Durbin, Illinois Congressional Delegation Meet With Census Bureau Director On Illinois Count

The Illinois lawmakers urge Director Santos to commit to using Post-Enumeration Survey results to correct estimated undercount of Illinois’ population

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation today met virtually with U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert L. Santos about the results of the 2020 Decennial Census after Illinois was found to likely have been undercounted at a rate of 1.97 percent. During their meeting, Durbin pressed Director Santos to correct the undercount by incorporating the Census Bureau’s Post-Enumeration Survey (PES) data into the Bureau’s annual Population Estimate update following the Decennial Census. Durbin emphasized that the Bureau should make all of its federal partners aware of the estimated undercount to accurately inform agencies’ federal funding decisions, reiterating that a correction is needed to provide the properly allocated resources to Illinoisans.

The 2020 Census is projected to have undercounted Illinois by approximately 250,000 individuals, which means that current Census data does not accurately reflect Illinois’ population of roughly 13 million residents – the highest the state has ever recorded. As a result of the error, Illinois is at risk of losing valuable federal funding over the next ten years. The Census is used to allocate roughly $1.5 trillion in federal funding, through about 100 programs including Medicaid, SNAP, Medicare Part B, Highway Planning and Construction, and Pell grants.

“Every 10 years, the Census leads to consequential decisions about congressional representation, federal health care funding, support for education, and resources to fortify states’ infrastructure. An accurate count is essential,” said Durbin. “Today in my meeting with Director Santos, I made it clear that Illinois’ undercount must be corrected. I will continue to push the Census Bureau to correct this oversight until every Illinoisan is properly accounted for.”

A photo of the virtual meeting is available here.

Members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation joining Durbin on the call today included U.S. Representatives Robin Kelly (D-IL-2), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-8), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-9), Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), and Bobby Rush (D-IL-1).

Last month, Durbin and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) led 13 Democratic members of the Illinois delegation in sending a letter to Director Santos on the undercount. In their letter, the lawmakers requested direct answers on how the Census Bureau plans to incorporate PES findings into census data to accurately represent the number of Illinoisans.