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Cherokee County drastically below participation averages for Census 2020

 

Centre, Ala. – Johnny Baker, co-chairman of the local Complete Count Committee, said Cherokee County has one of the lowest participation rates for Census 2020 at 38.3 percent.

“Census participation in Cherokee County is drastically below the national average of 57.3 percent as well as the state percentage at 55.4 percent,” he said. “I encourage all residents in Cherokee County to complete the Census form as soon as possible. We all need to be a part of democracy. It is a simple civic duty to ensure that you and those who resident with you are being counted.”

Participation percentages for nearby counties are 55.4 percent in Etowah, 57.5 percent in Calhoun and 50.6 percent in Cleburne. The participation rate of those living in the Centre city limits is 55.1 percent.

“When the Census was conducted in 2010, 72 percent of Alabamians participated,” he said. “If we see that participation percentage decrease in 2020, we are risking a potential congressional seat as well as over $13 billion in federal funding. That’s approximately $1,600 per person in Alabama.”

Census data drives funding that is used for assistance programs that support children, education, health care, rural development and more.   “Completing the Census will ensure that our state and communities will receive our fair share of funding,” he said.

A few of the programs in Alabama supported by federal dollars include school lunch programs, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, Section 8 housing, community services block grants and dislocated worker grants.

 “If the funding for those services and programs is not reallocated by the federal government due to low census participation, our local and state governments will have to find the money elsewhere or discontinue important programs,” Baker said.  

The Alabama Counts Committee previously reported that the state is at risk of losing a congressional seat due to projected slow growth.

“We could see the representation of Alabama’s values decrease at the federal level,” Baker said. “Now more than ever, during the pandemic, we can see the importance of having an advocate for Alabama during critical times.”

Census packets were mailed to Alabama homes in mid-March. The form has 10 questions and typically takes six minutes or less to complete. Residents are encouraged to complete the form and mail it. The form can also be completed online via computer or smartphone at my2020census.gov. Residents can also call 844-330-2020 to complete the form over the phone with a Census Bureau employee or they can request a packet be mailed to their home.

“The details you submit through the Census are private and will not be used against you and will not be used for any other purpose,” Baker said. “It is strictly against the law for any of your information to be shared with or used by another agency.”

He said he hopes the reassurance of confidentiality will encourage maximum participation.

“I want everyone to take the time to complete the Census form,” he said. “Be counted. Show that Alabama counts through your participation in the Census.”

The deadline to complete the Census form is Oct. 31. Census takers will conduct nonresponse follow-ups beginning Aug. 11. For more information about Census 2020, go to census.alabama.gov.

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