MALDEF Midwest Regional Office

Approach to Census 2010 Complete Count -
Challenges and Opportunities

MALDEF is committed to making Census 2010 a successful count of Latinos in the United States and to enhance our sense of civic pride among our communities as we participate in the Census 2010.

Our approach for an effective 2010 Census campaign is to target the “hard-to-count” (HTC) areas of our region.¹ and based on a three-pronged strategy targeting designated “hard-to-count” counties, by:

  1. Accessing and partnering with grassroots entities (non-profit groups, community businesses, and faith-based organizations) that have the direct contact with hard-to-count populations;
  2. Partnering with grass top leaders to promote the 2010 Census and educate the community at the state and local levels; and
  3. Broadcasting bilingual promotional information (English and Spanish) via the radio and television and at large events.

We know that our biggest return on our efforts will be through collaborating with trusted groups and agencies that provide direct services to and have regular contact with hard-to-count families and individuals.


The MALDEF Midwest Region is home to a large, diverse Latino population of which many are found in difficult-to-reach populations due to limited English proficiency, immigration status and job mobility. The 11-state region includes Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and has some of the most populated urban areas in the U.S while also containing three of the most economically troubled states in the nation – Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. According to the Pew Center, Illinois has one of the worst budget gaps in the country at $13.2 billion; Michigan has never recovered from a 2001 recession and trying to solve problems on a 1960s-sized budget and Wisconsin has a historical pattern of borrowing frequently to cover operating expenses. The Midwest also encompasses 6 states with hard to count populations – Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota. In Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin the Latino population has continued to grow steadily since 1990, many at a rate faster than the general population. In Chicago, it is estimated that Latinos make up approximately 26 percent of the local population, and of increasing interest and importance, is the shift of Latino population to the suburbs as documented by the Institute for Latino Studies of the University of Notre Dame. Accurate census data is critical to planning in these suburban communities which are now responsible for educating half of the 365,000 Latino school-aged children and adolescents in the Chicago Metropolitan area. For the remaining states, the Latino population continues to grow but it is also disproportionately underrepresented. In the 2000 Census count, Latinos were missed approximately four times as often as Caucasians, African-American three times as often and Asians, twice as often. As a result, while the Latino population continues to grow, critical services such as schools, social services, transportation, etc. are not provided due to an undercount of the community.

Population Profile of MALDEF Midwest Region States and Hard-to-Count Populations

Some facts about the region:

Education: Latinos accounted for 1-in-5 students in Illinois’ k-12 public schools during the 2007-2008 school year. In Fiscal Year 2007, Illinois ranked 49th in the nation in proportion of revenue used for public education provided by the state.

Health: In Illinois, Latinos accounted for 27% of the state’s uninsured population in 2007. With 454,906 uninsured Latinos in Illinois, nearly 1-in-4, are uninsured. Moreover, 21% of Latino children aged 18 and under lack access to health insurance.

Poverty: Latinos accounted for 21.9% of those in Illinois who lived below the poverty threshold in 2008. Latino children accounted for 30% of all children in Illinois living below the poverty threshold in 2008.

Housing: A majority of neighborhoods in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs with large concentration of Latinos experienced a greater number of foreclosure filings in the first half of 2009 than the first half of 2008. Among Latinos living in owner-occupied housing units, 61.6% pay thirty percent or more of their household income on housing costs, compared to 38.8% of the total population.

Because You Count, Get Counted!
!Cuéntate…Porque Tú Vales!

In March you will receive the Census 2010 questionnaire at your home. Forms will be available in English and in over 50 languages. They are easy to fill out and must be mailed back by April 1, 2010 (Census Day). Take this chance to make a difference for your family and your community!

  • January & Febuary: Census campaign in full gear. Information on TV, Radio, and community events
  • March: Census forms are mailed or delivered to homes.
  • APRIL 1: Census Day!
  • May, June & July: Census workers visit homes that did not mail in questionnaires.

Click here to download the Midwest Census Palm Card.

For more information or to find out how MALDEF and your organization can partner to count Latinos in your community, contact:

Elisa Alfonso
11 E. Adams, Suite 700
Chicago, Illinois 60603

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund