by Claire Aiello
You will hear quite a bit about the 2020 Census in the coming months. The census is conducted every 10 years and is important to states because it determines federal funding. On or around April 1, 2020, each Alabama household will receive a postcard from the U.S. Census Bureau with instructions on how to complete the 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.
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.
That’s why it’s important for you and every member of your household to be counted. In 2020, Alabama had a 72 percent response rate to the census, with lower rates particularly in west Alabama and in some urban areas. We must increase our participation rate in 2020.
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.”
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. An accurate count helps keep important funding in place for our state.