Black wards now second highest in city in U.S. Census response

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By Crusader Staff Report

Chicago’s predominately Black wards now have the second highest U.S. response rate among the city’s 50 wards, according to the latest ward reports on the city’s website.

As of June 22, some 191,405 Black households in Chicago have submitted their U.S. Census counts. That is a response rate of 49.7 percent of 385,861 Black households in Chicago. There are 18 Black wards among Chicago’s 50 wards.

The percentage is an improvement from May when Blacks wards were third behind the city’s 18 white wards and 14 Latino wards. Now, Latino wards are in third with 49.3 percent of 257,193 Latino households submitting their Census counts. The city’s white wards continue to have the highest response rate where 59.9 percent of 528,148 households have submitted their Census counts.

Overall, the response rate of the city’s 50 wards improved to 54.2 percent. About 634,872 households out of nearly 1.2 million households have submitted their Census reports.

As of June 22, the predominately Black 18th ward, which covers Ashburn and parts of Auburn Gresham and Marquette Park, continues to lead the entire city with a response rate of 66.9 percent.

Some 12,444 out of 18,597 households in the 18th ward have submitted their ward reports as of June 22.

The city provides ward reports on a weekly basis to show the progress of each ward in the U.S. Census count. Early Monday morning, no ward reports for the week of June 29 were available online.

Black aldermen in recent weeks have set up booths at food giveaway locations to boost awareness and participation in the U.S. Census. Many remain concerned that the 2020 Census will be a repeat of the 2010 Census where thousands of Black and minority residents in hard-to-count areas were not included in the final tally.

With the coronavirus pandemic, concerns of another possible undercount have grown.

There is also concern over the impact Chicago’s declining population will have on the city’s ability to get enough federal funding.

Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in 2010 only two-thirds or 66 percent of Chicagoans participated in the Census. For this year’s U.S. Census count, Mayor Lightfoot has set a goal of 75 percent participation to ensure every Chicagoan is counted.

Held every 10 years, the U.S. Census determines the number of political seats in the U.S. House and the amount of funding for schools, roads and infrastructure projects. The data is used to determine how hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds are allocated to the nation’s communities over the next 10 years. Medicaid, Head Start, SNAP, Section 8, Title I and Special Education Grants are examples of how this funding is spent.

Leaders predict a decline in federal funding could result in a $1 billion loss over the next decade. Governor JB Pritzker said at a press conference April 1 that the state risks losing $195 million per year for each 1 percent of the undercounted population

Chicago stands to lose $1,400 each year for every resident missed in 2020, with other adverse implications in redistricting.

This startling fact led congressional members like Robin Kelly, whose district includes parts of south suburban Chicago, to previously hold townhall meetings in the time leading up to the once-in-a-decade count—this was before the Coronavirus made social distancing necessary.

Closer to home, an accurate count is vital for Chicago as it determines whether the city receives an appropriate level of representation in Congress, as well as the funding that is instrumental in maintaining infrastructure, public safety, public health, and other city services.

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