U.S. Census Bureau workers have started going door-to-door in the Peoria area to boost participation in the nationwide population count.
The city has been identified as one of 35 areas in the nation with a high non-response rate, and Peoria City Council member Sid Ruckriegel is encouraging residents to get counted as soon as possible.
“The census is done every 10 years, but it actually affects so much more in our day-to-day lives,” said Ruckriegel, who is heading the city’s census campaign. “Everything from federal and state funding to actually where businesses may locate and where infrastructure needs may come into play–all are really determined by the census.”
According to Ruckriegel, estimates indicate every individual yields around $1,900 per year in federal dollars coming back to the community.
“The actual impact economically is so much more than that,” he said. “That’s why this census, especially for the Peoria area, is so important. We know that there may be some loss of population that we’re going to be seeing, and so we want to make sure that each and every resident is counted.”
Ruckriegel said the census also helps to define the diversity among Peoria’s population.
“For us to make sure that we can meet the challenges of a diverse community, this is that ability for each and every person to be counted,” he said. “We don’t want to let any person be missed in that sense because this really does make each and every person who resides within our community an important player.”
Ruckriegel said the city’s high non-response rate is partially linked to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve got a couple of tracks that we’ve got to typically go out and do a little bit more door-to-door work,” he said. “The ability to do that during the COVID situation was very, very limited.”
The Census Bureau said door-to-door workers have been provided face masks and will adhere to safety guidelines on social distancing. Ruckriegel said the workers will show proper identification to prove they are a census taker.
“This is the way for each and every one of our residents to have an impact on our community,” said Ruckriegel. “We’re often asked, ‘What can I do?’ The easiest way to answer that question is make sure you take the census.”
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