Alabama has a lot at stake in the 2020 U.S. Census — from a seat in the U.S. House of Representative to a vote in the Electoral College, as well as federal funds — depending on participation levels and what the results indicate.
The Alabama Counts! 2020 Census Committee
Ivey established the Alabama Counts! 2020 Census Committee that will serve as an advisory group made up of public and private statewide organizations to recommend and implement strategies for raising awareness of the 2020 census. As mandated by the Constitution, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a count of the United States population every 10 years. Starting April 1, 2020, each Alabama household should receive a postcard from the Census Bureau encouraging them to complete their census form online or by phone or to call a number to request a paper form.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs serves as the state’s liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau. Governor Ivey named ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell as chair of the Alabama Counts! 2020 Census Committee. The committee will be divided into subcommittees designed to reach all areas of Alabama. Those subcommittees are: Government, Education, Faith-based Groups, Community-based Groups, Economic Development/Industry, Health Care, Rural and Outreach.
Executive Order 715 tasks the committee with developing a Census Action Plan by Aug. 1, 2019 and taking steps to implement the plan leading up to April 2020.
“Governor Ivey and I understand how critical it is that we do everything in our power to ensure Alabamians are ready to be counted in the 2020 Census,” Director Boswell said. “This committee and its subcommittees will bring some of the best and brightest from all sectors of Alabama together to help the state over the next year and a half.”
The subcommittee chairs will serve as the group’s executive committee and will work with ADECA and the Governor’s Office over the next several weeks to form membership of their subcommittees. The executive committee and its subcommittees will meet regularly in the coming months to develop and implement outreach and education plans targeted to all aspects of Alabama. The committee and ADECA also will work closely with Alabama’s two partnership specialists from the Census Bureau.
The following people will serve as subcommittee chairs:
- GovernmentU.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt/Paul Housel, District Director for Rep. Aderholt
- Education: Eric Mackey, Superintendent of Alabama Department of Education and Jimmy Baker, Chancellor of Alabama Community College System
- Faith-based Groups: Bishop Kyle Searcy, Lead Pastor of Fresh Anointing House of Worship in Montgomery and Rev. Jay Wolf, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Montgomery
- Community-based Groups: Ron Gilbert, Executive Director of Community Action Association of Alabama
- Economic Development/Industry: Steve Spencer, President of Economic Development Partnership of Alabama
- Health Care: Dr. Scott Harris, State Health Officer at Alabama Department of Public Health
- Rural: Paul Pinyan, Executive Director of Alabama Farmers Federation
- Outreach: Kenneth Boswell, ADECA Director and Chair of the Alabama Counts 2020 Census Committee
A recent study by George Washington University indicates the U.S. government returned more than $1,567 to the state in 2015 for every Alabamian counted in the census. More than 100 federal programs use data collected during census counts as part of their formulas to distribute billions of dollars in federal funding to the states. Those programs include Medicaid, Medicare Part B, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Highway Planning and Construction, and Title 1 Grants to Local Education Agencies. Census-derived data also is used to allocate seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and in legislative redistricting.
“The stakes are high for Alabama in the 2020 U.S. Census, and our success depends greatly on our ability to help Alabamians understand the importance of completing and submitting their census forms,” Ivey said. “For that reason, I am forming this committee a full 20 months before the April 1, 2020 census count to bring leaders of many statewide public and private groups together to ensure every Alabamian knows the importance of doing their part and participating in the census. When we all do our duty, we ensure that the state gets our fair share of funding for dozens of critical programs and ensure we maintain fair representation in Congress.”
Preparing for the 2020 Census
ADECA has worked for the past year to help Alabama’s counties and municipalities update the address lists that will be used by the Census Bureau in 2020 to account for new development and other changes. Participation in the process for 2020, known as the Local Update of Census Addresses, more than doubled from 2010. In total, 280 Alabama municipalities and 58 counties are registered to participate in the update process. That represents a 104 percent increase in municipalities and a 128 percent increase in counties over 2010 in which 137 municipalities and 25 counties registered to participate.
ADECA has established a page on its website with information about the upcoming census that will be updated as the Alabama Counts 2020 Census Committee gets up and running. The page is available at www.adeca.alabama.gov/census.