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Census Continues Despite the Pandemic

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Rich Egger
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The coronavirus pandemic has caused many events to be canceled or postponed. But one event that will still go on is the national census.

The questionnaire can be completed online at my2020census.gov.

David Amor, Convener of the Knox County Census2020 Complete Count Committee and Vice Chair of the Knox County Board, said an undercount could prove costly to the state.

“During the last census it was figured out that each person who was not counted within the state cost us about $1,500 each year,” Amor said, pointing out the allocation of federal funding for road repairs, education, and much more is based on population. And he said the census determines how many U.S representatives each state gets.

Amor said as of late last week, the response rate in Knox County this year was around 35%.

He said someone will eventually knock on your door if no one from your address fills out the form, though the door-to-door canvassing is getting pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Macomb Postcard Campaign

The pandemic poses an extra census-related challenge for university communities because the schools sent students back to their hometowns for the rest of the semester.

To meet that challenge, Macomb Community Development Coordinator John Bannon said the city and Western Illinois University worked together to ensure students are still included in the local count by sending them postcard reminders about an important detail.

“The postcard essentially lets them know that they should be counted where they go to school,” Bannon said, noting that’s where students spend the majority of the year.

Many census-related events scheduled for late March were canceled in Macomb and other communities. Bannon said the city is making greater use of social media to get out the word about the headcount. 

Rich is TSPR's News Director.