On March 12, 2020, the US Census count officially began. Now, six weeks in (and amid the Covid-19 epidemic, the national response rate exceeds 54% while Alabama is just over 52% and our Congressional District 1 is 48.6%. More specifically, in our two-county region, Mobile County currently is at 51% and Baldwin County is at 46.3%. For reference, the two highest Alabama counties are Madison (Huntsville area) at 64.7% and Shelby (Birmingham area) at 66.2%. We can’t let Coastal Alabama get left behind, again.
“We have some work to do. Our colleagues in the other metropolitan areas are significantly ahead of us. We are constantly an afterthought in our state, we must stand up and be counted,” says Wiley Blankenship, President & CEO of Coastal Alabama Partnership.
People can submit the survey online, by mail or by calling 1-844-330-2020 – it takes less than 10 minutes!
It is imperative that our communities participate in the census survey. From infrastructure to education, census data is used to fund billions of dollars around the country. If we do not participate, we could lose support for rural areas, housing for older adults, face reductions in Head Start, vocational rehab programs, children’s health programs and so much more.
“We cannot afford to not participate” said Andrew Levert, VP Policy & Program for Coastal Alabama Partnership. “After the 2010 census, I worked for a Congressman from Louisiana who was slated to lose his congressional district. It is devastating to your state leadership representation in Congress, but also leads to a nasty reapportionment and election battle between members of your state delegation. ”
The Governor has stated her goal is 80% completion rate for Alabama and we are barely halfway there. To encourage participation, the US Census bureau has set up Partnership Specialists around the country and has asked local leaders to form “Complete Count Committees” to encourage residents to respond to the survey.
As a regional voice and advocate, Coastal Alabama Partnership is forming the “Coastal Alabama Counts” committee which will work with regional partners and stakeholders to educate residents on the importance of the census and promote completion of the survey. “From Mobile to Silverhill, we challenge our regional leaders to make the census a priority for our region.”
CAP will work with area chambers, municipalities and civic organizations to distribute promotional materials, as well as, will use its own media (website, social and email) to encourage participation. For more information and to get involved, contact Stacy Wellborn.