Why is the 2020 Census a big deal?
Well, for one thing it dates back more than 200 years.
The first U. S. Census was organized by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson.
Both he and President Washington worried that the population was undercounted at less than four million souls (Native Americans were not included). And after spending more than $40,000 on it!
The President blamed (in part), "The fears of others that it was intended as the foundation of a tax.”
Taking a census of the population is a very old idea.
The first recorded "people count" was four thousand years ago, in Egypt.
The Pharoah wished to know how much tax income he could expect from his people, and how many Middle Kingdom residents were fit for military service.
The Romans liked the concept too, and carried out multiple counts of the far-flung Roman Empire, sending Romans to Africa, Europe, Greece, and so on.
They were also after complete tax collection, so President Washington's nervous constituency may have had a point.
Now it is 2020, and the word CENSUS is everywhere again.
Getting an accurate count is important because it means getting our fair share of Federal money returned to our community!
For example, every year the library applies for a grant based on the Des Plaines population. In 2019 that was about $1.25 per person - $72,955.
You can see why we want every baby and grandparent to be counted!
Federal dollars based on population are spent on health care, schools, social services for needy families, roads and other critical infrastructure.
The library has been gearing up for the April 1 census since last July.
Visit DPPL's census page - dppl.org/2020census - to learn all you need to know about taking the 2020 census.
We’ve hosted multiple awareness programs for the public, hiring sessions for Census workers (and they’re still hiring), and had a Census staffer sitting in the library lobby most days to answer customer questions.
We’ve reached at least 800 people so far!
Working with the City of Des Plaines, the Chamber of Commerce, and other community organizations, we have reached out to people all over Des Plaines.
The City is running announcements on local cable, on their electronic sign at Miner and River Road, and in resident’s water bills.
Our elected representatives are on board too, and the offices of Senator Murphy, Representative Moylan, and Congresswoman Schakowsky are co-sponsoring events to share information and dispel rumors.
The census data collected will NOT be shared with your landlord, your boss, or the police.
This is the first U. S. Census to be available online, and the library is here to help if you or one of your neighbors doesn’t have internet access.
DPPL offers dedicated census information and assistance stations on the 2nd and 4th floors of the library.
Are you more comfortable in a language other than English?
The actual form is available in 14 languages, and there will be videos and guides to completing the form in 59 languages.
The library even has some cute books for kids about the Census!
The Census results will help every local organization provide resources that really fit our community; babies, students, families, and retirees.
We will know our neighbors just a little bit better, and we will continue to celebrate the diversity that makes Des Plaines so special.
We all count!