Lansing prepares for Census 2020

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by Jennifer Pallay

LANSING, Ill. (November 6, 2019) – A tradition that started in the United States in 1790 and has continued every decade since will again take place next year. Lansing residents have the opportunity to participate in the 2020 United States Census starting April 1, 2020.

Lansing Village Clerk Vivian Payne serves as chair of Lansing’s Complete Count Committee, also known as the CCC. Lansing Public Library Director Debbie Albrecht is the leader of the group, which is an official outreach of the Census Bureau. The committee will work to encourage participation and provide information about the upcoming census. The committee’s members represent the Park Board, food pantry, current administration, senior population, Chamber of Commerce, school districts, Spanish-speaking population, faith communities, and more.

Volunteers from a variety of Lansing networks form the Complete Count Committee. Back row, from left: Ernst Lamothe, Veronica Reyes, Melanie Jongsma, Rick Pierce, Bert Rivera, Darvel Stinson, Miguel Gutierrez, Richard Podgorski, Mike Fish. Front row: Vivian Payne, Kim Morley, Karen Adams, Martha Vargas. Not pictured: Debbie Albrecht. (Photo: Cory Stevenson, Census Bureau)

“Several of the goals for the CCC are to educate the public about the importance of being counted, inform the public about the facts regarding privacy and confidentiality of census data, motivate community members to self-respond, and increase overall response rate in our community,” Payne said. Outreach efforts will include developing informative fact sheets and promotional materials to distribute at community events, as well as providing information to Lansing churches and schools and via the local cable channel, social media, local papers, inserts in water bills, and Looking at Lansing newsletter.

“Lansing’s CCC will serve as ‘trusted voices’ to act as census ambassadors in our community, and we are motivated to achieve the highest percentage of response rate this Village has ever had,” Payne said.

Lansing Journal Managing Editor Melanie Jongsma is also a CCC member.

“In our committee meetings I’ve learned how important it is for Lansing to get a complete count of the members of our community,” said Jongsma. “I’m also learning some of the fears and misunderstandings people have about the census. I’m hoping that as The Lansing Journal provides accurate information, people will see the value of participating in Census 2020.”

Jongsma believes knowing the facts can alleviate resident concerns about the census. One concern is “What happens to my information?”

“The Census Bureau and the federal government are two separate entities. Participating in the census does not provide your information to the government,” said Jongsma.

Another concern is “How long will it take?” Jongsma was surprised to learn the census is only 10 questions, and she believes more people will participate once they realize that it does not take long to complete.

“I think it’s exciting to be part of the 2020 Census. There are many times when I need to reference Lansing’s demographic information for articles I’m writing, for example, and I know the information is 10 years old, so it may not be accurate anymore. I’m excited to finally have access to more current information, and I’m excited to see how Lansing has grown and changed over the past 10 years.

“If you belong to a group that is underrepresented and misunderstood, it’s especially important for you to take the census. This applies not only to racial and cultural groups. If you are a church-goer, for example, make sure your voice is heard. If you are a senior citizen, you need to be counted. If you are low-income, take the census. Resources get allocated and programs get created based on the demographic information that is available—so make sure your demographics are represented.”

Examples of useful information made possible by census participation

[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

CENSUS QUICK FACTS

  • Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year and how many seats in Congress each state gets.
  • In 2010, Lansing’s participation in the census was 76 percent. The Complete Count Committee’s goal is to reach 95 percent in 2020.
  • The Census Bureau does not share information with the U.S. government.
  • The 2020 Census is only 10 questions.
  • Lansing loses $1,400 for every person who is not counted—and that amount is lost per person, per year until the next census in 2030.