Preparation for 2020 census is starting now

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois - The 2020 census is welcoming a big change.  For the first time the census will come to you - online.

Laura Fontaine is the new Program Officer for the Doris and Victor Day foundation, who is beginning to promote and educate people to fill out the census.  That is her job for the next 18 months when Census Day takes place on April 1st, 2020.

April 2020 sounds like a long time away, but Alderman Dave Geenen emphasized how important it is to encourage neighbors to fill out the census at a community meeting in Rock Island.

"We only have one shot to get this right for the next ten years that will impact our community," says Geenen.

The information on the census goes directly back to your town.  Cities then get money from the government based on the population.

But, according to Fontaine and George Washington University, when people don't fill out the census Rock Island County will lose $1,700 per year for every person until the next census.

Starting in 2020 workers will reach out to neighborhoods that weren't as responsive in 2010.  Floreciente in Moline is one of those neighborhoods where only 68% of people filled out their census form ten years ago.

"We need to get everybody, regardless of your citizen status, accounted for - because everyone uses services from federal dollars that come in from any given district," says Anita Banerji of Forefront.

Census workers are already being hired for full-time positions at $15.50 an hour. Benefits are included.