• Our 360 Staff

Census response lagging, Alabama last in US as deadline looms

Montgomery, Ala. – Alabama is last in total participation in the 2020 Census as the once-a-decade counting comes to a close. Alabama has less than 80 percent of households counted, while the national average is over 88 percent according to the latest Census data. Census workers will soon begin following up with non-responsive households by going door-to-door.

The lack of participation may result in Alabama losing a congressional district, which impacts Alabama’s influence in Congress as well as the number of electoral college votes the state has each presidential election. The south as a whole is lagging behind the rest of the country in response times. Nearly $1 trillion is delegated out by the federal government based on population. Schools, hospitals, road funding and other vital programs are all linked to the Census results.

Alabama’s current self-response rate is 62.1 percent — 0.4 percent short of the self-response rate recorded in 2010, or 62.5 percent, according to information provided by the Census Bureau. When added with responses generated to date by Census field workers, a total of 78.5 percent of Alabama households have responded. Governor Ivey – alongside leadership from AlabamaCounts! – is targeting an 80 percent or higher total response rate by September 30.

State leaders are continuing to urge Alabamians to take the Census seriously. “It takes a matter of six minutes to play your part in determining the future of our state by completing the census,” said Governor Ivey in a statement. “These integral six minutes will determine what our communities will look like, what our children’s education will be, and even what our healthcare can provide throughout the next decade.”

“Folks, it’s now or never, and this is the time to act and to ensure Alabama has the future we hope to plan for,” added Governor Ivey. “These last few weeks of Census 2020 are vital to our future as our federal representation, our economic development opportunities and our communities — and their citizens — will be impacted negatively unless we have a proper count.”

Governor Ivey’s office — alongside the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and Alabama Counts! — has worked since March to ensure participation numbers statewide meet the mark. Recently, these efforts included the September 2 launch of the Alabama Census Bowl, in which low-responding counties have the chance to win $65,000 for their schools through Census participation.

Alabamians can fill out the 10-question Census online at my2020Census.gov, by phone at 1-844-330-2020 or by traditional paper form. Any information given in the 2020 Census is protected by strict federal law. The Census is scheduled to end counting on September 30, but a pending lawsuit may continue counting in some local offices.

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