Resolution SP-R-0189-19 passed the DuPage County Strategic Planning Committee and the County Board on May 14, 2019 with broad bipartisan support. The resolution formally created the DuPage Complete Count Committee and has been posted on the DuPage Census webpage. The resolution directs the Committee to work with representatives of the Census Bureau, State and local Complete Count Committees, and others “to ensure a timely and comprehensive outreach plan to educate DuPage County residents as to the importance of a complete and accurate 2020 Census count.” It further resolves the Committee to strategically focus on addressing hard to count areas of the County, work collaboratively to make recommendations on ways to increase community awareness and participation of the Census, establish relationships with groups conducting Census outreach, and compile a report and present to the County Board detailing the Committee’s efforts including the results of the 2020 Census. These efforts will also aid the County in ten years when the 2030 Decennial Census is being rolled-out.
As of August 2019, the Census Bureau has asked the DuPage Complete Count Committee to focus on two main objectives for the remainder of the year. First, is to promote through our channels the availability and hiring capacity of Census Bureau employment. The Census Bureau is hiring for various job titles. Those interested are encouraged to apply online at 2020census.gov/jobs or call 1-855-JOB-2020 for more information. The second objective is to create a calendar of events such as National Night Out, back-to-school fairs, festivals, and other events in the community where the Census Bureau can assist in grassroots outreach and education. The Complete Count Committee is considering different strategies offered by the Census Bureau to engage, educate, and promote awareness through the community. These include:
- Develop a list of barriers, groups, or concerns that might impede the progress of the 2020 Census in the local area, such as recent immigrants, non-English speaking groups, high crime areas, and areas with gated communities.
- Create ways to dispel myths and alleviate fears about the privacy and confidentiality of census data.
- Place census messaging on water bills, property tax bills, social media, and local speeches and other correspondence generated by the jurisdiction.
- Host a Census Solutions Workshop with others in the community to come up with innovative and engaging ways to reach populations.
- Develop and implement activities to involve local government employees in the 2020 Census Awareness Campaign.
- Encourage corporations to become official sponsors of ongoing census activities.
- Have census posters, banners, and other signage placed in highly visible public locations.
- Include the 2020 Census logo and message on bus schedules, brochures, newsletters, social media sites, and on the local jurisdiction website.
- Sponsor a census booth at county fairs, carnivals, and festivals (especially cultural or ethnic celebrations).
- Sponsor a contest to design a sticker or poster promoting the 2020 Census.
- Have census information available during voter registration drives.
- Make a list of community-based organizations in the area. Hold a meeting with leaders of the organizations and solicit help in creating a census awareness campaign targeted to community members.
- Check the community calendar in the area for events. Contact organizations to see if there can be a census table to pass out census materials to increase awareness.
- Ask organizations to include a Census article or message in all of their publications and social media channels through June 2020.
- Plan a Census Day event to motivate the community response.
As previously noted, special focus must be dedicated to targeting messaging and awareness to those in “hard to count” areas or demographics. If residents are not counted fairly and accurately, they will be deprived of equal political representation and vital public and private resources. According to the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), the following indicates those people who may be considered hard to count. Additionally, those Census tracts where the self-response rate in the 2010 Decennial Census was 73% or less is considered a hard to count Census tract.
- Racial and ethnic minorities (African American, Arab American, Asian American, Hispanic or Latino)
- Children younger than 5 years old
- Foreign-born individuals
- People living close to or below the poverty line
- People experiencing homelessness
- People who are young and mobile
- People with disabilities (including Deaf and Hard of Hearing)
- Undocumented immigrants
- Older adults
- People who distrust the government
- People with limited English proficiency
According to data from the Illinois DHS, DuPage County potentially had 165,046 people not counted in the 2010 Census, and the potential loss of revenue per year since 2010 due to low participation is believed to be $297,082. It is estimated that there would be a loss of roughly $1,500 per person per year in each County in Illinois for each person not counted. Similarly, from data extrapolated from the Census Bureau, DuPage County had 7 Census tracts with a self-response rate of less than 73% in 2010. Additionally, the Community Services Department 2018 Community Needs Assessment report, prepared by Impact DuPage, shows DuPage is seeing higher rates of poverty.