SOUTH SHORE — If neighborhoods along the south lakefront want adequate funding for essential services like schools, road repairs and hospitals, residents need to fill out their census forms — soon.
Neighborhoods including South Shore, Bronzeville, South Chicago, Calumet Heights, Woodlawn and the East Side are lagging behind the citywide rate of 2020 U.S. Census responses and are far below Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s goal of 75 percent for Chicago, according to the city’s ward-level census results.
The South Lakefront wards’ response rates are:
- 4th Ward: 45.5 percent, with a goal of 74.4 percent.
- 5th Ward: 43.8 percent, with a goal of 72.2 percent.
- 7th Ward: 38.3 percent, with a goal of 68.4 percent.
- 10th Ward: 44.3 percent, with a goal of 72.8 percent.
Neighboring wards include the 3rd Ward at 45 percent, the 8th Ward at 46.8 percent and the 20th Ward at 33.7 percent.
The state loses about $15,000 in federal funding over 10 years for every uncounted resident, according to Illinois Census Director Oswaldo Alvarez.
The census ensures communities receive proper funding from the federal government for programs and projects such as free school lunches, road repairs, and workforce training programs, among many others, Alvarez said.
That could mean forgoing $195 million annually for each percent point of undercounting, Gov. JB Pritzker said at a press conference in early April.
“Each year the state has gotten about $34 billion just based on our Census count,” Alvarez said. “Just imagine if everyone in the state had been counted 10 years ago.”
The Census Bureau will not email or text requests to fill out the census. Any emails or texts received are likely scams.
“You all have the beautiful lakeshore and the South Shore Cultural Center, both of which are funded using figures from the census,” Lightfoot said. “Let’s help ourselves bring vital resources to the city by making sure everyone in South Shore takes part in the census.”
The final date to fill out the census online is August 14.
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