It might surprise you when you hear we have 12.8 million of these in Illinois.  What if I told you the number is actually higher?

I've lived in Rockford, Illinois my entire life and I never really thought about how many people lived in the state as a whole.  For Rockford, I know there's roughly 150,000 of us just hustling to stay afloat.  What about the rest of Illinois?

Here are the populations of cities in the surrounding areas:

  • Belvidere: 25,169
  • Loves Park: 23,365
  • Machesney Park: 22,752
  • Roscoe: 10,874
  • Byron: 3,768
  • Winnebago: 2,894
  • Freeport: 23,413

That means 12.8 million people have eaten deep dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, and found themselves deep inside of a pothole?  I beg to differ.  Something just doesn't seem right about that number.

Read More: Quad Cities Chamber Applauds Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker 


According to the the Governor, the population number is quite inaccurate and actually higher than they originally calculated.

"Pritzker said the state gained population and the annual estimates calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau are wrong." [advantage news]

Okay, so did someone undercount and miss a portion of the state?  Apparently, that's not too far off from the truth.

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Illinois got undercounted, which isn't surprising especially with people flying under the radar and living here illegally.

"sometimes people are homeless and don’t get counted or some people are just hidden and hard to get to and they didn’t get counted,” said Pritzker. “So what did they determine from that? Illinois gained population. We have more than 13 million people in the state of Illinois.” [advantage news]

So there you have it.  More than 13 million people are living in the Prairie State.

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LOOK: Here are the 25 best places to live in Illinois

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Illinois using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from

On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.

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