The 2020 Census coming out next spring has massive statewide financial and societal implications that will echo for the next 10 years.
That was the uptake from a recent address by Kenneth Boswell, director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, to the Birmingham Business Alliance’s Governmental Affairs Committee.
Boswell discussed the role of ADECA and the Alabama Counts! grassroots and strategic campaigns being implemented to educate Alabamians about the upcoming 2020 Census.
The Census impact can’t be overstated. A recent study by George Washington University found that for each Alabama resident counted, nearly $1,600 was returned from the federal government to the state for programs, including Medicaid, Head Start and highway construction, amounting to more than $13 billion across 55 programs. Without adequate federal funding to cover these programs, other funding may have to be raised to make up the gap, or programs could run the risk of elimination.
If it’s undercounted, Alabama also runs the risk of losing a Congressional seat, because House of Representatives seats are determined by population, Boswell said.
“Without representatives, we [Alabama] won’t get heard,” he said. “Another state will get that representative, and they’ll get heard [in Congress]. Who knows what programs will be cut, defunded or lessened?”
The U.S. Census Bureau will send every household its paperwork in March 2020. In addition to being able to take the Census by phone or on paper, in 2020 there will be new options for completing the Census online using a computer, smartphone or tablet. Census Day is April 1 this year, the target date for all Americans to submit their information.