US Mayor Article

The Windy City’s Census Effort
Mayor Daly Appeals to Local Television Stations to Become Census 2000 Ambassadors

May 15, 2000


Chicago City Census Coordinator Don Davis, Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) and representatives from local social agencies and businesses on April 20th, unveiled a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) in English and Spanish featuring Mayor Richard M. Daley urging all Chicagoans to respond and cooperate with Census 2000 enumerators who will be sent to homes of people that did not return their Census forms.

Tapes of the public service announcement have been sent to local television stations accompanied by a letter from the Mayor appealing to each station to help promote Census 2000.

"I am appealing to all television stations in the area to run the PSA frequently and help promote the Census on your broadcast," said the Mayor." If we are to be successful, we need the assistance of the media.

"If we cannot communicate this message to our citizens, your viewers, we stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in State and Federal funds that are returned to cities based on Census data," he added.

 Mayor Daley has called on residents, elected officials and local businesses to step up their efforts and share in the responsibility to make sure Chicago has an accurate count.

The Mayor asked aldermen to work as emissaries in their communities, reinforcing the importance of responding to the Census and encouraging cooperation during the next phase of Census data collection.

As part of Census Awareness Day at Comiskey Park, the Chicago White Sox Organization will be running the Mayor's PSA on the center field Jumbotron. WGN-TV will also be interviewing City officials at the park during the game's broadcast.

At the end of April, the U.S. Census Bureau sent out thousands of enumerators to homes that have not returned their census forms. It is critical to the City that residents cooperate with enumerators to avoid another undercount like the one in 1990, when the city lost more than $200 million in Federal and State aid that is distributed on the basis of census data. Census numbers also determined state legislative and congressional representation.

Chicago officials estimate that more than 159,000 residents were not counted in the 1990 Census, resulting in the loss of more than $200 million in state and federal aid. This is enough money to build two new high schools and two new elementary schools and renovate 100 more; or build 44 new branch libraries; or resurface over 1,600 miles of residential streets almost two-thirds of all those in Chicago.

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, the City will lose $3,391 for every person that is not counted in the 2000 Census. If a similar undercount like the one in 1990 occurs again, Chicago stands to lose more than half a billion dollars in resources.

"The message is clear," said the Mayor, "Count yourself and your family, and spread the word to friends, neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances. We all have a responsibility to help Chicago and its people get a fair shake this year."

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