Census continues despite pandemic

Published 4:16 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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One thing that continues to go on even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is the process of gathering data for the 2020 United States Census.

“Census participation is not merely a count; it’s a road map for our future,” Gov. Kay Ivey said.

Despite adapting certain procedural changes and timelines, the United States Census Bureau still projects being on schedule as originally planned.

The Census Bureau is scheduled to deliver each state’s population total to the President by Dec. 31, 2020. These totals will determine the number of seats designated in the U.S. House of Representatives.

April 1, 2021 remains the set date to deliver the local totals each state needs to complete the legislative redistricting process.

Census takers will begin in-person follow up interviews between May and July to collect their responses if not already completed.

Ivey stressed the importance of providing the information requested by Census takers.

“It is an unprecedented time in Alabama; however, we must remain committed to Census participation,” Ivey said. “The COVID-19 pandemic shows the importance of state representation on a national level. If we lose a representative due to a low Census count, that would mean one less voice advocating for Alabama’s needs during critical times in the future.”

According to a press release from the Governor’s Office, if Alabama’s count falls shy of the 72-percent participation rate recorded in the 2010 Census, the state would likely experience reduced representation in Congress, the loss of millions of dollars in Census-derived community funding and reduced economic development opportunities.

Although the current pandemic is at the forefront of most people’s minds, the census remains a key to future success.

“Though the hearts and minds of Alabamians rests on the unprecedented health emergency we are currently battling, we must remember that our Census results are vital to our collective future,” said Kenneth Boswell, who is chairman of Alabama Counts! and director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. “Furthermore, responding now will minimize the need for the Census Bureau to send Census takers out into communities to follow up once restrictions are lifted.”

Ivey made sure residents did not get the wrong perception about the Census.

According to Ivey, taking part in the 2020 Census will not play a factor in receiving a stimulus check, and that the Census Bureau would be breaking the law, as stated by Title 13 of the U.S. Code, if it does not keep the provided information confidential.

The U.S. Code is a compilation of the federal statutes in place.

“The answers you provide are used for statistical purposes only and in no way will impact personal stimulus package allocation,” Ivey said.

The 2020 Census consists of 10 questions, which can be answered online at www.my2020census.gov, by calling 1-844-330-2020 or by filling out and mailing back the questionnaire sent to your home address.

Be sure to fill out the questionnaire with a black or blue pen and mail it back in the return envelope provided.