What is the 2020 Census?
The United States Census is the process of counting each and every individual within the United States as required by the Constitution. This process takes place every 10 years. The data collected by the Census determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives (a process called apportionment) and determines how billions of federal dollars will be distributed to local communities.
Federal and State Funding
The federal government allocates $675 Billion annually to local communities. The 2020 Census will determine how that money is allocated for the next 10 years. Most of this federal funding is allocated on a per capita (per person) basis. Due to the money being allocated on a per capita basis, it is essential that the City counts each and every resident. For every resident that is not counted, the City will lose out on $1535 per person in federal funding every year.
In addition to federal funding, state shared revenues are also allocated to the City on a per capita basis. Below are a few examples of the different types of revenue that are affected by our Census numbers:
- Motor Fuel Tax - $37 per resident
- State Income Tax - $106 per resident
- State Use Tax - $32 per resident
These are all significant sources of funding that our community relies on to fix infrastructure and fund other City services.
Representation of Residents
The second major implication of not being counted in the Census is the loss of representation at a federal level. That State of Illinois lost one seat in the House of Representatives during the 2010 Census count. Illinois currently stands to lose another seat as a result of the 2020 Census, and if the State receives a lower count, it might lose two seats in the House of Representatives. A lack of representation directly affects how our resident's needs are met. Without representation, the State of Illinois, including the City of DeKalb, will not have a large voice in the federal government.
2010 Census Counts Falls Short
In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau was only able to count 77% of the total population in DeKalb County. This resulted in a $38 million loss annually from 2010 until 2020, which amounts to a total of $380 million countywide. These lost federal dollars could have gone to repairing infrastructure and improving the quality and quantity of programs the City provides to residents.
Due to this extremely low count in the 2010 Census, in coordination with the U.S. Census Bureau, the City of DeKalb has formed a Complete Count Committee (CCC). The CCC consists of trusted community partners whose role is to provide outreach and education to our residents regarding the 2020 Census and specifically targeting Hard to Count (HTC) populations in our community. HTC populations in DeKalb include renters, African-Americans, Hispanics, college students, children under five, senior citizens, veterans, immigrants, language constrained, people living in poverty, people with disabilities, snowbirds, farmworkers, millennials, and the homeless. The majority of HTC populations in DeKalb County can be seen primarily in the City of DeKalb with a few exceptions. That is why it is essential our community obtains a complete count.
How Can You Help Ensure a Complete Count?
The easiest and most important way a resident can help with the 2020 Census is to self report themselves starting on March 12, 2020. The Census Burea for the first time will be collecting data via the internet to streamline the data collection process. The Census Burea will begin sending postcards on March 12 with a code for individuals to use when filling out the Census survey. In addition to online responses, residents can self-report via phone and mail. The Census will be available in over 20 languages to assist those who need help filling the survey out.
The official Census Day will be on April 1, 2020. After this date, the Census Bureau will send out physical copies of the Census Survey to all addresses that have not responded. The reason for this is that the Census Burea understands that not all citizens have access to the internet or the ability to use a phone. If residents have not answered by May 2020, the U.S. Census Burea will be going door to door to count residents on a household basis.
Take pride in our community and let's show the U.S. Census Bureau that every resident in the City of Dekalb counts.