Local leaders make final push for Census completion ahead of deadline

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — It’s crunch time for local residents to fill our their 2020 census forms.

The deadline for the 2020 census is Sept. 30. State and local lawmakers said everyone has to be counted, as the results affect us for the next decade.

“There are many things that are connected to the population counts that you have in your community,” said Director of Planning and Community Development for East Peoria Ty Livingston.

The final tally impacts local services and determines federal funding and representation.

“There’s talk that we in our area in Illinois could lose one congressional seat, one representative, if not possibly two if our numbers aren’t strong as far as population base goes,” says State Rep. Dan Brady.

Illinois ranks seventh in self response rates at around 70 percent.

“One of the things that we face is making sure that everybody understands that they actually count. And that through them filling out the census it’s probably, besides voting, the biggest thing they can do for their community,” said Peoria City Council Member Sid Ruckriegel.

Peoria county is at 70 percent, while Tazewell County is at 76 percent. McLean County is at 72 percent. Still, leaders say it’s not enough.

“It’s important and vital that we really get a full and complete count, and get that up to 100 percent,” said Ruckriegel.

Organizers said despite easier access to fill out the census, the pandemic has thrown a wrench in collecting data.

“The easiest it’s ever been, but it’s also probably the most challenging census that I can recall,” said Livingston.

With a few weeks left, there’s a push to get more responses.

“We want as much representation, we want as much federal assistance as we can for everything from education to healthcare,” said Brady.

The census can be completed online and all information is confidential.

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