2020 Census | St. Louis Public Radio

2020 Census

The census will only ask if respondents are 'male' or 'female.' That leaves out a growing number of people who identify outside of that gender binary.
Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

BELLEVILLE — The U.S. Census Bureau will extend the deadline for when people can respond to the census by three months. The revised schedule was pushed back last month because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to an updated schedule provided by the bureau. 

Nearly every aspect of how the census counts people living in the U.S. is impacted by this extension. The self-response window and in-person follow ups for households that do not respond will now wrap up at the end of October instead of July.

The extension presents both challenges and opportunities for Illinois, which has relied on local community organizations across the state to promote census engagement with state funded grants, through local in-person outreach, physical and social media advertising and events. 

The center of SIUE's campus without any students on March 30. The university asked all students move out of the dorms on March 21.
Eric Schmid | St Louis Public Radio

EDWARDSVILLE — College students should respond to the 2020 census as if they were still living on campus or in their off-campus apartment, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The coronavirus outbreak has added confusion to this question because most college students are now back at home, finishing their semesters online. 

The decennial headcount tracks where people in the U.S. live and sleep most of the time. 

A sign in Belleville encouraging residents to respond to the census on March 24, 2020. The coronavirus has upended much of the local census outreach efforts. 03 24 2020
Eric Schmid | St Louis Public Radio

BELLEVILLE — The actions Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker took to curb the spread of the coronavirus are having an impact on local organizations trying to ensure accurate census counts in the Metro East.

The orders to close schools and stay at home came at the height of many local outreach efforts only weeks before census day on April 1. 

The census will only ask if respondents are 'male' or 'female.' That leaves out a growing number of people who identify outside of that gender binary.
Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

Local organizations and governments have worked to avoid an undercount in their communities in the months leading up to the 2020 census. The U.S. Census Bureau started collecting responses to this year's headcount en masse, sending individual letters requesting a response to the headcount homes across on March 12. The survey, which happens once every decade in the U.S., collects the most comprehensive data about the demographic makeup of the country. 

One small but vulnerable population in the U.S. won’t be counted in the survey this time around, however. That’s because of how the question that asks about people’s sex appears on the form. The 2020 headcount only asks if people are “male” or “female.”

The census will only ask if respondents are 'male' or 'female.' That leaves out a growing number of people who identify outside of that gender binary.
Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

State and local organizations have been ramping up efforts for months to make sure all Missourians are aware of the census. 

From the fliers in mailboxes to the countless ads on social media, TV, radio and billboards, the state is working to explain what the census is and why it’s important. But on a recent day outside St. Louis City Hall, it’s clear the message hasn’t been heard by everyone.

"I kind of don't know what it is,” Rachel Baltazar said. “Like, I have an idea that it's something with knowing where everybody is or where they are. But I don't know the exact details."

The U.S. Census Bureau identifies places that it expects will be hard-to-count ahead of each survey. In the 2020 count, all of those locations in the Metro East are in or around East St. Louis.
U.S. Census Bureau

Updated at 11:50 a.m. on March 12 with information about census letters

Most of the country will get letters from the U.S. Census Bureau starting March 12. 

The letters ask for households to respond to the census, which happens every 10 years and is mandated by the Constitution. It counts the total number of people in the country and where they currently live on April 1. 

Census workers in the field will have clear identification showing they work for the U.S. Department of Commerce.
U.S. Census Bureau

The St. Louis-area census office needs several hundred more people to apply to be census takers. The local office wants at least 13,000 applicants, and it has reached around 90% of that target, said Linda Gladden, a media specialist with the bureau.

The St. Louis office is responsible for counts in the city as well as St. Louis, St. Charles and Jefferson counties.

The available positions are for part-time census takers — the people who will go to homes that don’t submit an initial response online, by mail or by phone. The census bureau tries to place workers in neighborhoods where they live or that they know well, Gladden said.

Other regional offices in Kansas City, Springfield, Missouri, and Springfield, Illinois, have also hired the majority of the enumerators they need, Gladden said.

The census will only ask if respondents are 'male' or 'female.' That leaves out a growing number of people who identify outside of that gender binary.
Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

BELLEVILLE — The success of the 2020 census will largely depend on people answering the survey themselves, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That way, the bureau can dedicate fewer resources to finding and counting people.

Bureau officials have identified a number of factors that result in low self-response rates. These include areas with more minority residents, low-income households, frequent movers, renters and many other factors.

The census will only ask if respondents are 'male' or 'female.' That leaves out a growing number of people who identify outside of that gender binary.
Nat Thomas | St. Louis Public Radio

BELLEVILLE — Communities across the Metro East are ramping up their efforts to get an accurate count when the U.S. Census Bureau begins collecting responses in less than two months. 

The once-a-decade headcount determines congressional representation and how billions of dollars in federal and state funding is distributed. Locally, critical revenue for cities and some communities' home rule status are at stake.

East Main Street in Belleville. The city has created a committee to ensure a complete count of its residents in the 2020 census.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

BELLEVILLE — The city government has established a 22-person “Complete Count Committee” to increase the likelihood of an accurate headcount in the 2020 census.

The group isn’t formally affiliated with the official headcount, but it will work to engage and educate Belleville residents about the census and how to get counted, said Jennifer Ferguson, one of the 2020 census coordinators for the city.

A U.S. Census Bureau representative goes door-to-door to conduct a non-response follow up. 11/22/19
U.S. Census Bureau

Some rural Missourians say they don’t want to participate in the upcoming census because they don’t have time, they don’t trust the government or they’re worried about privacy, according to a report from the Missouri Foundation for Health.

The foundation is trying to increase rural participation, explaining that Missouri could lose nearly $1,300 in federal funding for each person who’s not counted. Researchers found that a lack of understanding regarding the process and purpose for conducting the census is a major barrier to participation. 

Households put up signs to encourage Census participation in 2010. The 2020 census will differ from ones in the past because it will be conducted almost entirely online.
U.S. Census Bureau

BELLEVILLE — The outcome of the 2020 census will have lasting implications for people and communities in Illinois and across the U.S. 

Mainly, the once-a-decade headcount provides a framework for how more than $1.5 trillion in federal money is distributed to states every year. The census begins on April 1.

The intersection of Collinsville and St. Louis Avenues in East St. Louis is where a mob of white rioters first gathered before they rampaged through the city, seeking out and killing black residents.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

BELLEVILLE — The 2020 census headcount will have wide-ranging implications for the state of Illinois and communities in the Metro East. The state could lose congressional seats and federal money, and some downstate cities could lose their home-rule status after the decennial headcount, which begins in April.

These high stakes spurred Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritkzer and the state Legislature to dedicate $29 million to counting hard-to-reach communities; $20 million is for grants that go to 30 local community organizations across the state tasked with ensuring accurate counts. 

Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County NAACP announced Friday that John Bowman Sr. is its newest president.

Bowman has served as interim president since April, following the suspension of former president John Gaskin III. He came under fire for supporting a bill to change Title IX law and his paid consulting work for Better Together.