PILSEN — In an effort to drive up census participation, local groups are hosting an online discussion followed by a caravan throughout Pilsen Friday.
The Pilsen Neighbors Community Council will host the U.S. Census discussion at noon on Facebook. The group, along with Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), SGA Youth And Family Services and the Coalition For A Better Chinese American Community, will hen take to streets at 1 p.m. to spread awareness around the census throughout the 25th Ward.
The U.S. Census Bureau counts the country’s entire population each decade as mandated by the U.S. Constitution. The count provides critical data to lawmakers as they distribute billions of federal dollars each year, including funding for hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads and other resources.
Last month, only a third of residents in Pilsen had completed the census.
In the 25th Ward, which also includes the West Loop and Chinatown, 45 percent of residents have completed the census, according to city data released May 11. Currently, Chicago has an overall response rate of 51.8 percent.
Ald. Sigcho-Lopez said Friday’s effort aims to drive participation in Pilsen and Chinatown’s immigrant communities where there are often barriers to accessing accurate information about the census.
In a series of videos, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is urging Chicagoans across the city to fill out the census.
The mayor is aiming for a 75 percent citywide response rate, though the targets for each ward vary. This is the first year households are able to fill out the questionnaire electronically; households still can complete it by mail or phone.
Ensuring census participation already is challenging in communities with “hard-to-count” populations, but the effort is made more difficult this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. JB Pritzker previously said the state risks losing $195 million per year for each 1 percent of the population undercounted.
Ignoring the survey, which takes about 10 minutes to fill out online, means your neighborhood won’t get its fair share of more than $675 billion per year in federal funds spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other programs.
Census counts also determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
The final date to fill out the census online is August 14.
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