According to fresh U.S. Census Bureau data, the population of Illinois decreased by 1.6% between 2020 and 2022.

Yes, but a lawmaker from Illinois is disputing the most recent figures and the government agency, claiming that it is promoting “misleading narratives” with its faulty information.

Why it matters: Over the next ten years, the data could have a significant impact on Illinois’ level of federal representation and more than $1 trillion in federal money.

Additionally, the data is extensively reported in the media and frequently utilized to advance partisan agendas.

The big picture: According to Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj of Axios, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on interstate and international migration, birth and death rates, and other population patterns during the past few years.

By the numbers: According to the new estimates, Kendall County grew the most, by nearly 4% from 2020 to 2022.

Alexander County in far southern Illinois shrank by 6%.

Cook County supposedly saw a 2.9% decline.

Flashback: Census population estimates have proven unreliable in the past.

2020 census figures estimated that Illinois had lost about 18,000 residents since 2010.

Then, last spring, the Census Bureau declared that, oops, the state had actually gained 250,000 people after conducting a post-enumeration survey to measure the census’ accuracy.

Illinois was among 14 states in which the 2020 census undercounted or overcounted populations at a statistically significant rate. The agency blamed “challenges such as conducting fieldwork during the COVID-19 pandemic,” among other issues.

What they’re saying: Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi has been urging the Census Bureau to update its methodology. He sent a letter to the bureau in December and then another two weeks ago, but nothing has changed.