Alabama Counts: 2020 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census of the United States every 10 years, going all the way back to 1790. The data collected during the census is used in a variety of ways that affect decisions regarding community services provided to residents and the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year. This funding supports local programs for schools, health care, community assistance, infrastructure and other important needs. The census also determines the number of representatives each state will have in Congress.

The census counts every person – both adults and children – living in the United States. This information helps monitor changes in communities and is used to identify and address public service needs such as health care, education, public safety, housing, food, and rural access to broadband.

How to Respond
During the period of March 12-20, 2020, each Alabama household will receive a letter from the U.S. Census Bureau with instructions for how to complete the census. 
The questions are easy to answer and focus on the number of persons living or staying in a household and the basic demographic information about those persons. 
You may respond in one of three ways:
1. Complete it online at www.my2020census.gov.
2. Call the U.S. Census Bureau toll-free 844-330-2020. Telephone assistance is also available in multiple languages.
3. Return the paper form included with your invitation letter (see next paragraph).
Some households, mainly in rural areas, will receive a traditional paper form during the first mailing while other households, mainly in metro areas, will receive an invitation to respond online first. By mid-April, everyone who has not yet responded will receive a paper form. 

Here is a timeline:
• April: Census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.
• May – July: Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.
• December: The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.
Safe and Secure
The census is safe and secure. All the information you provide to the U.S. Census Bureau is confidential and cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. Anyone who violates this law faces severe penalties. The law is found in Title 13 of the U.S. Code.
If you receive something in the mail that resembles a census form, but are unsure, here are a few helpful reminders:
• The U.S. Census Bureau will not mail out letters, invitations or forms related to the 2020 Census until March 12, 2020. 
• Official U.S. Census Bureau letters and surveys, including the 2020 Census, will always be from the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau.
• The U.S. Census Bureau will never ask for a monetary donation, bank account or credit card information.
• If you are unsure about a form, check census.alabama.gov or 2020census.gov. A sample copy of the official 2020 Census form is available on Alabama Counts website.
• If you are still unsure, you may always email Alabama Counts at icount@census.alabama.gov or contact the U.S. Census Bureau’s hotline at 800-923-8282.

Census Bureau Jobs in Alabama
Data from the census affects everyone. We all have something to gain from a full census count.
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. These programs include, Medicaid, Medicare Part B, SNAP, Head Start, Title I grants to local education agencies, pell grants and student loans, Section 8 housing assistance payments and housing choice vouchers, highway planning and construction and community development block grants.

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.
The U.S. Census Bureau is in process of hiring many temporary workers to help complete the census in Alabama. These workers will staff census offices that are expected to open in the state later in 2019 and serve as census takers. The Census Bureau expects to hire for these positions throughout 2019 and into 2020. To apply, go to www.2020census.gov/jobs.

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