by Claire Aiello
Updated March 10, 2020
Above, watch a special message from Chip Cherry, Huntsville/Madison County Chamber President & CEO.
You will hear quite a bit about the 2020 Census this month, and through the next few months. The census is conducted every 10 years and is important to states because it determines federal funding. Between March 12-20, all households will receive a mailing from the U.S. Census Bureau with an invitation to respond to the 2020 Census. This is the first U.S. census to offer options to respond online or by phone, in addition to the option to respond on paper form as with previous censuses. We urge you to participate and be counted. April 1 is “Census Day.”
We ask that you please share this information with your employees. You should respond one of three ways: online, by phone, or by mail. You can respond before April 1, by the way!
Put simply, 10 minutes of your time could have a 10-year impact on the future of our quality of life here in Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley.
Over the next decade, the data collected will be used to make critical decisions about federal funding — including money for roads, schools, and community services. The 2020 count also impacts local redistricting for City Council and School Board elected offices, in addition to Alabama’s number of seats in the U.S. Congress.
In 2010, Alabama had a 75 percent response rate. We must do better this time or we risk losing crucial funding and a Congressional seat. As you know, North Alabama is growing, and we need to keep important funding in place and keep our region’s voice strong in Washington, D.C.
What can your company do to help?
It’s easy to assist with the effort. Please help share information about the 2020 Census. Flyers are available at census.alabama.gov – please print these and share with your employees and encourage them to participate and be counted. The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber is helping with Huntsville’s Complete Count, and we’re asking companies to share this message with employees.
Some may not have participated in the Census before. For example, if you have employees who are between 18-25, they were children, or young teenagers, last time the Census was conducted. Some may be nervous to participate, or some may say they’re busy and don’t have time.
We ask you to help them understand it is very important that they, and every member of their household, are counted. Please encourage them to look for their Census form in the mail and respond.
Consider setting up computers with internet access in the breakroom at your office to help employees respond during their lunchbreak, or before or after their workday. Some may not have internet access at home.
People who don’t respond will get a knock on the door in coming months, as Census workers visit in person to ensure everyone is counted.
We appreciate your support in making sure our area gets an accurate Census count!
Why does the census matter to Alabama? It determines funding for many programs that impact you, your family, your schools and your community. Here are just a few:
The population count taken in the 2020 Census will be used to determine the allocation of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. States with the most population gains are projected to gain additional seats, while states with population losses or slow growth are at risk of losing seats. Many pre-census projections have Alabama losing a Congressional seat, and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Census data is also used to determine a number of political boundaries for State and Local offices. The Alabama Legislature and other elected bodies will re-draw district lines based on Census data.
Alabama Counts is an advisory committee working to ensure an accurate census count for Alabama. Governor Kay Ivey created the committee by an executive order in 2018.
“We as Alabamians have a tremendous opportunity to positively affect the future of our state and our children by simply taking about five minutes to say ‘I Count’ and completing our census forms in 2020,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “Our goal (with Alabama Counts) is maximum participation, and we are going to be working hard over the next year to attain that goal, so we can secure a brighter future for our communities.”