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Mayor Tommy Battle and local leaders urge Huntsville community to participate in census

The state of Alabama has a lot to lose if participation is low for the 2020 census. Mayor Tommy Battle and community leaders are urging you to be a part of the ...

The state of Alabama has a lot to lose if participation is low for the 2020 census. Mayor Tommy Battle and community leaders are urging you to be a part of the count.

“Last count we had 180,000 people in the city of Huntsville. But we figure if we had an 88% count, if we’d had 100% we’d be sitting at 198,” said Battle.

Several local leaders in organizations including The Huntsville-Madison Chamber of Commerce, and Huntsville Police Department are pushing census participation.

“We’re depending on them to be our ambassadors, to go out and talk to people in the community and the neighborhoods on the importance of the census,” said Huntsville Complete Count Connie Graham .

The Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama reports the state is at risk for losing a congressional seat or two, and an electoral college vote. Alabama could also lose nearly $13-billion in federal funding.

Although Huntsville is on track to outgrow Birmingham, the state is barely growing in population.

Count Hispanic-Latino Advisory Committee member Ramon Santiago says one of the challenges that lies ahead when it comes to census participation is ensuring the Hispanic community feels comfortable completing the census.

“One of ours for example – is my data going to be shared with other government entities? My message to the Hispanic community is that they can rest-assure that the data that they share with the census taker is not going to be shared with any other agency,” said Santiago.

By mid-March, census invitations will be sent to households across the country.

“It does mean something to the count and the number you apply to your city and to what you do proportionally in your representation and in how you get your federal dollars back into your community,” said Battle.

For more information visit www.census.gov.