QUINCY -- On Friday, the United States Census Bureau released its annual population estimate and the federal agency did not have good news for the city of Quincy or for Adams County.
According to the report, the county's population has declined from 67,097 people in 2010 to 65,691 in 2019. This is a decline of 1,412 people.
Adams County was not the only county projected to have a declining population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, all but 16 of Illinois' counties have declined in population since 2010. This includes Hancock County, which has lost 1,260 residents; Pike County, which reportedly has 819 fewer residents; Brown County, which has 381 fewer residents; and Schuyler County, which has 637 fewer residents.
Quincy's Director of Planning and Development Chuck Bevelheimer said Friday's figures were compiled using a year-long community survey conducted by the Census Bureau.
"Obviously, it is hard for me to say how accurate that number is," Bevelheimer said.
Other city officials -- including Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore, Alderman Jack Holtschlag, and Alderman Jeff VanCamp -- also questioned accuracy of Friday's figures.
"I don't know if there is a grain of truth to it," said VanCamp, I-6.
According to Bevelheimer, if next year's census does show the county and city's population declining there is a risk that the city will lose an estimated $150,000 per year in state and federal revenue sharing programs.
"I can tell you that the loss of 1,000 people is a big number," Bevelheimer said. "With the census coming up and with the city's Complete Count Committee, we are going to do everything we can to get an accurate count so that we can hopefully avoid a reduction in population."
The Complete Count Committee consists of local government officials, civic leaders, business representatives and leaders of faith-based organizations in Quincy. The committee will be organizing and conducting a series of events and promotions over the next year to help Quincy residents register as part of the 2020 census.
Bevelheimer said among the promotions planned by the committee is a planned media blitz, which will target the "hard to count" populations in Quincy.
"It is imperative that we do everything we can to reach out to that population," Bevelheimer said. "A lot of times those are the young people, the millennials, the older people and the elderly. Our goal is to make sure we have a media blitz that covers both spectrums of the population with the young people on social media and with the seniors on radio and television."
None of the officials expressed surprise by the reported decline in population.
"First, we know that Illinois makes it very hard for us to attract and keep residents in this region," Moore said. "I really don't think it surprises me that we are lacking people here. We have talked about workforce development and we have employers who are hiring, but that we don't have enough people to fill those jobs."
Moore said he is confident that the census-related committee will do everything they can do to count everyone living in Quincy. He re-iterated his calls for Quincy to adhere to a strategic plan to focus on developing walking trails, the parks along the Mississippi River, and continuing the revitalization of downtown Quincy.
"We want to be a community where people want to move and stay," Moore said. "We want to do the things necessary as a community to make sure that we are maintaining and enhancing the quality of life for our residents."