08/13/2021 1:49 PM

WOODSTOCK, Ill. – McHenry County made a modest population gain in the 2020 U.S. Census, according to newly released statistics.

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Bucking a trend that saw many Illinois counties lose population over the past decade, McHenry County gained a total of 1,469 people to 310,229 residents, or a half-percent increase, according to local-level data released Thursday by the Census Bureau. McHenry County joined Cook, the collar counties, and nine other Illinois counties in gaining residents between 2010 and 2020.

“The final number is a testament to McHenry County being a great place to live and do business,” County Board Chairman Mike Buehler, R-Crystal Lake, said. “It’s also a testament to the professionalism and dedication of the McHenry County Complete Count Committee, which worked tirelessly during a global pandemic, to ensure that McHenry County got as high a response rate as possible. This increased population count will mean an equitable share of federal and state funding as we continue to recover from COVID-19.”

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The Census determines local governments’ share of the tens of billions of dollars steered each year to states based on their population. It also directly impacts voter representation because the data is used to determine the boundaries of districts in the US House of Representatives, the Illinois General Assembly, the County Board, and municipal aldermanic districts.

The Complete Count Committee, co-chaired by County Board member Michael Vijuk and former Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager, oversaw one of the highest census response rates in the state. McHenry County had 82.3 percent of its households self-respond – a rate that tied with Kendall County for the second highest among the 102 counties in Illinois. Trout Valley, Spring Grove, Huntley and Lakewood had some of the highest self-response rates for municipalities in Illinois, and Trout Valley’s response rate of about 92 percent ranked it among the highest in the nation.

“Answering the Census every 10 years is every American’s civic duty, and McHenry County residents rose to meet their responsibility,” Vijuk, D-Cary, said. “In doing so, they made a difference by helping secure the maximum funding our communities receive for social services for people of all ages. I’m very proud of the hard work the committee’s volunteers did to encourage their friends, neighbors, and complete strangers to take the few minutes necessary to respond.”

“I’m grateful to residents who participated so we, as a county, could get an accurate population count in order to be able to return tax dollars to McHenry County and our local communities,” Sager said. “As we anticipated, McHenry County’s population has grown, and will continue to do so. As we move forward, it is imperative for all units of local government to work collaboratively to ensure that growth happens in a positive manner, and that we have appropriate representation in Springfield and Washington.”

Illinois’ total population decreased by 18,124 residents; the state was one of four to lose residents since 2010. The release of census data was delayed several months because of the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This press release was produced by the McHenry County Government. The views expressed here are the author’s own.

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