Every ten years the census takes a count of everyone living the the United States and St. Clair County officials believe that the census goes beyond just counting residents, it makes a difference within the community.
The results determine the population for our community and can directly impact funding for schools, road repair and community access to healthcare.
Citizens can make a difference by doing their part to complete the census. The Census Bureau will send out mailers in mid-March to every household in the county. Residents have three ways to respond — online, by calling a toll-free number or by requesting a traditional paper form.
Alabama is in jeopardy of losing a congressional seat following the 2020 census. Along with a congressional seat, federal funding health care, housing assistance and infrastructure development are at steak.
As of May 3, Alabama has a 54.6 percent response rate with St. Clair County making up 60.6 percent of that number. In 2010, St. Clair County had a 62.9 percent response rate. Gov. Kay Ivey hopes the state as a whole reaches 80 percent.In order to get the most funding and keep all seven congressional seats, it is vital that every person living in Alabama responds to the census. However, that is not happening.
However, many other counties in Alabama are doing worse than St. Clair, Coosa County has a 25.2 percent response rate. Alabama is the only state projected to lose a seat in the House of Representatives after the Census is completed.
Since the pandemic, Election Clerk Deborah Howard has had to rely on Facebook posts, mail outs, placing signs around the county and word of month about responding to the 2020 census.
While she is “very very pleased” with where the numbers are, she said there is still time to try and reach the goal set for the county of a 90 percent response rate. “With the deadline extended from the end of May to the end of June, this is definitely doable,” Howard said.
Howard gave a breakdown of response rate by municipalities with Springville having the highest response rate at 72.8 percent and Riverside having the lowest at 55.7 percent.
“The stakes are high for Alabama in the 2020 U.S. Census, and our success depends greatly on helping each Alabamian understand the importance of completing and submitting their census forms in the spring of 2020. When we all do our civic 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,” Ivey said.The biggest area of concern right now is Pell City. Sitting at 60.1 percent, Howard believes the city can do better in terms of their response rate. There is a plan in place once the Ivey’s safer-at-home order is lifted to get out into the community and reach those who have not yet responded.