Alabama closes out census with 99.9% response

Alabama closes out census with 99.9% response
Alabama achieved a 99.9% participation rate in the 2020 Census. (file/Getty Images)

The once-a-decade census is done, and virtually every Alabama household has been counted, thanks to a successful homestretch effort.

The official count of U.S. households officially ended Oct. 15, and when the smoke cleared, 99.9% of Alabama households were counted.

The nearly 100% response rate is on par with 48 other states. And, in the end, Alabamians did a better job of responding to the census than they did a decade ago.

Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday touted the results, which are critical to ensuring Alabama receives its fair share of federal dollars and its rightful representation in Congress.

“Over the past several months, Alabamians have come together during these challenging times … heeding our messages about how vital this count would be to shaping the future of our state,” Ivey said. “We’re hopeful that the spirit of our citizens in this effort will translate into good news for Alabama down the road.”

Kenneth Boswell, director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and chairman of Alabama Counts, the statewide advisory committee for the Alabama’s census effort, also praised the successful outcome, which was far from certain just a few weeks ago.

“Though this year has been challenging for everyone, Alabama Counts is tremendously pleased that we fulfilled our goal of maximum participation among Alabama households in the 2020 census.

(Getty Images)

“Alabama Counts was a group effort of hundreds of people from organizations, governments and businesses throughout the state, and we thank them as well as the census workers for being key to the state reaching such a high participation level,” Boswell said.

At the start of October, Alabamians were lagging behind folks in many other states in responding to the census. But in the final days, census workers in Alabama helped bring the numbers up through phone calls and door-to-door follow-up.

Compared to other regions, the process of following up on nonresponsive households started later in the summer in Alabama and across much of the Southeast.

The 2020 census was the first time that households could self-respond to the national count in three ways: via mail, phone or online. The multiple options helped push up the state’s self-response rate this year to 63.5%, a full percentage point higher than in 2010. The national self-response rate this year was 66.8%, pointing up the importance that the nonresponse follow-up effort played in reaching the 99.9% count in Alabama.

In all, 44.5% of Alabamians responded to the census via internet, vs. 53.4% nationwide. Shelby County had the highest ratio of households in the state responding online, at 70.4%. It also topped all other Alabama counties in the number of households self-responding, at 77.8%. Click here for an interactive map on 2020 census data for each state.

Information from the census is used every 10 years to reapportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as to reapportion and redistrict seats in Alabama’s state House of Representatives, state Senate and for the state school board. The data will be used to allocate an estimated $1.5 trillion in federal spending for the next 10 years.

The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to release updated state population figures at the end of the year. The bureau said that nationwide, the household count from the census topped 99.9%. The poorest performing state was Louisiana, at 98.5%.

For more information about Alabama’s census response, including county breakdowns and rankings, click here.

Related Stories