WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Macomb Preparing for an Important Headcount

Macomb, IL – Macomb is counting on getting an accurate result from the 2010 census.

Community Development Coordinator Ed Basch says a Complete Count Committee has been formed to help promote the census. A special emphasis will be placed on raising awareness among students at Western Illinois University.

"We'll have a 'Be Counted' assistance center in the student union so that students will be able to ask questions and they should be more aware of what's going on," says Basch.

WIU students are required to be counted in Macomb rather than their hometown because they spend the majority of the year in Macomb.

The city feels many WIU students were missed in past census years. Ten years ago, the initial count was low in student neighborhoods and residence halls. The follow-up headcount was not done until late May. By then, most students had left town for the summer.

The city later conducted a special census to improve its numbers. But it cost money to pay for the special census.

There is an added financial incentive to get it right the first time. The higher the city's population, the more money it receives from Washington DC and Springfield. The federal government says the information the census collects helps determine how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services such as hospitals, schools, job training centers, senior centers, and emergency services.

The census forms will be mailed to homes in early to mid-March. It's hoped forms are returned by the beginning of April.

This year's form contains just 10 questions. Forms cannot be filled out on-line.

Macomb is still looking for workers to help with the 2010 census. Information can be found on the city's website.