By Kevin Scanlan
Certified SCORE Mentor
2020 is a census year. Every 10 years, the federal government is required to conduct a census to determine the number of people who live in each state/community.
The results of the census have two impacts on us. First, based on the recorded population of Illinois, a determination will be made as to how many representatives we have in Congress. Based on the recent reports on how many people are leaving Illinois for other locations, Illinois will likely lose a least one Congressional seat. Depending on how accurate the census is, we could possibly lose up to two seats.
The other impact of the census is on funding of certain federal programs. Currently, 55 federally funded programs in Illinois are impacted by the number of residents in of the State of Illinois, as confirmed by the census. Based on a study by George Washington University, in 2016, these 55 programs provided $34.3 billion in funding in Illinois. Some of those programs include funding of government sponsored health programs (Medicare, Medicaid, All Kids, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the National School Lunch Program (NSLP); Head Start educational programs; Pell Grants for Higher Education, special education funding and highway repair funding.
The State of Illinois has committed $30 million for the census count.
The Chicago Urban League estimates that for every uncounted resident, $1535 in federal funding is lost annually. The next census will be in 2030 so the total impact of every uncounted resident for the 10 year period will be approximately $15,350.
Looking at the impact closer to home, if we use the 2010 reported census population of the 19th. Ward — 51,525 –– and 1% of the residents go uncounted (515), the loss of federal funding over the next 10 years will be $790,525.
As you can see, EVERYONE COUNTS! Hopefully you have received your census form in the mail by now. Please fill it out. There are several options available to you: online, by mail or by phone. There are no citizenship questions on the census form and the information will not be shared with other governmental agencies except those who use the aggregate data for program funding purposes.
If you don’t fill it out the census form, you will likely be contacted, in person by a census employee. Please be sure to confirm the credentials of the person who calls on you.
(Kevin Scanlan is a Certified SCORE Mentor working as part of the BAPA Team. Contact him via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.)