The 2020 Census
February 12, 2020
What is the Census?
Every decade since 1790, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census of the United States. The census, which is a 10 question form, will count every person - both adults and children - living in the United States. This information is used to monitor changes in communities and to identify and address public service needs such as health care, education, public safety, housing, food, and rural access to broadband. It also provides the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting, and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support vital programs across the states, including the counties and communities of Alabama.
Why Does the Census Matter?
Funding to Alabama for many important programs that affect health care, education, housing assistance, infrastructure development, and more is tied in some way to census form data. An accurate count will ensure that the state receives its fair share of funding for these important programs! Some of these programs include: Medicaid, Medicare Part B, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Head Start, Title 1 Grants to Educational Facilities, Pell Grants and Student Loans, Section 8 Housing Assistance, Highway Planning and Construction, Community Development Block Grants, and more.
Residents use the census data to support community inititives involving legislation, quality-of-life, and consumer advocacy. Local government uses census data to ensure enough public safety and plan new schools and hospitals. Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices, and stores, which in turn creates new jobs in those areas. Real estate developers and city planners use census data to plan new homes and improve neighborhoods. Everyone is affected by the census in some way!
Why Should I Respond?
In 2010, the last official census, Alabama had only a 72% rate in response. Lower rates were recorded in the western part of the state. Your participation counts! Without a higher response rate, our federal assistance programs will suffer, and less congressional representation means less voice for our state and our people at the federal level. The goal is to have 100% participation in the 2020 census - won't you help make that possible?
How Does the Census Work?
Starting March 12, 2020, each Alabama household will receive a postcard from the U.S. Census Bureau with instructions on how to complete the census. You may respond in three ways: online, telephone, or traditional paper form.
Some households, mainly in rural areas, will receive their traditional paper form along with the postcard. Other households will only receive a postcard and will have the option of completing the form online. By mid-April, everyone who has not already completed the census will receive a traditional paper form in the mail. Beginning in May, census takers will begin to visit the homes of people that have yet to complete the census to ensure that everyone is counted. Then, by December, the Census Bureau will begin to deliver results to the President and to Congress.
All data given to the U.S. Census Bureau is safe and secure. All information provided is confidential and cannot be used against you in any court or by any government agency.
For more information on the 2020 U.S. Census, visit https://census.alabama.gov/.