Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Illinois returns most census forms

By Jamey Dunn

Almost two thirds of Illinois residents returned the 2010 U.S. census forms they received in the mail.

“We are off to a good start. Seventy-three percent is a good start, but we have a long way to go,” Gov. Pat Quinn said. The national response rate is 71 percent.

Census workers will visit households of people who failed to mail back their forms before the April 16 deadline. Gov. Quinn encouraged citizens to respond to the surveys those workers will be conducting.

“We wish and hope that everyone in Illinois will be cooperative and helpful because this is a very important financial issue for the people of our state. For folks who depend on education funding, and health care funding, human service funding and public safety funding, all the important things in life. We want to make sure that Illinois has an accurate count of everyone who lives here,” he said.

The federal government uses information gathered in the census, which is required in the U.S. Constitution, to dole out more than $400 billion in funds to state and local governments. The count also determines how many seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives. Illinois lost a seat after the 2000 census and is in danger of losing another after this one. Individual information collected by census workers is confidential for 72 years, after which it can be publicly released.

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