City won't spend to promote census count

While the State of Illinois and City of Chicago are allocating substantial sums to promote a complete count in next year's U.S. Census, Evanston officials haven't budgeted any funds for that purpose.

The State of Illinois is allocating $20 million in what Gov. J.B. Pritzker says is an effort to counter attempts by the federal government to undercount immigrant families.

And Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says that city will spend $2.7 million -- or about one dollar per resident -- toward the same goal.

But Evanston's interim city manager, Erika Storlie, says she hasn't included any money toward assuring a complete census count in Evanston's proposed budget for next year.

No census tract in Evanston falls into what researchers have designated a hard to count area for the 2020 census -- that's one that had a mail-in response rate for the 2010 census of 73 percent or less.

But several Evanston census tracts had mail-in response rates in the 74 to 79 percent range last time, while other portions of the city, notably in northwest Evanston, had mail-in response rates at or near 90 percent.

For next year's census, many residents will be encouraged to respond online, which advocates fear could create additional response problems for residents who have limited or no internet access.

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