Chicago’s Black wards lagging in census count response

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18th Ward ranked number with highest response rate among 50 wards

The Crusader Staff Report

Chicago’s predominately Black wards are lagging behind Latino and white wards in submitting their U.S. Census forms, according to data from the city’s census ward reports.

But the predominately Black 18th Ward is ranked first for having the highest response rate among Chicago’s 50 wards, according to a May 18 ward report on the city’s U.S. Census website.

As of May 18, 186,523 out of 386,861 households in the city’s 18 Black wards had submitted their U.S Census counts forms, city data show. Together, the 18 Black wards had a response rate of 47.69 percent, according to calculations by the Crusader.

Black wards trail closely in third behind the city’s 14 Latino wards, which had a 47.7 percent response rate. Chicago’s 18 predominately white wards had the highest response rate, with 58.45 percent or 307,722 out of 528,149 households submitting their census counts as of May 18.

Overall, the response rate for all 50 Chicago wards was 52.45 percent. Some 614,932 households out of 1,172,202 had submitted their census count forms by May 18.

The 18th Ward, which includes Ashburn and parts of Auburn Gresham and Marquette Park, was number one with the highest response rate at 64.2 percent. Approximately 12,066 households out of 18,597 had submitted their census counts by May 18. No updated reports were available by early Tuesday morning, May 26.

Overall, the ward that was last with the lowest response rate was the predominately Latino 15th Ward, which had a response rate of 34.7 percent. The predominately Black 16th Ward was the second lowest of all the 50 wards with a response rate of 35.5 percent as of May 18. City data show only 5,511 households out of 15,286 submitted their U.S. Census counts.

The 16th Ward includes parts of Gage Park, Englewood, West Englewood and Chicago Lawn. City data show that among the 18 Black wards, it had the lowest response rate. The 24th Ward was the second lowest among the Black wards with a response rate of 36.6. Percent.

A Crusader analysis of 20 years of voting data last March the Democratic Primary in March showed that the 16th Ward consistently ranked last among the Black wards in voter turn- out.

The overall average response rate for the city’s 50 wards was 52.9 percent. City data show that out of the 18 Black wards, 15 had census response rates that were lower than the city average.

However, city data showed that seven Black wards were near the city average with a response rate of over 50 percent. They include the 4th, 7th, 9th, 18th, 21st, 29th and 34th wards.

The 18th, 21st and 34th wards were the only Black wards to score higher than the city average.

The 34th Ward, which includes Morgan Park, Roseland, Washington Heights and West Pullman, was the second highest among the Black wards, with a response rate of 56 percent. Approximately 9,416 households out of 16,918 in the 34th ward submitted their census counts as of May 18.

The 21st Ward, which includes parts of Auburn Gresham, Chatham, Roseland and Washington Heights, was third among the Black wards with a response rate of 54.8 percent. City data show 10,729 households out of 19,471 households there submitted their census counts forms by May 18.

Nationally, about half of the nation’s households have submitted their census counts, according to the 2020 U.S. Census website. The census count officially began April 1, but questionnaire began arriving in mailboxes in March.

The 2020 census had been scheduled to stop at the end of July, but the deadline to submit household counts has now been extended to mid-August because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Black leaders in Chicago were concerned that the 2020 Census would 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 of the impact Chicago’s declining population will have on the city’s ability to get enough federal funding.

The census count is important for cities to receive adequate federal fund- ing for schools, housing and infrastructure costs.

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.

The census is also important for determining the number of political districts states will have represented in the U.S. Congress.

Residents can submit their counts by mail, online or by phone. To submit census by mail and for more information on the U.S. Census, go to my2020census.gov.

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