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City, State Working to Maximize Census Results

Thursday, June 13, 2019
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BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

Count Me INdy! has been urging Indianapolis residents to participate in the 2020 census. Other Indiana cities have been slower to start similar campaigns.

Fort Wayne government spokesman John Perlich said planning is under way to establish a Complete Count Committee of volunteers this summer in the Summit City.

“The charge to that group will be to organize a messaging campaign that expresses the direct value to our community that comes from robust census participation by residents,” Perlich said last week in an email. “Locally organized Complete Count Committees have historically been effective ways to generate relatively high participation in the decennial census.”

Mayor Tom Henry appointed a 20-member Complete Count Committee in July 2009 for the 2010 census, which pegged Fort Wayne's population at 253,691. The U.S. Census Bureau said this May that the city's estimated population had grown to 267,633 in 2018.

The Census Bureau says Complete Count Committees serve as state and local “census ambassador” groups that “increase awareness and motivate residents to respond” to decennial census surveys.

Carol Rogers, Gov. Eric Holcomb's liaison to the 2020 census, said many Hoosier communities are waiting until summer to set up Complete Count Committees. Census survey information will be sent to households next March and April; people can answer survey questions online or with paper forms.

Some organizations have gotten a head start. Becky Honeywell of the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance said her group has been encouraging census participation to member foundations for the past two years through a grant from the Joyce Foundation, which supports racial equity and economic mobility in the Great Lakes region.

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