The latest population estimates suggest Illinois will lose a seat in Congress because of continued population decline, which could help Republicans at the national level, a central Illinois Republican Congressman said.

U.S. Census figures showed Illinois led the nation in outbound migration over the past ten years, losing nearly 160,000 residents. Moving truck companies said more people are moving out of the state than in.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said the state needs to put in better pro-growth policies. He said the policies coming out of Springfield were part of the reason some people are leaving the state.

“Their ideas are to raise taxes even more on every single Illinoisans,” Davis said. “That’s not what’s it’s going to take to stop the bleeding out of this state.”

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, said Illinois’ hasn't stayed competitive and that hurts rural Illinois' voice in Congress.

“One thing that I’ve noticed in being there four years, the less and less members of Congress are from rural America, or from large agriculture districts,” LaHood said.

The latest Census numbers showed southern and southwestern states that are more Republican-controlled are growing faster than northern states that are more Democrat-controlled.

Davis said high taxes and heavy regulations passed by Illinois’ majority Democrats don't encourage residents to stay in Illinois.

“So if you care about the electoral college, we’re going to lose one, maybe two, electoral votes because of Democrat policies in Illinois pushing people to Republican states that will give Republican presidential candidates more electoral votes,” Davis said. “How ironic is that? And that’s something that has to be changed here in Springfield.”

Representation in Congress isn't the only thing Illinois stands to lose as the state's population declines. The state has lost $12 billion in gross domestic income in just the past two years ending in 2018 as a result of people moving out.

Staff Reporter

Greg Bishop reports on Illinois government and other statewide issues for The Center Square. Bishop has years of award-winning broadcast experience, and previously hosted “Bishop On Air,” a morning-drive current events talk show.