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Today’s number: 59,800 uncounted Illinoisans in 2010

Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020

* Ed McClelland at Chicago Magazine on the upcoming census

“We’re going full bore on this,” says CEO Maria Whelan, whose nonprofit connects families with childcare and preschools. “Every employee is going to be a babbling idiot about the census.” The state can’t afford a repeat of what happened 10 years ago: Kids younger than 5 were undercounted by 36,000, costing Illinois $2,700 per child each year in federal assistance.

In all, the United States Census Bureau estimates it missed 59,800 Illinoisans the last time around. As a result, the state lost $122 million in federal health funding, according to the George Washington Institute of Public Policy. So it’s no surprise that Illinois is spending more than it ever has on the census, including $29 million from Springfield, $4 million from Cook County, and $2.7 million from Chicago. Illinois’s investment is the third highest per capita, after California and New York. […]

A particular challenge for Illinois: its high percentage of hard-to-count residents, especially immigrants. The state has 1.8 million foreign-born inhabitants, the nation’s sixth-highest total. And immigrants account for the population increase in the few parts of Illinois that are growing, especially the Fox River Valley. (Latinos are now the largest ethnic group in Aurora and Elgin.) It’s not news that immigrants — even legal ones — participate in the census at a lower rate than native-born Americans. This year, though, getting them to fill out a form will be even tougher, thanks to fears stoked by the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to census forms. While the Supreme Court rejected the question, just the fact that it was proposed has left many immigrants wary. Organizations that sued to keep the question off the census claimed it was intended to reduce the participation, and thus the political representation, of Latinos, who make up about 17 percent of Illinois’s population.

“We’ve got a lot to fight in terms of government mistrust,” says Jeanine Stroger, who is coordinating the Illinois Complete Count Committee for the Illinois secretary of state’s office. “That whole discussion left a chilling effect in the community.” Her office is distributing literature in five languages to municipal libraries, assuring residents that their individual census information will not be made public for 72 years.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

15 Comments »
  1. - ItsMillerTime - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 11:23 am:

    It’s weird how we don’t have a better way of doing the census. But I can’t think of anything so maybe I shouldn’t judge. I wonder how other countries do this.


  2. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 11:40 am:

    “A particular challenge for Illinois: its high percentage of hard-to-count residents, especially immigrants”

    We have great libraries in this state and they are often the only “governmental” institution that immigrants feel totally welcome in. Libraries also generally have staff, programs and materials geared to that reflect their community. The Illinois Library community is working to promote libraries as places where folks can use computes and free Wi-Fi to complete the census.

    https://www.ila.org/advocacy/census-2020-resources


  3. - Downstate Illinois - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 11:43 am:

    I’d be more concerned with the fact that the census will be electronic for the first time. Forget about young children being undercounted. Be more concerned with senior adults. Be more concerned with folks that don’t have good or any internet service.

    At the same time the census won’t be operating their local offices running their downstate Illinois operations out of Indianapolis.


  4. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 12:10 pm:

    =- Downstate Illinois - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 11:43 am:=

    Don’t spread misinformation. You can respond by mail or phone in addition to electronically. And that’s all before a census taker comes to your door.

    https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond.html


  5. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 12:17 pm:

    “Who knows what future immigration authorities will do and what some Trump appointed judge will allow”

    Total fear mongering and this type of talk will keep census participation down among the hard to count folks. Title 13 of the Unites States Code protects Census info.


  6. - thechampaignlife - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 12:21 pm:

    ===Who knows if a future politician will not release information before 72 years===

    Well, Census has fended of FBI raids, so there’s that.

    To the post, is the $122M in lost federal funding annual or over 10 years? I hope annual, otherwise the amount we are spending to get a *more* full count may eat up most of the new revenue.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    === It’s understandable that illegal aliens would be concerned===

    Good thing you’re “telling” them to worry.

    Your Facebook phony droll is tiring.


  8. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 12:39 pm:

    Donnie Elgin - As a Springfield resident get a free library card, which is required to use the internet. My “neighbors” in Grandview, Southern View, Jerome, Leland Grove, or contiguous unincorporated Sangamon County pay $90 a year for the library card to use the library’s internet.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    - Steve -

    You don’t vote.

    How does this even impact you?

    Actually, how does anything here, as an adult choosing not to vote, impact you?

    If all you have is fear monger trolling don’t include me in your drivel.

    Thank you.


  10. - Steve - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 1:27 pm:

    -Actually, how does anything here, as an adult choosing not to vote, impact you?-

    Non-voters still have to pay taxes. The census and voting are 2 different things, you probably are aware of that, although I will admit to not be too friendly to answering detailed census questions when confronted personally.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 1:35 pm:

    - Steve -

    Move on from me, take your victimhood too.

    To the post,

    It’s critical that everyone is counted. The federal funding for programs that can help Illinois and her budget depend on accurate census numbers.

    === We’ve got a lot to fight in terms of government mistrust,”===

    You only need to read a few comments here to fully grasp how others are willing to hurt this state because they believe in scaring folks.

    This will be a tough fight.


  12. - Downstate Illinois - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 2:11 pm:

    I wasn’t spreading misinformation. I was pointing out problems of the government’s own choosing. Sending out a paper form, filling it out and returning it is fairly simple. The new rules will just create a lower response rate and plenty of work for enumerators.


  13. - Leatherneck2 - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    Many countries have a national registry. When people arrive to a new address, they must report that to the national registry. They need to have a current address on file with the national registry to do most anything - go the doctor, register for school, pay taxes, get a driver’s license, even have mail delivered to an address. Those countries can do an almost up-to-the-minute census count. None of this once every ten years (!) nonsense.


  14. - Steve - Wednesday, Jan 15, 20 @ 3:57 pm:

    - Leatherneck2 -

    America doesn’t have a national registry. But, from time to time we do have creative efforts to address illegal immigration. It’s quite understandable how someone engaged in federal immigration violations could be concerned about signing things. Who could forget University of Farmington?

    https://tinyurl.com/sfj2pfe


  15. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 10:37 am:

    Another resource for computers in communities are school districts. Most have good internet connections for testing purposes. The Illinois State Board of Education has resources on its website for schools to be involved in the census. They can sponsor evening events that will allow those in their communities to use the computer labs and school libraries to fill out the census. There is a possibility of access to computers during the day for seniors who do not want to drive or be out after dark.

    Plus, many communities have senior centers with computers that have internet access. Computer savvy seniors can assist others with the rudiments of using the computer for the census.


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