In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau is adjusting 2020 Census operations to protect the health and safety of the American public and Census Bureau employees.
The adjustment is set to help implement guidance from federal, state and local authorities while ensuring a complete and accurate count of all communities.
Gov. Kay Ivey continues stressing the importance of the 2020 Census and its impact in Alabama.
“It is an unprecedented time in Alabama; however, we must remain committed to Census participation,” she said in a statement released on April 1st.
U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham had suspended 2020 Census field operations from March through April 1 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
A joint statement released in mid-April by Dillingham and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stated steps are being taken to reactivate field offices beginning June 1, 2020, in preparation for the resumption of field data collection operations.
2020 Census Mobile Questionnaire Assistant Ken Mayo said August 1 is the estimated date for field operations to start up again.
“Less than half of the returns sent out have been responded to,” he said.
According to Ross and Dillingham, in-person activities, including all interaction with the public, enumeration, office work and processing activities, will incorporate the most current guidance to promote the health and safety of staff and the public. This will include recommended personal protective equipment and social distancing practices.
To ensure the completeness and accuracy of the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau is seeking statutory relief from Congress of 120 additional calendar days to deliver final apportionment counts.
“Under this plan, the Census Bureau would extend the window for field data collection and self-response to October 31, 2020,” said Ross and Dillingham.
According to census.alabama.gov, if Alabama’s count falls shy of the 72 percent participation rate recorded in the 2010 Census, the state would likely experience reduced representation in Congress, the loss of millions of dollars in Census-derived community funding and reduced economic development opportunities. The response rate, as of Friday, May 1, 2020, for Alabama, is at 52.8 percent.
According to data provided by 2020census.gov, Alabama is currently ranked 29th in response rate, with Shelby County having the highest response at 66.4 percent.
“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 need during critical times in the future,” said Gov. Ivey.
All participants’ information is protected by strict federal law. The 10-question Census can be answered by filling out the paper form that has been sent out or by calling 1-844-330-2020.
Participants may also reply online by visiting my2020census.gov.
On the home page, press the start here (respond) button that will lead you to your questionnaire.
The welcome screen will provide you with some bits of information, including the “quick and eases” of completion and let you know the process takes about 10 minutes to complete.
To log-in, it will ask you for your 12-digit Census ID that is located on the materials that were mailed to your residence.
If you do not have that information, there is also a link at the bottom of the login button that reads, “if you do not have a Census ID, click here.”
Through that link, you will verify your complete address and name before beginning your questionnaire.
The census wants to know basic information about the people living in or staying in your household on April 1, 2020.
• How many people are living or staying in your household and the relationship of each person.
• Whether the home is owned or rented.
• About the age and sex of each person in your home.
• About the race of each person in your home and specifically whether a person in your home is of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.
The information is used to create estimates about families, households and other groups for planning and funding government programs that support families, including people raising children alone. These responses help create statistics about ethnic groups needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions.