Will you commit to helping others complete the Census?

By JEFF ADAMS

VOICES for Alabama’s Children consistently reports in its Alabama Kids Count Data Book that children in Shelby County have the highest level of well-being in the state. It is one reason why multiple communities in our county are among the fastest-growing in Alabama.

As we know from the increased traffic on our streets, with growth comes an increased demand for resources to help public services keep up. We need new roads, larger schools, and more hospital beds, among other things.

Our fiscal fate will be decided later this month when Washington finalizes the 2020 Census. The formula the federal government uses to determine the amount of aid any one community receives primarily relies on Census data. Unfortunately for us, there is a realistic chance that we could lose some of the funds we have grown accustomed to – funds that we need to keep pace with our county’s growth.

The only way to make sure Shelby County does not miss out on its share of resources is to make sure all of our residents are counted in the 2020 census.

Even if you have already filled out your family’s Census form online, we need you to continue to encourage your family, friends, neighbors, employees, and coworkers to do their part as well.

Ten years ago, the largest number of those not counted were children under the age of five. Statewide, more than 17,000 children under five were missed. That meant our local governments were not as equipped as they could have been to address changes in our community.

Our reliance on the Census has never been more apparent than it is today, through the allocation of resources in response to the COVID-19 virus. Congress used the 2010 Census to determine how to distribute funding for recovery and relief. If another emergency takes root in the next few years, the response will rely on 2020 Census data.

Over the next few weeks, I have committed to checking in with family members, neighbors, and others across our county and state to make sure they participate in the census. Will you join me in this endeavor?

Jeff Adams is the board treasurer of VOICES for Alabama’s Children. Learn more at Alavoices.org.