Alabama’s total Census response rate now up to 99.9%
The diligent, collaborative efforts across the state of Alabama to increase 2020 Census participation appear to have been effective.
While it remains to be seen whether these efforts will literally pay off when it comes time for congressional reapportionment, it is already apparent that Alabama achieved impressive progress when it comes to the number of Yellowhammer State households enumerated through this year’s Census.
As of Sunday, Alabama’s total Census response rate had reached 99.9%; this number was reached by adding the state’s households that self-responded (63.4%) with the number of households who did not self-respond but were later counted by Census workers on follow-up visits (36.5%).
In doing so, Alabama joined most other states in reaching the 99.9% total response rate milestone. No state has achieved 100%. As of Sunday, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico and South Dakota were the only states with lower response rates; Georgia hit the 99.9% mark on Monday.
The U.S. Census Bureau defines this total rate as: “Of the housing units in your state, this is the percentage enumerated either through self-response or as part of our field data collection operations.”
It should be noted that Alabama was last in the nation for its total response rate until a recent surge. This improvement was partially made possible by the national Census deadline being pushed back from September 30 to October 5 and then again to October 31.
ADECA is the state agency in charge of making sure Alabamians respond to the Census. The “Alabama Counts” branding they created can be seen on signs and advertisements statewide. The department has also led innovative campaigns to increase participation, including the recent Census Bowl.
As reported previously by Yellowhammer News, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) Director Kenneth Boswell explained the prior lag in the state’s response rate came largely because U.S. Census Bureau workers did not begin going door-to-door in Alabama for field data collection until August 15, which was as much as a month later than other states. Boswell advised that was a decision made by the federal government. Alabama’s self-response rate is actually near the national average and better than many states.
In a Monday statement to Yellowhammer News, Boswell said, “Alabama Counts! is pleased that Alabama’s response has risen steadily over the course of the 2020 Census, and we thank all Alabamians who self-participated as well as the census workers who followed up with households that had not yet responded. Those collective efforts helped the state reach 99.9 percent of households accounted by the census bureau.”
“While we will not know the total results of the population data until it is released by the census bureau, this represents a strong showing in our efforts to attain maximum participation,” he added.
It should also be noted that Alabamians are still strongly urged to complete the Census if they have not already done so; the state is still competing with the rest of the nation when it comes to congressional apportionment, Electoral College representation and billions of dollars in federal funds tied to Census participation.
“Alabama Counts reminds everyone that self response is still open through Oct. 31st, so that the 0.1 percent of households can still self-respond,” Boswell concluded.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn