Today is “Drop Everything, Get Counted” day in Alabama when businesses across the state are encouraged by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to provide opportunities for employees to fill out the 2020 census if they hadn't already done so.

As 2020 passes the half-way mark, 60.8% of Alabamains have filled out their self-response census forms compared to 63.3% nationwide as of Tuesday morning.

On Sand Mountain, Blount County leads the way with the highest self-response rate of 69.3% followed by Etowah County with 64.9%, Marshall County with 64.2% and DeKalb County with 51.2%.

According to a statement released by Gov. Kay Ivey’s office earlier this year, if Alabama doesn’t surpass the 72% participation rate recorded in the 2010 Census, the state could have its number of U.S. Congressmen reduced in addition to losing millions of dollars in census-derived community funding and missing out on economic development opportunities.

“It is an unprecedented time in Alabama; however, we must remain committed to Census participation,” Ivey stated. “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.”

The date to complete the census is Sept. 30 — which was recently moved up from Oct. 31 — at which time the Census Bureau will end its field data collection and close the online form to begin processing residents’ information. The bureau announced it would be hiring extra field workers to expedite data collection as the deadline approaches.

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