Self-response to the 2020 U.S. Census varied among area residents in cities, towns, villages and counties in the Daily Journal coverage area, according to U.S. Census data.
In rates measured from responses through May 31, Herscher’s 82.9% self-response rate led all area cities and towns, followed by Manteno at 77.3% and Beecher at 77.2%.
Will County has the best self-response rate among area counties at 73% with 64% via the internet. It compares to its total self-response rate of 76.9% in 2010. Kankakee County has a 66.1% rate (51.8% via internet) and was at 71.4% in 2010. Iroquois County is at 61.5% (45.1% via internet) and was at 72% in 2010.
Other self-response rates in the county were Bourbonnais at 74.9%, Bonfield 72.7%, Bradley 71.7%, Momence 67.1%, St. Anne 62.6%, Aroma Park 61.5%, Sun River Terrace 59.9% and Kankakee at 52.9%.
“The cities would like to see a bigger push for a response,” said Tim Nugent, president and CEO of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County and mayor of Manteno. “It would be good if we could get better compliance across the board.”
Nugent said he’s been monitoring the results on a daily basis, and he said the libraries being closed and lack of broadband internet to outlying areas hasn’t helped some people being able to respond to the census.
For the first time, residents can respond online, by phone as well as by mail. The change is due to new technology that’s been implemented to make it easier than ever to respond to the census, according to 2020Census.gov.
“The whole COVID thing has put a damper on it,” Nugent said. “That might be part of the reason. A lot of people use the library for internet access. I’m hoping we’ll see an uptick in response when businesses and libraries open up a bit.”
In Will County, Peotone has a 66.8% self-response rate and Wilmington 64.4%.
Among Iroquois County municipalities, Watseka is at 59%, Clifton 76.9%, Thawville 54.9% and Beaverville 57.7%.
Among other area counties, Ford has a 66.6% self-response rate (51.6% via internet) and was at 75.2% in 2010. Grundy County is at 71.2% with Coal City leading the way at 74.9%. Livingston County has a 69.4% (42.2% via internet) and was at 75.5% in 2010.
The self-response rate so far for Illinois is at 65.5% compared to 60.5% nationally.
Residents can still respond to the census by visiting 2020Census.gov. Census takers in June and July might go door-to-door to count people who have not responded to the 2020 Census.
According to the Census Bureau, the census provides vital information to residents and their communities. It determines how many representatives each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives and is used to redraw district boundaries.
Communities rely on census statistics to plan for a number of resident needs, including new roads, schools and emergency services. Also, businesses use census data to determine where to locate.
“This is important because it determines the amount of money we receive from the state and federal governments for the next 10 years,” Nugent said. “If people don’t respond, they’re not doing their communities any good. They’re actually hurting their communities.”