(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker insists Illinois has more than 13 million people, but analysis of new Internal Revenue Service data show the state continues to lose taxpayers to other states.
Illinois lost a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives because of population decline after the the 2020 Census showed Illinois lost 18,000 people. That’s despite years of annual Census estimates that Illinois lost hundreds of thousands of people since 2014.
Earlier this month, an updated survey said the U.S. Census undercounted Illinois by nearly 2%. Pritzker wrote President Joe Biden this week insisting the state is growing and saying Illinois should get more federal tax dollars.
“The PES report released on May 18, 2022, found that Illinois, along with five other states, had its population significantly undercounted by the 2020 Census; in fact, the data shows a 1.97% undercount, equating to roughly 250,000 Illinoisans who were not represented in the 2020 Census,” Pritzker said in his letter to the president.
Pritzker’s office said the report lifts the state’s population to more than 13 million “for the first time in its history.”
The White House didn’t immediately respond when asked for comment Wednesday.
Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski said the U.S. Census didn’t revise the state’s population upward. And, new IRS data for the year 2019 to 2020 released Tuesday shows Illinois lost 101,000 taxpayers, and with that $8.5 billion in taxable income.
“This is, I think, the best sign of economic health or economic problems and that’s, are you winning the battle for people, are you winning the battle for wealth,” Dabrowski said.
Tracking tax returns and where filers are migrating, the IRS data show Illinois gained 171,000 filers over the year but more than 272,000 left the state to other locations. Florida gained the most Illinoisans at more than 28,000.
“Florida just continues to grow with people and investment and we’re at the other end … we’re losing our people, and we’re losing wealthy people,” Dabrowski said. “The people that we lose make a lot more money than the people we’re bringing into this state.”
The IRS migration data show that for incomes of $200,000 or more, there were around 13,900 inflow filers that moved to Illinois bringing in $2.9 billion, while nearly 35,000 in that income bracket left the state taking $8.5 billion. That’s a net loss of $5.6 billion.
The $25,000 to $50,000 income bracket among all ages had the most people leaving Illinois for other states at 54,700 with 39,800 people moving in. That’s a net loss of $338,000 for that income bracket.
“This trend is getting worse, by the way, in terms of the people who are leaving, they’re wealthier and wealthier, and they’re taking their money with them,” Dabrowski said.
The IRS data doesn’t show Illinois growing, Dabrowski said, despite Pritzker’s insistence the Census PES shows the state growing.
“[The IRS] track where people live and where they moved to and they show that Illinois was the third biggest loser of people and the third biggest loser of wealth to other states,” Dabrowski said.
Pritzker’s office didn’t return a message seeking comment about the IRS data.
“[The U.S. Census] updated count reflects Illinois’s rising status in the region and the country as a site of innovation and opportunity,” Pritzker’s office said in a statement announcing his letter to Biden. “Increased investment by the Pritzker administration in training and apprenticeship programs in manufacturing and aviation have created jobs and attracted new residents across the state.”
As for jobs, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show the state has not returned to pre-pandemic employment. In April 2022, Illinois had around 6 million nonfarm jobs. That’s down from more than 6.1 million jobs in 2019.