KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The last day of summer school at Kansas City’s Guadalupe Center came with a reminder for parents to fill out the census as soon as possible.
“We try to explain to them that the resources they receive and funding they receive for hospitals, senior living centers, rec centers and infrastructure,” said Andres Chauand of the Guadalupe Center, are all dependent on how many people fill out the census.
According to the US Census Bureau, far fewer people have filled out the census so far this year than during the last census in 2010.
In Kansas City, Missouri, 57.7% have filled it out — compared to 65% in 2010.
It’s a similar scenario in Kansas City, Kansas, where 57.1% have filled it out, compared to 64.7% a decade ago.
The response rate is far higher in the suburbs. Overland Park has a 74.9% response rate, about 1% lower than during the last census. Liberty has a 75.4% rate, about 2 percentage points lower than in 2010.
The people least likely to respond to the census are immigrants, most of whom live in cities. It’s a problem The Guadalupe Center has been trying to solve for months.
“The Trump administration hasn’t made it any easier,” Chauand said. “They are already fearful of the government and COVID hit. You put all those things together, and you are going to get lower numbers for sure. It’s going to impact the whole KC metro area.”
That’s because the people least likely to fill out the census are the same people most in need of the government services distributed based on census data.
It’s not that the U.S. Census Bureau has done a bad job advertising. Everybody FOX4 spoke to was aware of the census.
Bill Syed of Johnson County said he’s been so busy helping his company adapt to the demands of the coronavirus he has yet to even think about the census.
“I’m a business owner, so I will fill it because it impacts me,” Syed said.
Dana Donn, who lives near Columbus Park, admitted she’s also been putting it off.
“I do want to do it,” she said. “It’s just finding the time. Nobody wants to sit around and answer a bunch of questions.”
But those who have already answered those questions said it doesn’t take much time.
“Probably less than five minutes,” Baker Mohammad said. “We went to the website.”
Akshay Jain, who was visiting River Market in downtown Kansas City, said he hasn’t filled it out because he thought the census was only for US citizens. He has a green card. The census is for everyone.
Time is running out. You have until Sept. 30.