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2020 Census nears end

Editor’s note: After this article was written, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Sept. 25 preventing the census from winding down by Sept. 30, a month before the earlier scheduled completion date of Oct. 31, and barred officials from delivering completed population data to the White House Dec. 31 rather than the April 2021 delivery date that had previously been set. As the census deadline debate continues to develop, the Franklin County Times will continue to share updated information.

The 2020 Census response period is coming to a close, and Franklin County officials are looking to make last-minute efforts to improve numbers.

The census, response period for which ends on the last day of September, will affect funding throughout the state and county for the next 10 years.

“I don’t think people realize how much could get cut if numbers are not where they should be,” said Franklin County Census Committee Member Katernia Cole Coffey.

The census is used to determine how many people are living in a household. The completion rate is the number of households that have completed the census.

Coffey said she does not know the exact percentage Franklin County is at right now because there are several forms that still need to be accounted for in the data.

As of Aug. 28, Phil Campbell had the highest percentage with 67 percent, and Red Bay had the lowest with 52 percent.

Franklin County Census Senior Coordinator Dick Rowland said he estimates numbers are around 80 percent because of the efforts made in schools to increase census participation.

“The schools have done a lot to help get numbers up,” Rowland said. “Children were able to take forms to their parents to get them to fill it out.”

Despite the final efforts to increase response rate, Alabama has the lowest response percentage in the country.

“Everyone has taken a hit from COVID with getting numbers up, but I think people don’t realize how serious this is,” Coffey said.

Coffey said if Alabama does not get its rates up, the state risks potentially losing a congressional district.

“Even if you don’t necessarily agree with your congressman, any voice is still better than no voice,” Coffey said.

She said she encourages everyone to fill out their census and encourage others around them to do the same.

“This census doesn’t just affect you,” Coffey said. “Do your part and think about the future of this state and the future of Franklin County.”

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