The 2010 Census is rapidly approaching in April 2010. Chicago Commons is teaming up with two other neighborhood organizations — La Casa Norte, and Humboldt Park Social Services – to increase response rates in the 2010 census in neighborhoods where the response was very low in the year 2000. Our work is supported by a “Count Me In” grant through the Illinois Census Funders Initiative.
Through aggressive neighborhood outreach, we are going to reach people BEFORE they get their census form so they understand its importance.
Here are some of the answers to the kinds of questions we often hear about the Census:
Will the 2010 Census be the same as before?
No, there are some important changes:
• 2010 Census will be short form only—just 10 easy questions.
• the long form is now part of the annual American Community Survey.
• handheld computers with Global Positioning System (GPS) will be used to check the address list in 2009.
How is Census data used?
The federal government uses population data to allocate congressional seats along with funds to your community in a number of areas:
- Head Start programs
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) (food grants)
- Public transportation
- Programs for the elderly
- Emergency food and shelter
- The data help the private sector as well as state and federal governments determine where jobs and job programs are needed.
- Corporations use population data for market research to determine locations for commercial enterprises, such as food stores, pharmacies, and other essential services.
- It is NOT used to identify specific households, all household information is confidential for 75 years.
What you can do to make sure your community is counted:
Identify organizations in the community that can provide space for Questionnaire Assistance Centers and will serve as a Be Counted site.
Hold a meeting with leaders of the organizations and solicit their help in creating a census awareness campaign targeted for community residents.
Distribute/post fliers announcing the delivery of the census questionnaire at busy locations in the community.
Encourage residents to complete and mail back their census questionnaires.
Plan a Census Day event to motivate community response.
Remind residents if they don’t mail back their questionnaire a census worker may come to their home. Encourage residents to cooperate with census workers.