The 2020 Census is very important to the future of our state.

We all need to stand up and say “I Count” by completing and submitting our Census forms in March and April 2020.

We All Have Something to Lose

• Many Alabamians directly benefit from the federal programs whose funding allocations are determined in part by census data. In fact, it is about $1,600 per person in Alabama. Completing a census form will help ensure that Alabama receives its fair share of funding.

• The assistance programs tied to census data are critical to all Alabamians. They support children, education, hospitals, health care, rural development and community programs that are important to rural communities. If this funding is reallocated to other states due to a poor census count, then the funding for the missing services will have to be made up in some way at the local or state level. This affects everyone.

• Alabama is currently at risk of losing a Congressional representative in the 2020 Census due to projected slow growth. That means one less voice for Alabama values at the federal level. We need maximum census participation to retain our current Congressional representation.

We Can be a Force for Change

• Your voice matters. We all have a say in the outcome of the 2020 Census, and it can end with Alabama’s fair share of funding secured and with fair Congressional representation.

• All you have to do is complete and return your 2020 census form. It is a simple civic duty.

• In mid-March 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will mail a packet to every Alabama household. It will include information on how to complete your census form in three ways: 1. Online via computer or smart phone 2. Call a toll-free number and complete it over the phone with a U.S. Census Bureau employee 3. Call the toll-free number and request a traditional paper form. Some rural areas with low internet access will receive a paper form in the first mailing.

• The information you submit will be basic household information and is private and will not be used against you in any way or for any other purpose. It is against the law for your information to be shared or used by another agency.

We Must Take Action

• Rural Alabama will be key to the state’s success in 2020 Census. More than 40 percent of Alabamians live in rural areas.

• In 2010 many rural areas, particularly in west Alabama, had among the lowest response rates in the state. We need everyone’s help to raise the participation level for 2020.

• The end goal is maximum participation. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Show them that you count, that Alabama Counts by completing your census form.

• Starting in April, Governor Ivey and ADECA will have resources available through the Alabama Counts 2020 Census campaign. The website, launching in early April 2019, will be www.census.alabama.gov.

Jennifer Palmer is the executive director of the Marshall County Legislative Office.

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