Aurora launching effort to promote 2020 census

Aurora officials are working to ensure the state's second-most populous city has the most accurate 2020 census results possible.

Work on the decennial census is scheduled to begin in March, officials said. An accurate count is "critically important," in part, because state and federal officials rely on population data to allocate money to counties and municipalities.

"We're determined here in Aurora to have the maximum participation in the 2020 census," Mayor Richard Irvin said this week.

Irvin was joined by members of the Aurora Complete Count Committee - including College of DuPage President Brian Caputo and Kane County Board member Angela Thomas - to talk about an effort to inform residents and encourage them to participate in the count.

Official results from the 2010 census put Aurora's population at 197,899.

"While the start of the census may seem a bit far off, there is much to do in order to prepare," said Caputo, who serves as chairman of the committee.

A campaign will begin next month that will include events, radio ads, billboards and the distribution of printed materials.

Thomas, the vice chairwoman of the committee, said 31 members of the panel will work through subcommittees "to make sure that we touch every neighborhood, every street and every individual in the city."

The committee already has received roughly $127,000 in grant money to fund the effort.

Thomas said one of its goals is to increase the city's self-response rate above the 77 percent it had during the 2010 census. Another goal is to motivate more residents among the city's hard-to-count populations, including immigrants and young adults, to respond.

"There are many hard-to-count populations," Thomas said. "We want to make sure we get as many of them to respond as possible."

Ultimately, the hope is to achieve 100 percent participation.

"We intend to make sure everyone is counted," Caputo said.

State Reps. Karina Villa and Barbara Hernandez talked about the importance of the census.

"We're here with a common purpose to ensure that the people of Illinois have a full and accurate count in the 2020 census," said Villa, a West Chicago Democrat. "Participation is our right and our responsibility."

In addition to helping decide how much state and federal money the area receives, census data will be used for congressional, state, legislative, county and local government representation as part of the reapportionment and redistricting process.

"We need to get everybody united - all our community members, friends, family - to make sure we are counted," said Hernandez, an Aurora Democrat. "If we don't count, then we will lose resources for our families and friends. And we definitely don't want that."

Hernandez and Villa said a census information tour will visit several local communities on Saturday. One of the stops will be from noon to 1 p.m. at La Quinta de los Reyes restaurant, 36 E. New York St., in Aurora.

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