Today, the Census Bureau is mailing out census forms to every household in the country, and the online census form goes live.
The census, required by our constitution and conducted every 10 years, is a count of every individual living in the United States. That means we get one chance every decade to take a couple of minutes and help ensure we get the resources and political representation that our communities need.
This is critical for Illinois
The federal government uses census data to make extremely important decisions, such as:
- How many legislators Illinois gets in the House of Representatives. Because of recent population loss and a below average participation rate in the last census (75% in 2010), Illinois has continually lost representation in Congress. In 1950, we had 24 representatives; today, we have just 18. There are two more seats at stake during the 2020 census.
- How to allocate billions of dollars for vital programs over the course of the next 10 years. This funding goes toward housing and homelessness programs, road and bridge repairs, energy assistance, Medicare and Medicaid, and much more. For each Illinoisan who doesn’t get counted, we leave as much as $1,800 on the table.
What can you do?
First things first: Fill out the census yourself!
Once you receive your invitation in the mail, you can fill out the form online, by phone, or by mail. After you’ve finished, make sure your friends and family have filled it out, too.
- Can your organization share information with clients online, in a newsletter, or in person? Our communications toolkit makes this quick and easy.
- Do you know of residential buildings where educational posters can be put up or flyers can be tucked into mailboxes?
- Can you host an in-person Q&A about the census for your staff, residents, or clients?
- Do you host events where it would possible to share materials or even include a table where folks can respond to the census right then and there?
Let us know if the answer is yes. Housing Action Illinois is focusing on getting out the count among Hard-to-Count populations such as renters and people experiencing homelessness in suburban Cook County. If we can’t help you ourselves, we’ll connect you with partners around the state who can.
Together, we can make sure Illinois gets the resources we need to take care of our communities.