Due to the coronavirus pandemic the deadline to respond to the 2020 Census has been extended to Oct. 5.
“This extension will give Census Bureau field workers more time to follow up with Alabama households that have not yet responded to the census,” said ADECA director and Alabama Counts! chairman Kenneth Boswell.
Alabama has had one of the worst responses to the census of any state. Its enumerated response rate, which includes both self-responses and those who census workers have personally interviewed, is 93.7% — the lowest response rate of any state
On Sept. 8, Gov. Kay Ivey stated that Alabama’s response rate was not good enough.
“I’ve said it since our March kick-off, and I will say it again: Alabama stands to lose too much if we do not reach our goal of maximum participation,” said Governor Ivey in a press release on Sept 8.
Ivey specifically mentioned the self-response rate of 62.1% of households. Since then, the states self-response rate has only increased by 1%.
Jackson County has a self-response rate of 63.3%.
Response in Pleasant Grove, Scottsboro, Hytop, Pisgah, Section, Woodville and Dutton are above the county average. However, three of Jackson County’s cities are in the bottom 30% of responses — Bridgeport with 51%, Paint Rock with 50.5% and Langston with 26.8% of households reporting.
Langston is the eighth lowest reporting city in the state of Alabama.
Lawmakers and government officials have been signaling that the 2020 census will potentially see Alabama lose a seat in the U.S. House of Representative, but ultimately more than just national representation is at stake with low census response
“This isn’t just money for our state,” said Ivey. “It’s money for our small communities, for our educational systems, for our roads and for our children. There is simply too much community funding at stake here to disregard this final call.”
The decennial Census is the constitutionally mandated count of everyone living in the United States and is used not only to determine the number of representatives a state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, but also how much money a state gets from various federal programs.
According to Ivey and Boswell, a poor response to the Census could cost Alabama billions of dollars in federal funding that could potentially be used on roads, infrastructure improvements and other services provided by the government.
In 1929, the number of members of the House of Representatives were capped at 435. Since then, each state has been given a portion of that number determined by their population count in the census.
“We ask that you take action for generations to come here in Alabama by completing the 2020 Census,” said Boswell adding that “it takes a matter of minutes to determine the future of our state.”
To fill out the census Alabamians can go online to my2020Census.gov or by phone at 1-844-330-2020 before midnight on Oct. 5.