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Municipal Census Ideas Exchange equips Southland leaders to get their communities fully counted

Robbins Mayor Tyrone Ward addresses participants at the Dec. 9 Municipal Ideas Exchange at Prairie State College

A census undercount could mean a devastating $1 billion loss to the state of Illinois or a loss of $1,400 per resident who is not counted, U.S. Congresswoman Robin Kelly told participants at a 2020 Census Municipal Ideas Exchange on Dec. 9 at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights. That money will be lost for the next 10 years – money for schools, roads, infrastructure, Medicaid and more.

On top of that, Illinois may lose one, maybe two congressional seats, said Cook County Commissioner Stanley Moore who chairs the Cook County Complete Count Committee (CCC). Thirty-two percent of our residents are deemed hard to count, he added.

There is a widespread fear of participating, several speakers stated.

That’s partially due to scams or misinformation, Robbins Mayor Tyrone Ward said. He is SSMMA’s current president and chair of the association’s CCC.

The census will be taken online this year. And many seniors fear the Internet and technology. “If we force seniors to fill-out information online, we may lose them,” Moore said. Yet residents have the option of responding online, by mail or phone.

“There’s no citizenship question and it’s 100 percent confidential” so residents don’t have to worry that their information will be compromised, added Kelly. A related story on census questions, US Census Bureau explains what the 2020 Census will ask, is in the Lansing Journal.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has allocated $33 million toward census education to minimize undercounting. Pat Quinn, the prior governor during the 2010 census only allocated $4 million.

The group asked each institution or unit of government to form or participate in a Complete Count Committee / Commission to promote census education and participation, and to share information with each other. Upcoming Census Bureau 2020 roll-out dates include: January – March, Awareness Campaign; March – May, Motivation Phase; May – June, Reminder Phase; and June – August, Thank You Phase. Additional timeline information can be found on the Census Bureau website.

Thank you to all who were able to attend the Municipal Ideas Exchange on Dec. 9. It was hosted by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus in collaboration with SSMMA, CMAP, Illinois Count Me In 2020, Forefront and the United States Census Bureau. It was one of a three-part series of Municipal Ideas Exchanges held throughout the Chicago Region in Glen Ellyn, Chicago Heights and Des Plaines. We hope it was informative and inspired your municipalities’/CCC’s next census effort. For those who were unable to attend, the December 9th Slides are available.

Additional information to share from the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus: The Census Bureau’s Hiring Efforts are ramping up, their pay rates have increased and they are recruiting to fill 80,000 positions across the state. We know many of you have hosted census job fairs, would you mind sharing any old flyers/ ideas or being a resource for your peers. Those who have not we encourage you to consider hosting a job fair. Let us know if you would like to and need extra support. We can help connect you to the most relevant resources and possibly provide some backing as well. The Census Bureau flyer is attached

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