Park Forest's newly formed Complete Count Committee met Tuesday evening at Village Hall to lay the groundwork for maximum Park Forest participation in the 2020 Census.
The group of nearly 40 Park Forest stakeholders – comprised of village employees, elected officials, property managers, realtors, and board and commission members – took part in an information session led by Cory Stevenson, U.S. Census Partnership Specialist. The group of volunteers will help lead efforts in the community to increase resident participation in the 202 census.
Tuesday night’s kickoff meeting allowed volunteers to meet one another and learn about key areas of the census process, like barriers and solutions for participation, census terms and definitions, and census data maps.
In the last U.S. Census, conducted in 2010, Park Forest's official population count was 21,975.
A reported 76 percent of Park Forest households took part in the census in 2010, down 6 percent from 2000 when a reported 82 percent of Park Forest households took part, according to U.S. Census data.
Park Forest officials believe a realistic census count for 2020 is 27,000 – some 5,000 more residents than what was reported in 2010.
With federal funding to be either increased or decreased every community across the country, based on population count, Park Forest officials say every resident must be counted in the 2020 census so no dollars are left on the table.
“It is imperative for the population of Park Forest to be fully counted. Every dollar received from state per capita funding offsets a need that would otherwise be passed along with the property tax levy,” said Park Forest Village Manager Tom Mick.
Along with the formation of the new Complete Count Committee, Park Forest has also earmarked $5,000 to help boost awareness and participation in the census process, and will also pursue grant funding through Cook County and the State of Illinois.
By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. Once the invitation arrives, residents should respond for their households in one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail.
Over the next several months, Park Forest Complete Count Committee members will be working to promote and educate the Park Forest community on the importance of being counted in the 2020 census.
About the U.S. Census
The U.S. Constitution mandates a headcount every 10 years of everyone residing in the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the Island Areas of the United States. The population totals from the census count:
• Affect the funding of communities. Approximately $675 billion in federal funds are distributed to communities each year based on census data.
• Determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives.
• Are used to redraw legislative and school districts.