|Abstract:||As mandated by Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, Congress is required to authorize and fund a complete count of the American population every 10 years. The form of the decennial census has changed over time, from a simple enumeration of the population to a snapshot of its social, economic, and demographic profile. Last summer, the Census Bureau released complete data on its latest headcount that was conducted in April of 2010.
This chapter uses 2010 census data and other recent sources1 to draw seven policy lessons about critical demographic patterns and trends that have direct relevance to state and municipal governance, revenue streams, and program service deliverability. Illinois is changing and with change comes new opportunities and challenges. During these tough economic times, it is crucial that policy decisions recognize Illinois’ demographic reality.
The fiscal condition of the state is gloomy. As state and local policymakers are required to make tough choices and major changes, they must be conscious of Illinois’ shifting demography. Cuts to social programs must recognize that the eligible pool of recipients will only expand over time as the boomers age into retirement; expectations of new revenue streams need to acknowledge that labor pools—especially among peak-career workers—are shrinking; further reductions in educational resources may further thwart high school completion and access to higher education; and any policy that limits job growth will likely lead to an even steeper exodus of the state’s workers.