The City of Fort Wayne’s 2020 Census self-response rate has reached 70.3%, surpassing the self-response rate of 69.8% achieved in 2010. The national self-response rate is 64.7%, Indiana’s self-response rate is 68.9% and Allen County’s is 72.8%.
Self-response rates are the percentage of households that have completed the Census online, by phone or by mail without help from Census staff members. Census takers are currently visiting non-responsive households throughout the City to encourage completion of the questionnaire and drive participation even higher. The final 2010 Census participation rate was 77% and members of the local Complete Count Committee (CCC) are committed to exceeding that number in 2020.
“We still have time to actively encourage local residents to complete the questionnaire and I am grateful to the collaborating CCC partners who continue to provide support and helped us reach this fantastic milestone,” said Palermo Galindo, City-Census Liaison of the Complete Count Committee. “It’s critical that we count everyone so that Fort Wayne can get its fair share of federal dollars used to support innumerable programs such as Medicaid, Head Start and highway construction.”
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry appointed the Complete Count Committee in October last year and it is charged with ensuring the community’s Census 2020 count is as complete and accurate as possible. Comprised of key community leaders representing Fort Wayne’s diverse populations, the committee has been partnering with federal officials and grassroots leaders to create strategies for informing all residents about the 2020 census.
The Census happens once every 10 years and all households are required by law to complete the Census form. Census data determines the number of Congressional seats Indiana receives in the U.S. House of Representatives and guides the redistricting of state and local legislative districts.
Census data also helps determine the amount of federal funding for state and local governments. For example, Indiana, its residents and government organizations received just under $18 billion in federal funding in 2016. The dollars were allocated for Medicaid, Medicare, food assistance, highway construction, Title 1 grants to local schools, special education grants, school lunch programs, low-income housing programs and more.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and guidelines from the State and local Departments of Health, the CCC has stepped up virtual efforts to communicate the importance of responding to the Census. The CCC has created a strong social media presence with videos in different languages from local community advocates and leaders; those can be found on Facebook @FWCountsOnMe/videos. More information may be found by searching the FWCountsOnMe hashtag on social media.