We are all familiar with the notion that those who don’t vote should not complain.
The same concept should also apply to those who didn’t bother to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census form. Because of their lack of participation, the rest of us who live in this region could have plenty to complain about in the coming years.
The results from this once-a-decade national headcount are starting to emerge, and what has been seen so far is disappointing. Senior reporter Lee Provost shared the available data with readers in the most recent Weekend Edition of the Daily Journal.
While some geographical pockets saw greater participation when compared to 2010, the rate dropped overall in a number of key categories.
The first would be the state itself. In 2010, 76 percent of Illinoisans filled out the form. This time, the rate dropped to 71.4 percent.
In Kankakee County, the number declined less, from 71.4 percent in 2010 to 70.9 percent in 2020. The slight drop was fueled by three individual communities which saw less than two-thirds of their projected residents participate. That includes the city of Kankakee, where despite an active public relations campaign, only 58.5 percent of the forms were returned, compared to 64.6 percent in 2010.
What does it all mean? First of all, it’s not completely surprising, because the state has lost population in a real manner for the last several years as many residents have left Illinois for warmer climes where the tax burden is less.
There’s also a chance the federal government could rely on Census data less when determining where the money will flow because of the COVID-19 pandemic which undoubtedly played a role in the undercount.
But don’t hold your breath. The government uses Census data to make decisions on where to direct billions for schools, hospitals, public works and other capital items. Thus Kankakee County and some other parts of the region shouldn’t count on much.
So the next time you are driving down a rough road, avoid the temptation to complain if you didn’t send in a Census form. You should also make a mental note to participate in 2030.