of protests from residents pushing for previous redistricting reform initiatives.

When the Census is completed and the districts are redrawn in 2021, Kimball Brace with Election Data Services said Illinois is on track to lose one Representative. Previous estimates suggested Illinois could lose two seats.

“In relation to other states, Illinois is only looking at the possibility of losing one seat, not really two seats,” Brace said.

Because Central and Southern Illinois lost a higher percentage of the population than the Democratically-held Chicago-area congressional districts, it’s likely a Republican-held seat will be dissolved.

“If you start from Cairo and move north, you’re basically moving further north in order to find it,” Brace said.

Illinois has 18 congressional seats. It once had 27.

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