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Mayor Daley Announces Chicago’s Census Plan
Census 2000 Goal: Ensure That Every Chicagoan Is Counted

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has announced a comprehensive plan to ensure that every Chicago resident is counted in the 2000 Census, and that his City will receive all of the population-based state and federal assistance to which it is entitled.

In the 1990 census, according to Mayor Daley, Chicago was undercounted by at least 159,000 residents. “Because of that,” Daley said in a February 8 news conference, “we estimate that the City lost more than $200 million in state and federal aid that is distributed on the basis of population. We’re not going to let that happen again.” The lost funding, Daley explained, was enough to build two new high schools and two new elementary schools and renovate 100 more schools, or build 44 new branch libraries, or resurface nearly two-thirds of all the residential streets in Chicago.

Publicity and Promotion

Chicago’s census campaign, “We’re All 1,” will be launched in March, using “every form of publicity at our disposal to create awareness of the census,” Daley said. Census advertising will appear on billboards, in movie theaters, and in mainstream and ethnic print and broadcast media. Promotional give-aways will include mirrors, pencils, posters, magnets, note pads and piggy banks; promotional aprons – with messages in English, Spanish and Polish – will be distributed to barber and beauty shops.

Posters and Cash Awards

Working with the Chicago Sun Times and community and ethnic newspapers, the City will distribute more than one million promotional posters with phone numbers for foreign language assistance. Those who put posters in their windows will be eligible for cash prizes: 50 people will receive $1,000 prizes during March and April. On the final day of the contest, the City will give away its “Census Cow” – a survivor of last year’s internationally acclaimed “Cows on Parade” exhibit in Chicago.

Foreign Language Assistance

The City is also working with schools, community-based agencies, shelters and ethnic and foreign language organizations to spread the word on the census and ensure that those who do not understand English get assistance in their own language. The Census Bureau will provide forms in six languages – English, Spanish, Korean, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Chinese – and the City and the Bureau will provide language assistance guides in dozens of other languages.

“The people who need government help the most are the ones who are most likely to be missed by the census – poor people and minorities,” said Daley. “They’re the ones who most need state and federal job training, health, education, transportation and nutrition programs – the programs that are funded on the basis of census data. Their neighborhoods need more private investment – shopping centers, hospitals and restaurants – and those decisions are often made on the basis of census numbers as well.

The $1 million the City will spend on its census campaign will be supplemented by at least $500,000 in donations and in-kind contributions from the private sector. “We expect to make that back many times over through an accurate census count,” said Mayor Daley.


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