Census data collection deadline extended to Oct. 31

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Those who have not completed their 2020 Census forms have several more weeks to participate.

“As a result of court orders, the Oct. 5, 2020 target date is not operative, and data collection operations will continue through Oct. 31, 2020,” read a United States Census Bureau statement sent to census takers and included in a press release Oct. 2. “Employees should continue to work diligently and enumerate as many people as possible. Contact your supervisor with any questions.”

Alabama currently has the lowest response rate of any state in the nation at 94.2 percent, compared to the national enumerated response rate of 98.7 percent, according to Shelbyal.com.

The population count taken in the 2020 Census will determine the allocation of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Alabama’s low response rate means the state is at risk of losing two congressional representatives, which could hinder school funding, federal and state aid for disaster relief, food assistance, Electoral College votes, rental and utility assistance, dental and medical relief, and Title I, II, VII and XIII funding.

State leaders, including Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, have made a push for maximum participation in the 2020 Census, which will play an integral role in program funding, congressional representation and economic development in Alabama.

Funding for programs related to health care, education, housing assistance, infrastructure development and more is tied in some form to census data, according to Census.alabama.gov.

In Shelby County, each resident represents about $1,600 per year in funding for public services, education and community programs. For each resident who does not complete the census, an estimated $16,000 is lost over the next 10 years. More county information can be viewed at Census.shelbyal.com.

In addition, Census Bureau data is considered by business and industry as valuable, unbiased data collected by a neutral third party, meaning an improvement in a community’s Census data could lead to additional retail and restaurant growth and increased economic development.

Alabamians can fill out the 10-question Census online at 2020Census.gov, by phone at 1-844-330-2020 or by traditional paper form.

Socially distanced door-to-door census takers are also targeting households statewide that have been identified as current non-participants. Any information given in the 2020 Census is protected by strict federal law.

For more information, visit Alabama2020census.com.