2020 Census efforts underway in 'hard to count' communities

Diane Pathieu Image
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
NAACP works to get South, West Side communities counted in 2020 Census
"We're out to educate block by block to make sure we get our number count up."

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There is a push to complete the 2020 census ahead of the September 30 deadline.

The census counts how many people are living in a certain community and can therefore determine federal funds for that city or neighborhood.

Maria Fitzsimmons with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights talks about why it is so important for historically undercounted communities to fill out the census.

Maria Fitzsimmons with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights joined ABC7 via Skype to discuss why historically undercounted communities should fill out the census.

Fitzsimmons highlighted the COVID-19 pandemic as a real-life example of how skipping the census can have a lasting impact on how resources are allocated.

"As we plan for our hospitals to be well-resourced, as we plan to make sure that we get the right amount of vaccine, etc., all that data comes from the Census Bureau," Fitzsimmons said. "If we have an undercount, that's going to affect us at least for the next 10 years, if not beyond."

Every 10 years, the Census gives communities the chance to receive the funding they need.

Phyllis Logan from the Chicago westside branch of the NAACP joined ABC7 via Skype to discuss the need to complete the census and some initiatives in support of the 2020 census.

Both the South Side and West Side areas have been identified as "hard to count" communities, Logan said.

"We're out to educate block-by-block to make sure we get our number count up," she said.

In Chicago, approximately 40% of households have yet to complete their census forms.

ABC 7 Chicago will partner with the Illinois State Census Office, Chicago Urban League, Chinese American Service League, Instituto del Progreso Latino, Chicago Westside Branch NAACP, Counting on Chicago Coalition and Center on Halsted among others, to heighten census awareness, answer questions and help residents complete the 2020 Census form before the September 30 deadline.

The virtual phone bank is scheduled for Wednesday, September 9 from 4:00 - 6:30 PM. Volunteers will take calls at 1-844-432-9832. ABC 7 Eyewitness News will feature a series of reports on the importance of being counted throughout the afternoon and evening newscasts on September 9th.