Blake Wood
Publish Date

The 2021 Sangamon County Citizens Survey will start arriving in residents’ mailboxes the week of June 7-11. The survey, which has been conducted every other year for the past 10 years, asks for residents’ opinions on important topics related to the community, equality, COVID-19, trust and confidence, economy and employment and demographics.

The survey is a collaborative effort between the University of Illinois Springfield Center for State Policy and Leadership, Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln and United Way of Central Illinois. Community Health Roundtable has also joined this year as a partner.

“The survey is a way to engage Sangamon County citizens and increase our understanding of issues and concerns in Sangamon County,” said Molly Lamb, executive director of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership. “Listening to our most valuable asset – our public and community members – is critical to working together, addressing the needs of our community and taking action to improve living, social, health educational and economic outcomes in Sangamon County. Please take the time, do your part, be a voice and complete the survey.”

The UIS Survey Research Office, part of the Center for State Policy and Leadership, will administer the survey, which can be completed by mail or online by using the link found on the mailed survey. This year more citizens were invited to take the survey than in previous years.

“While aligning with prior random sample methodology, we wanted to hear from more of our fellow Sangamon County residents than ever before,” said AJ Simmons, research director at the UIS Institute for Legal, Legislative and Policy Studies.

“Feedback received through the Citizen’s Survey informs community leaders and decision makers,” said John Kelker, president and chief professional officer of United Way of Central Illinois. “United Way encourages anyone invited to participate in the Citizen’s Survey to provide honest feedback so we can have a clear picture of the community’s thinking.”

Previous Sangamon County Citizens’ Surveys have given community leaders an understanding of changes occurring in the Springfield and Sangamon County region and current perspectives of the community on key issues. The evidence has supported agenda items for community-based organizations.

Spurred by the 2019 survey resulting in 57 percent of persons indicating their consideration of moving out of or away from Sangamon County, the Community Foundation used this to fuel The Next 10 project for the Springfield community. Likewise, the Community Health Roundtable has concentrated efforts on race, equity and police reform, supported by residents reporting only six percent having very good race relations, only 35 percent reporting they think they are treated equally and differences between white and non-white respondents for key healthcare and health status metrics.

“The Sangamon County Citizen Survey is an important tool to help us understand what people are thinking about our local economy, schools, general well-being and much more,” said John Stremsterfer, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln. “I cannot think of a more important time to hear our citizens’ opinions. As we start to emerge from more than a year under a pandemic, hearing what our neighbors are experiencing should help decision-makers address issues head-on.”

Lamb, Kelker, Stremsterfer and Simmons serve on the Sangamon County Citizens Survey Steering Committee, along with Patrice Jones, associate vice chair, diversity, inclusion and community engagement at the SIU School of Medicine; Tiffany Mathis, CEO of The Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois; Polly Poskins; and Beverly Bunch, representing both UIS and the Citizens Club of Springfield.

Questions about the survey can be directed to the UIS Survey Research Office at 217-206-6591or