More than 200 mayors, county commissioners, legislators and other community leaders from across Alabama joined Gov. Kay Ivey Thursday to kick off the Alabama Counts outreach initiative aimed at maximum participation among Alabamians in the 2020 census.
With a little less than one year until the U.S. government’s 10-year census count in spring 2020, the governor urged local leaders to join her in raising awareness of the importance of the state’s performance in the census to the state’s future.
“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,” 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.”
The governor unveiled the Alabama Counts logo, introduced the state’s official 2020 census website — www.census.alabama.gov — and named the state’s 2020 census theme of “I Count.”
The stakes are high for Alabama in 2020. Many Alabamians directly benefit from the federal programs with funding allocations that are determined in part by census data. In fact, it represents federal funding of about $1,600 per person in Alabama, according to a George Washington University study. Completing a census form will help ensure that Alabama receives its fair share of funding. The federal government also will use 2020 census data to allocate the nation’s congressional seats. Many projections currently have Alabama at risk of losing one of its seven congressional seats.
Alabama Farmers Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan chairs the rural subcommittee of the census campaign.
“Our charge is to dramatically improve the 72 percent participation rate Alabama had during the last census by leveraging communication channels, grassroots networks, education and technology,” Pinyan said.
Starting in mid-March 2020, Alabama households will receive a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau with instructions on completing 2020 census forms. The Census Bureau is encouraging an online response but will have a toll-free number for households to complete their information over the phone or request a traditional paper form. The Census Bureau plans to mail paper forms to households in rural areas with potentially low internet access. The information collected during the census is confidential and cannot be used against a person by any group or agency.