Chicago 2020 census response rate at 55%, lower in some areas

About 55% of Chicago residents have filled out the U.S. census, officials said Monday as the mayor of the country’s third-largest city urged more people to participate.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said some neighborhoods on the city’s West and South sides have seen response rates lower than 40%. Lightfoot warned that could mean those areas get shorted on needed federal resources toward infrastructure, schools, parks and other purposes.

The Census Bureau said in early July that 61.8% of U.S. households had answered either online or by mailing back a form. The city’s overall response rate also lags behind progress in Cook County and statewide.

The coronavirus has complicated efforts across the country to encourage participation, and the Census Bureau decided to delay the end of the count from the end of July to the end of October.

Lightfoot said community groups in Chicago are working to catch up, particularly before August when census workers are expected to begin going door-to-door to reach people who have not yet responded.

“We need everyone to step up,” Lightfoot said. “Five minutes of time, that’s all we need, and we can change this thing entirely around.”

The census is conducted every ten years to help determine how many congressional seats each state gets and the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending.