Elected officials and stakeholders
The median response rate in Illinois is currently 71.2% (the mean is 70.5%), based on data from September 17, 2020. Illinois has the seventh highest overall response rate in the country. For the MTC graphs and maps, we use the median response rate across census tracts, rather than the mean, because the median reduces the effect of outliers that may distort the mean up or down.
How did the UIC Urban Data Visualization Lab create the self-response rate projections?
The Map the Count (MTC) projected self-response rates are based on the analysis of the 2010 Census’s self-response rates and of current socio-economic data at the census tract level in Illinois. The MTC analysis created two kinds of projections:
Overall projected mail response rate expected at the end of the self response period: The self-response period is the first part of the census during which residents are invited to respond to the census. After this period the Census Bureau starts the more resource-intensive process of counting people in person. UDVL created five separate models to reflect the diversity of Illinois’s geography and socio-economic conditions. Each geographic model incorporates different factors that we found to be strongly associated with low self-response rates in that geography. These factors were used to create a projection for every census tract.
Projected cumulative rates for each day of the self-response period: The process is the same as what is described above for the overall projected rates, except that it provides estimates of the cumulative self-response rates for every day of the self-response period for every tract. Daily projections were generated using data about daily progress during the 2010 Census.
Using the MTC projections to guide outreach efforts:
The maps below include a layer that shows the difference between the actual self-response rate (from the Census Bureau) and the MTC projected response rate (see point 1 above). This information can help prioritize outreach in those places that fall well below the MTC projection. The actual self-response rate may not be enough to guide this effort because it can be fairly high in places where high response rates are expected and still be well below target. Conversely, the actual response rate could seem low in an area, but be very close to what was projected for that area.