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What does the Census have to do with elected officials?

Our Government Affairs team shares:

The answer is a fancy word called apportionment. Apportionment is how the country decides the number of representatives each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives based on state population numbers. (Learn more about Congressional districts here)

Illinois has lost one Congressional seat every ten years since the 1930’s. Officials are already predicting Illinois will again lose one Congressional seat, moving from 18 Congressional districts to 17 Congressional Districts. A congressional district must have roughly 710,000 residents. Without an accurate Census count, we are at risk of losing an additional district; this also weakens our strength in future presidential elections.

Apportionment will also mean Illinois will have to redraw its legislative district boundaries. Census results are used to redraw electoral districts, based on where populations have increased or decreased. The number of elected officials in Congress, Springfield, and serving your County, City and School Board can change as well as the community areas they represent.

So What?

A full census count means you have all the voices possible fighting for you and your community when the government decides who gets what out of the government’s resources. Plus, the way legislative districts are drawn has a big impact on both voters and lawmakers. It can influence who wins elections, how political power is distributed, which communities are represented, and, ultimately, which laws are passed.

Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions. Census results will show where communities need new schools, new health clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children.

The census serves as a uniquely comprehensive data source. Its accuracy affects not only political representation, but whether adequate funding is disbursed where it’s needed the most. The results will also inform who gets hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding through more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.

During this difficult time of fighting Covid-19, it is critical that we have as many people as we can fighting for our fair share of the government’s resources. Even after the crisis, communities that are undercounted will be short-changed over many years when resources are divided. These communities will have to come from behind for the next ten years without a strong census count and the resources it needs.

A full census count can help protect our families, friends, and neighbors and communities. Make sure you and your community get the resources you deserve! Complete your census today at www.my2020census.gov.

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