You’ve likely heard that it is the year for the census–the time once every ten years when the US gets an official count of people living in the United States and its territories.
If you have already submitted your census document, thank you. This is a super important and easy step to help keep our communities well represented and appropriately funded. If you haven’t done that yet, there’s still a small window of time. The census deadline is soon–Sept. 30.
Like I mentioned earlier, an accurate census count is very important but I’d like to tell you a little bit more about why. When the state and federal governments determine where taxpayer funds should be sent, they look at census data to see where people live. Many funds are based on population, and are further broken down by sex, age, race and other indicators. When you respond to the census, you are doing your part to ensure our communities receive every federal taxpayer dollar possible. These census-driven funds go to schools, hospitals, roads, first responders and other important programs that help our communities thrive. When you fill out the census, you are making sure our communities get our fair share of more than $675 billion per year in federal funds.
Not only does the census impact how our communities receive funding, it also impacts our congressional representation. Every ten years our representative districts are redrawn from the county level on up to our US Congressional districts. Population figures from the census help determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets. Particularly in rural areas like ours, it is really important that we get an accurate count so we are not underrepresented in our legislative districts.
Filling out the census is secure, safe, and easy. You can submit your census information by mail, by phone, or by computer. Census documents were mailed to all households in Illinois, so you can fill out that paper form and submit it. You can also fill out your census online from your computer. Go to my2020census.gov to submit your census information online. You can also call a toll free number (844-330-2020) to be directed to a census worker who can walk you through the process. If you need any help with this, please feel free to reach out to our office at 217-324-5200. We are happy to help.
I am encouraging everyone who has not yet submitted their census information to do so right away. If you have submitted your information, please encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to complete it and see if you can help them submit their information. The entire process only takes between five and ten minutes, and an accurate count is vital to the future of our communities!