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Census deadline pushed back until October 5

Alabama residents now have until Oct. 5 to respond to the 2020 census.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) — in alignment with Alabama Counts! — announced that the Census Bureau informed the state that it plans to extend 2020 Census until Oct. 5 nationwide.

“This extension will give Census Bureau field workers more time to follow up with Alabama households that have not yet responded to the census. Alabamians may also continue self responding to the census as well,” ADECA director and Alabama Counts! chairman Kenneth Boswell said in a press release. “As the percentage of households that have been counted continues to trek upward, we hope to see additional increases in responses throughout the upcoming week.”

Andalusia mayor Earl Johnson said they have been working hard since the beginning of the count to get people to participate.

“Since the Census Bureau began the 2020 count, we’ve been encouraging people to participate. Now, we’re down to the deadline,” Johnson said. “This Monday, Oct. 5, is the last day to respond. We’re still working with the Census Bureau, and have arranged for a team to work at Andalusia High School’s ballgame Friday night, and to work retail areas in Andalusia on Saturday.”

Johnson said participation matters to Andalusia residents for many reasons.

“Foremost is that population determines the availability of federal grant funding,” Johnson said. “The U.S. government returns approximately $1,500 to the state for every person counted. That funding is for programs like Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), Head Start, Title I grants, Pell grants, housing assistance, highway funding, and CDBG grants.

The Census matters because our count affects how we are heard in Washington.

At present, Alabama has 7 of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. California has 53. With an accurate count, Alabama is in danger of losing one representative. Our state officials fear that an undercount will cost us two members of Congress. It also is important for economic development. We need the magic number of 10,000 residents to get many prospective businesses to even look at us. We believe we were undercounted in 2010 and are trying to get a better response this year.

The information you provide the U.S. Census Bureau about the number of people in your household is confidential. If you have not responded, please do so by going online to www.my2020census.com or calling 844-3030-2020.”

Andalusia is currently ranked 170th in the state in self-response rate at 63 percent.