Why does the Census matter?

In 2020, we as Alabamians have a tremendous opportunity to positively affect our state’s future for the next 10 years and beyond. How? By taking less than 10 minutes to complete a 2020 Census form.

Not only that. Saying “I Count” by completing your census form also helps secure a brighter future for yourself, your family and your community.

Your opportunity to say “I Count” is coming in the spring of 2020. The mission of Alabama Counts! is to ensure you understand what is at stake for Alabama in 2020 and to ensure you are prepared to complete and return your census form.

Data from the census affects everyone. We all have something to gain from a full census count.

Funding for Programs that Impact You, Your Family and Our Communities

Funding to Alabama for many important programs that affect health care, education, housing assistance, infrastructure development and more is tied in some form to census data. An accurate count will ensure that the state receives its fair share of funding for these important programs. A recent study by George Washington University  indicates that the U.S. government returned almost $1,600 to the state in 2015 for every Alabamian counted in the census.

George Washington University also indicated that a total of more than $13 billion was allocated to Alabama in 2016 from 55 programs that are guided in some part by data derived from the census. All of us either depend on the assistance provided through these programs or know someone who does.

Just a few of the programs and their 2016 obligations in Alabama are:

Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid)$3.9 billion
Medicare Part B (Supplemental Medical Insurance)- Physician Fee Schedule Services$1.1 billion
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)$1.2 billion
Head Start$138 million
Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies$230 million
Pell Grants and Student Loans$471 million
Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments and Housing Choice Vouchers$194 million
Highway Planning and Construction$797 million
Community Development Block Grants$21 million

We must do everything we can to ensure that the state receives its fair sharing of funding for these programs so they remain available for those who greatly benefit from them and those who may need them in the future. If we do not, the need for this assistance will remain and state and local governments will be forced replace the lost funds through alternative means. This alternative will affect everyone.

Congressional Representation

The population count taken in the 2020 Census will determine the allocation of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. States with the most population gains are projected to gain additional seats while states with population losses or slow growth are at risk of losing seats.

A projected slowed population growth in Alabama has put the state in danger of losing one of our seven congressional seats after the 2020 Census. These are the voices that represent us and stand up for our needs on the federal level. The loss of a Congressional representative would mean one less critical voice advocating for Alabama on the national stage. The only way to potentially avoid this outcome is for all Alabamians to participate in the 2020 Census.

Economic Development

Data collected by the Census Bureau is considered by business and industry as valuable, unbiased data collected by a neutral third party. An improvement in a community’s Census data could mean additional retail and restaurant growth as well as more consideration from companies wishing to expand or relocate, creating job opportunities.

In 2010, Alabama had a 72 percent response rate to the census with lower rates particularly in west Alabama and in some urban areas. This participation rate won’t be enough for 2020. Together, we can make sure that Alabama’s voices are heard. You count. Alabama counts.