Editorial: Take three minutes to fill out the census

Editorial: Take three minutes to fill out the census

Alabama is still lagging behind in the responses for the 2020 Census. At best, approximately 57 percent of Alabamians have filled out the form. In 2010, 72 percent of the state filled out the census. Many people probably wonder why the census is important anyway. 

First of all, the census determines the number of seats Alabama gets in the House of Representatives. That means if only half of Alabamians fill out the census, the state could lose the number of representatives in Congress who fight for the state’s interests. The information is also used at the state level government where legislative districts are drawn. 

The information is used to see where communities need new schools, clinics, roads, and services for children, older adults, and families. There are billions of federal dollars available to communities for programs like Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for mental health services, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and so many more. But Alabama won’t get the money it needs if its citizens don’t complete the form. 

At the local level, it can affect which businesses come to East Alabama. If government officials can show potential new businesses that East Alabama has grown significantly over the last 10 years, those businesses are more likely to open or relocate a store in the area. That means more places to shop, more local tax dollars, and an increased quality of life. 

There are no citizenship questions on the census. It doesn’t ask for your social security number. It doesn’t ask for money or donations, political affiliations, or bank account information. It’s simply a count of the people who live in your house and whether or not you own or rent your residence. The form takes maybe three minutes to complete and means a lot in the long-run. 

If you haven’t filled out the form yet, we urge you to go online and complete it. It’s that important. 

Alabamians can participate in the 10-question Census online at www.my2020Census.gov, by phone at 1-844-330-2020 or by paper form — all without coming into contact with a census taker.