The Illinois Secretary of State's Office has awarded a 130-thousand dollar grant to the Carbondale Branch of the NAACP.
The funding will be used to educate people on the importance of the 2020 census and target groups often undercounted, such as minorities, non-English speakers, college students and others.
During the 2010 census, project director Carl Flowers says only 76-percent of people in southern Illinois completed the form. He doesn't think people realize how important accurate census data is for the local area.
"For every person that is counted, that brings back on average 18-hundred dollars per year to that particular area. So think about that, over ten years that's 18-thousand dollars."
Flowers says they'll use the funds to hire outreach workers, a program coordinator and communications coordinator as well purchase equipment for their presentations, which will begin throughout southern Illinois in August.
He says there is a concerted effort to have more people fill out the form online, which can be problematic for parts of southern Illinois.
"Understand that in some of our targeted counties, like Alexander, Pulaski, and others, the actual number of households, or percentage of households, without internet access ranges from 26% to over 50%."
In addition to Alexander and Pulaski Counties, Flowers says the 130-thousand dollar grant also focuses on Jackson, Williamson, Jefferson, Marion and Saline Counties.