2020 Census Numbers Severely Behind in West Central Illinois

By Benjamin Cox on September 14, 2020 at 8:37pm

2020 Census numbers in the area continue to lag behind as the deadline to respond draws near. The final day to fill out 2020 Census information is September 30th. Morgan County, as of Thursday, was at a 69.6% response rate. Several municipalities are doing well, while others are below 70% self-response rates.

Kristin Jamison, President of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation, says that Shawn Artis of the Morgan County GIS and a local volunteer are working on getting better responses in particular census tracts: “There’s a young woman from the Springfield area that has really been working on certain census tracts. She is working for a non-profit, and working to really [promote] the effort. I’ve worked to connect her with local aldermen and women in specific wards where the census tracts that maybe have a lower participation rate. I know that kind of boots-on-the-ground effort is happening. She has also been in contact with Shawn Artis, [Morgan County’s] GIS expert, to have those maps of the various census tracts that are under-performing. I know that the effort is there to make sure people are encouraged to reply the census.”

Jamison says that South Jacksonville is the top responder in the county locally at 83.4%, and the City of Jacksonville lags at 66.1%. Delving into the numbers, Jamison says certain portions of the city are actually doing well compared to others: “It is interesting that South Jacksonville has a really high response rate. It is interesting if you go into various tracts within the City of Jacksonville. The city does have rates over 80% in particular tracts, and in one census tract is at 83.5%. Obviously, Jacksonville is a larger area than South Jacksonville, so there are pockets that are performing well. Unfortunately, there are also some other pockets that are under-performing and their response rates are more in the 50-60% range. There is one that has a 53.7% rate and another at 53.8%, so unfortunately they are bringing down that overall response rate for the city.”

Here are the breakdowns by County and municipality:

Brown County 61.2%
Mt. Sterling 66%
Versailles 52.5%
Ripley 41.5%

Cass County 68%
Arenzville 76.1%
Virginia 71.5%
Ashland 69.9%
Beardstown 64.7%
Chandlerville 60.8%

Greene County 60.6%
Carrollton 69.6%
Greenfield 67.8%
Wilmington-Patterson 67.6%
White Hall 67.5%
Roodhouse 58%
Eldred 53.8%
Kane 42.9%
Rockbridge 34.7%
Hillview 27.8%

Macoupin County 71% *these are only municipalities in the WLDS/WEAI coverage area
Modesto 71%
Virden 67.3%
Hettick 61.7%
Girard 61.5%
Palmyra 61.3%
Nilwood 55.8%
Scottville 53.3%

Morgan County 69.6%
South Jacksonville 83.4%
Chapin 76.2%
Lynnville 70.4%
Franklin 70.3%
Waverly 69.2%
Concord 68%
Jacksonville 66.1%
Murrayville 65.6%
Woodson 64.4%
Meredosia 58.5%

Pike County 63.2%
Pittsfield 73.3%
Barry 70.4%
Kinderhook 65.4%
Hull 64.5%
Pleasant Hill 63.6%
New Salem 62.9%
New Canton 60%
Detroit 53.8%
Griggsville 53.1%
El Dara 52.8%
Perry 50.7%
Nebo 43.8%
Milton 39.6%
Baylis 39.4%
Pearl 32.4%

Sangamon County 72.6% *these are only municipalities in the WLDS/WEAI coverage area
Pleasant Plains 81.1%
Auburn 80.8%
New Berlin 78.5%
Curran 72.4%
Springfield 69.8%
Thayer 66.1%
Loami 61.4%
Berlin 50%

Schuyler County 65%
Rushville 69.5%
Littleton 64.9%
Browning 49.4%
Camden 48%
Brooklyn 39.8%

Scott County 67.3%
Winchester 70.7%
Bluffs 70.3%
Manchester 67.1%
Glasgow 67.1%
Exeter 55.6%
Alsey 53.7%
Florence 39.3%
Naples 27.5%

The overall state response rate is currently 70.3% as of September 10th. Jamison says there is still time to complete the census by phone, paper, or online: “The main thing to remember is that responses to the U.S. Census are private, and the U.S. Census Bureau does not use that information in any way, shape, or form that could be harmful to a person. In fact, it really does help certain populations in terms of federal funding.”

Jamison says there are some residual, long-term effects if the census numbers remain low in the region: “I was on a conference call with Governor J.B. Pritzker recently. He mentioned that in 2010 that $34 billion was funneled per year to various areas throughout Illinois through use of the census data. Those numbers helped the federal government understand where they needed to help out in specific areas of the state. Governor Pritzker’s comment was that a 1% under-count could effect $195 million worth of funding. If we are undercounted by even 1%, that’s a large amount of money that’s not being funneled in to schools, hospitals, fire districts, to help build infrastructure to make communities stronger and more progressive.”

For more information to fill out the census if you have not responded yet, visit 2020census.gov.