Mayor Richard M. Daley today led a National Census Day Rally in the Federal Plaza, 230 S. Dearborn St., reminding Chicagoans once again how important it is that everyone complete and return the 2010 census questionnaires.
“Every year, the federal government distributes hundreds of billions of dollars to
states and local governments based on Census data that is collected once every
10 years,” Daley said at the rally at which he was joined by U.S. Census Bureau officials, leaders of the “Complete Count Committee” established by the City to coordinate census outreach efforts and other community leaders.
“If the Census data isn’t accurate, it directly affects the amount of federal money
that will come to Chicago for the next ten years,” he said.
Responses to the 2010 Census questionnaire should include everyone who is living in a household as of April 1.
If forms are not returned by mid-April, census bureau representatives will start going house to house on May 1 to help those who did not file complete the questionnaires.
The Mayor said the “Complete Count Committee” has been working to make sure everyone knows about the importance of the census and coordinating the efforts of its sub-committees to reach populations that historically have been under-counted.
The sub-committees are focusing on: immigrants, ex-offenders, people with disabilities, faith-based community, veterans, school children, businesses, seniors, community-based organizations, university students, public housing residents and homeless.
Daley reminded residents not to overlook another “hard-to-count population” -- children.
“Children have been undercounted in every census since the first one in 1790. In the 2000 census, there was a net undercount of more than 1 million children under the age of 10. We must make sure all our young people are counted,” he said.
The Mayor said Chicago Public Schools have been reaching out to students in a variety of ways to raise awareness of the census, including a successful “Census in the Schools Week” event two weeks ago.
Some CPS schools also have been working with ex-NFL stars through the Census Bureau’s Sports Collaborative and other schools have developed creative ways to raise awareness through music and visual arts.
“So if you haven’t filled out your census form, remember to count everyone in your household as of today -- and don’t forget the children,” Daley said.
The Mayor said that for residents who did not receive a form or who need help filling it out, hundreds of “Questionnaire Assistance Centers” and “Be Counted Centers” will remain open through April 19 at locations throughout the City.
Those who cannot travel to an assistance center can call 311 to be connected to the Census Bureau for help over the phone in six languages.
Daley thanked all the City’s partners in the census outreach, including local foundations that contributed more than $1 million to support the effort through the “Count Me In” campaign.
The Mayor said the importance of the Census cannot be overstated, because:
• The federal money distributed according to the census helps fund critical programs that address a range of needs in the City, including programs for education, public safety, transportation, community development and social services.
• Census data also directly determines how many seats each city and state gets in Congress and is also used legislative redistricting at the state and local levels.
• And private developers and businesses often use Census data to understand demographics so they can figure out where to locate new development in a way that best meets a particular community’s needs.
“Please fill out and return your census questionnaire,” Daley said. “A complete and accurate census count is important to the future of our city.”
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