About 1.4 million Alabama households have turned in their 2020 census forms, a state self-response rate of 56.7% compared to a national rate of 58.6%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
State agencies are now putting extra effort in those parts of the state where responses are lagging. A swath of Black Belt and southern counties, and a few in north Alabama, are trailing in mail-in, internet and telephone replies, according to a map maintained by the Census Bureau. Early this week, Coosa County in central Alabama had the lowest return rate at 26.6%. The response rate data is based on 2018 and 2019 population estimates.
Census kickoff efforts in March and April got off to a slow start because of the coronavirus. Read more and see interactive map.
Alabama is running slightly below the national average in response to the 2020 census, state officials said Friday.
Figures through Thursday, April 23, show 50.8% of the Alabama households that were sent questionnaires by the Census Bureau have responded, compared to 52.4 percent nationwide.
Gov. Kay Ivey and other state officials have urged Alabama residents to participate in the census, which is taken every 10 years, because population figures are used to determine the number of members each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the distribution of federal funds to the states.
Gov. Kay Ivey and state census officials say participation by Alabamians in this year’s census “will make or break” the state.
Poor census participation by state residents could result in the state losing a member of the U.S. House and about $13 billion in federal health care and education funds.
Anyone living in Alabama on Friday is being asked to complete the census. For the first time, the census can be completed online, as well as by phone or mail.
Letters encouraging residents to complete the census are now being mailed to Alabamians.
Kenneth Boswell, director of the Alabama Department of Community Affairs, is spearheading the census in Alabama. Boswell and Ivey pointed out that federal funding disbursements are tied to census data.
“It is the most important census the state has ever seen,” Boswell said. Read more.