U.S. Census Bureau

Cook County participation in 2020 census is lowest in state

The State of Minnesota leads the way in response to the 2020 census. Overall, 59.2 percent of Minnesota citizens have completed the census form. However, as of April 17, Cook County was dead last among Minnesota’s 87 counties. Only 14.5 percent of the estimated county residents have completed the form.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Interim County Administrator Rena Rogers, who is the county’s liaison for the 2020 census, about this lack of participation.

The U.S. Census Bureau halted fieldwork for the 2020 census due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Rogers notes that should not be a reason for Cook County’s poor participation rate. The entire nation is impacted by the coronavirus in some way.

Rogers said one reason participation is so low is probably that there are so many residents with post office boxes in Cook County. The U.S. Census Bureau does not send out census forms to PO boxes, as those are sometimes not households, but business residents. Alternatively, part-time residents, counted elsewhere, may have PO boxes here.

In a normal census year, census bureau fieldworkers visit all those properties without mailboxes to deliver forms to complete or with information on how to participate. That is not happening this year, but that does not mean anyone should be left out.

There are two alternative ways to be counted in the 2020 census. You can go online to www.2020census.gov and complete a simple form. Or, you can call and speak to a census bureau representative at 844-330-2020.

WTIP has heard from community members who have used both methods and has heard time and again that it is quick and easy.

Rogers stresses that the 2020 census count is important for Cook County as the number of people in the county as of April 1, 2020, is the number used in determining congressional districts, school funding, support for local medical facilities, transportation dollars, financial support for fire departments and other emergency services and more.