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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Governor Pritzker Encourages Rockford To Fill Out The Census

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
Governor J.B. Pritzker at Rockford City Market Outdoor Pavilion

Governor J.B Pritzker was in Rockford Thursday to encourage everyone in northern Illinois to take the census.


He announced that Rockford is running a percentage point behind the rest of the state in its census response rate.


Rockford's average response rate is 65.5% compared to 66.9% for the state. And that number ranges within Rockford with some neighborhood neigborhood response rates below 35%.


Belvidere is currently well above the state's response rate with 73.1%.


The governor stressed that an accurate count can mean the difference of millions of dollars in federal funds.


"Just to give you an idea," Pritzker said, "1% undercount for the state of Illinois in 2020 could result in the state losing over $195 million per year. And that adds up over 10 years."


Mustafa Abdall is a local school teacher and census advocate. He said the process only takes six minutes online.

"These six minutes are worth enough to invest in our state and our city in our county," said Abdall.

The census form can be filled out online at 2020census.gov.

  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a 2020 corps member for Report for Americaan initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.


Juanpablo covers environmental, substandard housing and police-community relations. He’s been a bilingual facilitator at the StoryCorps office in Chicago. As a civic reporting fellow at City Bureau, a non-profit news organization that focuses on Chicago’s South Side, Ramirez-Franco produced print and audio stories about the Pilsen neighborhood. Before that, he was a production intern at the Third Coast International Audio Festival and the rural America editorial intern at In These Times magazine. Ramirez-Franco grew up in northern Illinois. He is a graduate of Knox College.