2020 Census Committee Meeting

2020 Census Committee Meeting

The AAR Public Policy team attended the first meeting of the Alabama Counts! 2020 Census Committee on September 6, 2018.

Committee Background

The purpose of the Alabama Counts! 2020 Census Committee is to publicize the 2020 national census and educate Alabamians on the importance of participation in the census with the goal of maximizing Alabamians’ participation. The national census is conducted once every 10 years across the country. The federal government uses the information obtained from the census for planning, funding of federal programs, and to reapportion congressional seats in Congress.

Early mid-term population estimates show that although Alabama has had modest growth from 2010 to present, we have not grown as fast as most neighboring states. With many across the state concerned that Alabama’s small population growth will cause Alabama to lose a congressional seat and decrease federal funding to the state, Governor Ivey created the Alabama Counts! 2020 Census Committee.  The committee is being chaired by Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director Kenneth Boswell.

Summary of the Committee Meeting

Director Boswell opened the committee meeting with assistance from Mike Presley, ADECA Communications and External Affairs Unit Chief, as well as Vicki Mack, Partnership Specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau. Boswell, Presley, and Mack all provided insight as to how the 2020 census will actually be conducted and the importance of maximum participation by Alabamians. Here are a few key takeaways from the meeting:

  • Participation Needs to Increase: In the 2010 census, Alabama had a 72% participation rate. It is estimated that in order to retain Alabama’s seven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, Alabama will need above a 90% participation rate in the 2020 census.
  • Federal Dollars at Risk: For every person counted in the census, Alabama receives nearly $1,600 in federal funds, which is another important reason for maximum participation.
  • Planning Ahead: The committee has a proposed plan of action to raise public awareness for the 2020 census. The plan consists largely of a grassroots campaign focusing on areas of the state that had low participation percentages in the 2010 census, including pockets of metropolitan areas and the Black Belt.
  • Census Mostly Online: The 2020 census will be mostly an online process, but paper forms will be available upon request. If neither of these avenues are convenient, participation by phone will also be an option. Because of the push for online participation, the committee and subcommittees are developing plans to provide information regarding locations that provide free internet service to Alabamians who do not have access to internet at home. Additionally, Mack stated that the 2020 census form could be completed using any smart device.
  • Census Jobs: The 2020 census will create thousands of jobs. Many of these jobs will be part-time, but there will also be full-time jobs with benefits available. Information on these jobs can be found here.

The AAR Public Policy team will continue to monitor state regulatory agencies for potential impacts on REALTOR® members, the real estate industry and private property owners.