MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Have you completed your census? If not, state and regional leaders say the time is now.
Alabama currently stands at just under 60% with Census participation. It's behind the national average which is currently more than 62%. Governor Kay Ivey says that just won't do.
"Low participation will reduce federal funding for education, free and reduced-priced school lunches, housing assistance, roads and infrastructure, and health care," says Ivey.
In addition to losing funding for the next decade, at least one congressional district seat is at risk too. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and Alabama Counts! Director, Kenneth Boswell, says they're working to drive up participation since the pandemic has disrupted efforts.
They will observe 'Drop Everything and Get Counted' on August 12th. "We're partnering with those organizations and businesses for a statewide day of action where businesses will allow employees to complete their Census at work," says Boswell.
ADECA will also launch an 'Alabama Census Bowl Competition' in September for low participation counties. "We are actually working with the schools systems and developing those rules as we speak," added Boswell.
Census Bureau Atlanta Region, Assistant Regional Manager Marilyn Stephens says despite the statewide response, some counties have done well.
"Thirteen Alabama counties are above the national response rate that is at 62%," says Stephens.
Madison County has the 2nd highest response rate in the state, close to 72 %. Census takers will begin knocking on doors August 11th.
"Avoid the knock. Avoid the knock. Self respond today," says Stephens.
"Fortunately for all of us this is a marathon and not a sprint, and we must continue doing everything we can to maximize participation for all Alabamians," says Ivey.
If you haven't completed the census, you can online, by phone, or mail. Click here for more information.