Census 2020 Update

July 1, 2019

Citizenship Question: By now those of you who are following news about the census already know, on June 27 the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Commerce's rationale for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census was insufficient, and so for now, the question will come off the Census forms. The Supreme Court did not rule that there could never be a citizenship question on the Census; however, given the tight timing at this point it is unlikely the question could be added for 2020. This is important to Illinois, and Illinois libraries, because our state is already in danger of losing at least one Congressional seat due to population loss; we need absolutely every head counted to avoid losing two, and the proportional amount of federal funding based on census counts. The addition of a question about citizenship status had the potential to suppress the count among immigrant communities, of which there are many in Illinois.

Illinois State Funding Opportunity: You may recall hearing in recent reports about the Illinois state budget that $29 million has been appropriated to the Illinois Department of Human Services for Census outreach efforts. The IDHS's work is in addition and complementary to the work being done by the Complete Count Commission, which is housed in the Secretary of State's Office. A Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is slated to be published by the IDHS by July 31, and libraries will be eligible to apply for funds to assist in implementing the Census count. We don't yet know any terms or criteria; they are currently in development, and there is an opportunity to let IDHS know what would be important. Libraries potentially interested in the funding opportunity are encouraged to fill out the IDHS survey, which is open until July 5. We are going to be key in ensuring a complete count in all of our communities, so it is good news that we may have some state support in doing so. 

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