Officials said a 1 percent undercount is equal to $195 million lost to Illinois and local communities.

Well then, it appears that we here in Illinois have some work to do, and fast. With less than 10 days until the census deadline, Illinois' self-response rate is about 70%, while Chicago is lagging seriously behind with only 59%.

If you don't have the time, put another family member to work on it, if you can. We tasked my son with getting his grandmother's census put together for her, and after doing a fine job, we rewarded him with doing our family's, too.

That'll teach him to be helpful.

Seriously though, he spent roughly 45 minutes in total doing both Grandma's and ours, so if you've been dreading spending a ton of time on the census, it'll be a lot easier than you may have anticipated.

Governor JB Pritzker:

Many people don’t understand how important the census is. We are in the middle of a count crisis. It determines how much representation you get at all levels of government so show up. Filling out the census is as important as any protest. The census brings another measure of justice, stand up and be counted.


U.S. Census, Facebook
U.S. Census, Facebook

I did a little digging on the Census, and how it's changed over the years. For example:

  • New York has always been the largest U.S. city. The 1790 census documented 33,131 people in the Big Apple, which put it just ahead of Philadelphia as the most populous U.S. city. It has retained the top spot in all 22 censuses since, growing from a population of about 60,000 in 1800 to 515,000 in 1850 and then to 3.4 million in 1900 (two years after the five boroughs merged to form its present-day boundaries). As of the last census in 2010, New York City had nearly 8.2 million people, more than Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia (the second, third and fifth most populous cities) combined.
  • The largest state, on the other hand, occasionally changes. Virginia started out as the most populous U.S. state—back when there were only 13 of them—with a 1790 population of around 700,000. New York then claimed the top spot in 1810 and remained there until being overtaken by California in 1970. As of 2010, the Golden State had 37.3 million residents, more than the 21 least populous states combined.
  • Some Founding Fathers doubted the census’ accuracy. The first census turned up only 3.9 million (non-Indian) Americans, including nearly 700,000 slaves, a result that President George Washington, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and other high-ranking government officials dismissed as an undercount. “Our real numbers will exceed, greatly, the official returns of them,” wrote Washington, who put the blame on negligent census takers, as well as “the religious scruples of some and the fears of others that it was intended as the foundation of a tax.” With so few people in the United States, he purportedly worried about looking weak in the eyes of the European powers.


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