Cook County hosts Press Conference on National Census Day April 1

As residents shelter in place for COVID-19, completing census remains essential to accurately fund health and safety

CHICAGO — Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle was joined by Marilyn Sanders, Regional Director Chicago Region, U.S. Census Bureau grantee organizations doing grassroots outreach to County residents and the William Everett Group, the County Census program administrator to discuss the importance of filling out the census in the midst of the COVID-19 health crisis.

As Cook County works to provide essential services during the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, the Complete Count Census Commission remains focused on ensuring that the importance of completing the 2020 Census stays top of mind. 

“While we remain extremely sensitive to the challenges residents are facing in light of COVID-19, we are also acutely aware that securing an accurate census count is integral to properly funding a host of services that impact our daily lives, notably public health and safety,” said President Preckwinkle. “It’s difficult to predict what will happen next year, next month or even next week, because this crisis has narrowed our focus to such a degree, but we can’t lose sight of the impact the Census will have for the next decade and even the decades to come.” 

What is at stake is funding for the county over the next 10 years, with each Cook County resident representing $1,400 in funding for essential county services, $14,000 over a decade. As of today, more than 32% of the County’s residents have completed the census. For updates on the County’s response rate visit https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates.html, enter Illinois, and then Cook County.

This year marks the first year that the census can be completed online, via computer, smartphone, or mobile device with internet access. Depending on the size of your family completing the census can take as little as 10 minutes. As always, the census form can be completed and mailed in, and if you prefer, you may reach the U.S. Census Bureau via phone. Phone assistance is available seven days a week from 7:00 am to 2:00 am ET at 844-330-2020. Assistance is also available in Spanish, Mandarin Cantonese, Polish and 11 other languages.   

The week of March 30 through April 3 has been designated CENSUS AWARENESS WEEK by Cook County. The Commission’s Program Administrator, The William Everett Group, and the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, have been leading a coordinated campaign to engage Cook County residents in the leadup to April 1. Outreach includes messaging via all of the County’s social media sites and via radio, television, billboards and mobile messaging. Additionally, grantee organizations have been adjusting their outreach to hard-to-count populations to include an increased digital presence and reach their communities creatively, such as through mobile billboards, messages on grocery bags and phone banking. 

Since last year the County has had a special emphasis on hard-to-count populations which include those living in underserved communities, those with language barriers, seniors and those under the age of five, the homeless, returning residents, LGBTQ+ and those with a distrust of government. Communities were deemed hard to count because their response rate to the 2010 census was less than 72%.

Cook County residents are encouraged to complete the census now by visiting my2020census.gov.

For more information visit cookcountyil.gov/census.