As we eagerly await a decrease in the statistics that track the spread of the coronavirus, we also must anticipate an increase in the data which tracks participation in the 2020 U.S. Census.

A Capitol News Illinois story, which appeared in the Daily Journal Monday, described how while Illinois has a good participation rate when compared to other states, outreach efforts to identify the remaining uncounted has been complicated by the pandemic.

A chart accompanying the story showed the most recent rates of local participation. It included the overall Illinois rate of 64.5 percent, which is slightly less than the overall Kankakee County count (65.3 percent) and a bit above the overall Iroquois County rate (60.8 percent).

While Manteno topped the area with 76.4 percent participation (Bourbonnais was close behind at 74.3 percent), other communities lagged behind. Among them is Kankakee, where a 51.9 percent return rate will hopefully be bolstered through the help of a $10,000 grant the city recently received to improve the number.

Then there is Hopkins Park, where the count stood at 39.3 percent. In previous months, this space has been used to emphasize the importance of obtaining a more accurate count to lift an under-served community striving to establish natural gas service.

The Capitol News Illinois story said each person not counted amounts to a loss of $1,500 in federal funding per year. It’s not possible to do the exact math now, but it is fair to say the region and state stands to lose many millions which provide local health resources and other federal funding. Additionally, it could mean a loss of up to two seats in the U.S. Congress.

So regardless of your zip code, if you haven’t responded to the Census, do it promptly. Mail back the form if you have it, call 844-330-2020 or visit my2020census.gov.

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