Citizens encouraged to complete census

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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Soon the city will be lined with Census 2020 signs. On Mon., the city council approved the temporary placing of Census 2020 signs on the city right of way to encourage citizens to participate.

As of today, there are 48 days until the official Census begins for the state. According to the United States Constitution, this count is required every ten years to count every living person in the U.S. today.

Having an accurate census count is vital to many programs that affect the city and state. In Dec. 2019, Gov. Kay Ivey allotted $1 million for the census outreach. During the press conference, Ivey stated, “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of what a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census means for Alabama. Those numbers have a direct impact on billions of dollars in funding that affect schools, community programs, health care, job opportunities and just about every other aspect of our state.”

Addressing this issue locally, Steve Layton, public lands manager for the city of Brewton, shared more information about the census with the council during the meeting. Layton explained, “Everyone will start seeing mailings that will come to their home and in that mailing, it will be given a number that corresponds with your address. From that mailing, you will be able to do the census by phone keying it in, phone call, or by going online.”

A historic census, this will be the first time, a census has ever included an online component.

Layton shared, “This will be the first time it has ever been done online.  If you are not able to do that, then you will receive a paper form in the mail as well.”

There will be a cut off date as well. “If you do not accomplish any of those tasks before the census closes, they will have someone knocking on your door,” said Layton.

As far as the online survey of the census, the whole process should take no longer than 6 minutes.

Starting March 12, 2020, each Alabama household will receive a postcard from the U.S. Census Bureau with instructions for how to complete the census. You may respond in three ways: online, telephone or traditional paper form.

Some households, mainly in rural areas, will receive a traditional paper form during the first mailing while other households, mainly in metro areas, will receive an invitation to respond online first. By mid-April, everyone who has not yet responded will receive a paper form.

The timeline for the Census 2020 is as follows:

March 12 – 20: Households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail.

March 30 – April 1: The Census Bureau will count people who are experiencing homelessness over these three days. As part of this process, the Census Bureau counts people in shelters, at soup kitchens and mobile food vans, on the streets, and at non-sheltered, outdoor locations such as tent encampments.

April 1: Census Day is observed nationwide. By this date, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census.

April: Census takers will begin visiting college students who live on campus, people living in senior centers, and others who live among large groups of people. Census takers also begin conducting quality check interviews to help ensure an accurate count.

May – July: Census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t responded to the 2020 Census to help make sure everyone is counted.

December: The Census Bureau will deliver apportionment counts to the President and Congress as required by law.

In regard to the census, Mayor Yank Lovelace spoke of its importance at the meeting. “It couldn’t be any more important for the city than this year.”

Affirming his statement, Layton added, “You are looking at an amount of $13 billion that has to be distributed. What we receive is based on that count. It is of the utmost importance that everyone be counted.”