ROCKFORD (WREX) — The deadline to fill our your 2020 census survey is quickly approaching and the city of Rockford is falling behind.
"Winnebago county alone in the last decade has lost nearly $900 million in potential federal funding because, 'well, your population doesn't show this, so you don't get allocated the money,' and that's real dollars that impact people," says Wester Wuori, City of Rockford Chief of Staff.
In Rockford, the 2020 Census self response rate is currently 67%, which is lower than the county's total response rate, the state's response rate and the 2010 Census response rate at this same time period.
For every person who isn't counted, Rockford will lose about $1,500 in federal funding per person per year.
"For those of you who have responded, thank you," says Jeanine Beasley, Media Coordinator for the U.S. Census Bureau Chicago Region, "but please tell your friends and neighbors to be counted."
Ivy Hood with Region 1 Planning Council has spear headed several initiatives through out the stateline, pushing for participation in the Census from all.
She says this year has been difficult, but that doesn't mean communities can't still get an accurate count.
"There is a lot going on to distract us from the importance of the census," says Hood, "but if you're dissatisfied with your local, state or federal government in any way, the Census is your opportunity to tell them, 'Hey, I live here in this community, and I count.'"
Census leaders are now ramping up the work to make sure you do count. The last day to respond is September 30, and in this final stretch, census takers are knocking on doors of households that have not filled out the survey.
If you haven't submitted your response, Rockford leaders say to be on the look out when you open up your mail box; they're upping outreach for the survey to reach areas of the community with the lowest response rates.
"We're doing another direct mail that will go just to those tracks," says Wuori, "and we're doing geo-fenced social media in those areas. So if you open up your Facebook in that area you might see an ad that says, 'Hey, fill out your Census.'"
Wuori says to take the time, fill out that census form and help have a major impact on the community.
"You might not use some services, but your neighbor or your co-worker probably does. The census doesn't just impact you, it affects everyone in the community, and this if you chance to help improve it," says Wuori.