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County residents ‘likely’ to fill out Census forms

More than the majority of Escambia County, Ala. residents are extremely likely to fill out Census forms this year, according to research released Monday by the Alabama Counts! 2020 Census Committee.

The county, which is mostly rural, is 52 percent extremely likely to fill out Census forms for the upcoming Census day on April 1. According to Alabama Counts!, 32 percent of residents are very likely to fill out the forms.

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts a census of the United States every 10 years, going all the way back to 1790, according to the Alabama Counts! website. The data collected during the census is used in a variety of ways that affect decisions regarding community services provided to residents and the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year. This funding supports local programs for schools, health care, community assistance, infrastructure and other important needs. The census also determines the number of representatives each state will have in Congress.

The census counts every person – both adults and children – living in the United States. This information helps monitor changes in communities and is used to identify and address public service needs such as health care, education, public safety, housing, food and rural access to broadband.

On or around April 1, 2020, each Alabama household will receive a postcard from the U.S. Census Bureau with instructions for how to complete the census. You may respond in three ways: online, telephone or traditional paper form.

According to a release, the research was compiled by surveying participants from all of Alabama’s 67 counties, and was commissioned by Alabama Counts! and conducted by Birmingham-based New South Research.

“It’s important for us to understand each county’s odds of participating in the Census as well as accompanying motivations in order to understand how we can increase participation in apathetic areas,” Alabama Counts! Chair and Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) Director Kenneth Boswell said in a release. “We can be more intentional in our outreach and education efforts in areas where we see the biggest need.”

Participants were given eight encouraging factors in influencing their likelihood of Census participation, including options pertaining to congressional representation, civic duty, funding, job growth and partisan redistricting.

The top motivating factor was the potential loss of federal funding, followed by potential relocation of businesses/job opportunities and federal representation.

According to a release, beginning on or around March 13, each Alabama household will receive a postcard from the U.S. Census Bureau with instructions for how to complete the 2020 Census. State residents may respond in three ways: online, telephone or traditional paper form.

The Alabama Counts! 2020 Census Committee is an advisory group composed of public and private statewide organizations committed to working together to ensure each Alabamian is counted in the 2020 Census. Alabama Counts! builds trust in communities and promotes the 2020 Census. Through these efforts, we are striving for maximum participation in every community across the state.

For more information on the Census, visit census.alabama.gov.