The State of Illinois is ahead on census numbers compared to other states. Locally, census numbers are better than most places in the region but are severely lagging behind responses from a decade ago. The state’s self-response rate is at 68.5%. Kristin Jamison of the Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation, who is spearheading local census efforts, says that the census numbers just aren’t where they should be: “Morgan County is very close to [the state response rate]. We are at 68.3% and Scott County is at 66.7%. Just to put it into context, the last time the census was taken in 2010, we had response rates in the 70th percentile, so we are lagging. What’s frustrating with that is this is the first time you can complete the census via the Internet. It literally takes 3 to 4 minutes at the most. You can type in your address, and you are ready to go.”
Jamison says that a unique trend has shown up with municipalities with high response rates: “It’s interesting that the communities that have best response rates, South Jacksonville being one of them at 82% – 67% responded via the Internet. These higher percentage communities that are really grabbing that challenge and saying ‘We want all this federal funding that we can get and we want everybody to respond so that we are bringing the funds for our schools, our fire department, etc.’ are really jumping online. The communities that are a little bit behind, Jacksonville being one of them at 64.5%, is under 50% on Internet response.”
Jamison says the time is now to get census responses in since data collection will wrap up now by the end of September. Jamison believes that the stop and start of the census campaign has really caused and discouraged the census due to COVID-19. Jamison says it’s crucial for the census to be completed because of representation in Congress and federal funding for programs in the area for schools and local governments.
To fill out your census information online, visit 2020Census.gov.