Chambers Co. making final push for Census

Published 8:45 am Tuesday, October 13, 2020

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LaFAYETTE — The U.S. Census received a big setback this spring with the coronavirus shutdown but regained momentum over the summer and fall. Alabama is in dire need of having the best count possible this year.

An undercount could cost the state a congressional seat, plus less federal funding that it should receive over the next ten years.

It’s estimated that the state will lose an estimated $1,600 in funding for every person not counted. That’s $16,000 per person for the next 10 years.

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Local communities depend on information from the Census Bureau to fund programs that promote the wellbeing of families and children as well as equal employment opportunities. The amount of money a given area receives from the federal government on highway projects and healthcare needs is based on Census data.

People who haven’t filled out their census have until Oct. 31 to self-report.

According to the Census website, Chambers County has a 59.3 response rate for the Census. The state of Alabama’s response rate is 63.4 percent.

Chambers County Census Committee Co-chair Sam Bradford said Monday that he and fellow Co-chair Debra Riley have come up with events too, hopefully, increase local Census response rates.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, Bradford, Riley and other leaders will be at Huguley School from 5 to 7 p.m. E.T. in a drive to get better Census participation.

The event will be a drive-thru where attendees can get assistance in filling out the Census.

Every person in the household who is counted will get a barbecue sandwich, chips and a bottle of water.

The whole family doesn’t have to attend to get the sack lunches. Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart will be cooking.

Bradford hopes to do the same thing in LaFayette on Oct. 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. C.T., but details are still being finalized. No location has been announced.

It only takes a couple of minutes to fill out the census form, and the information received is strictly confidential.

Bradford said that he and Riley had recently received information from Yolanda Fears of the Atlanta office on some tracts in Chambers County that had been under-reported. 

Six of the nine tracts received had response rates of less than 60 percent.

“There’s still a lot of people who have not responded,” Fears informed Chambers County Manager Regina Glaze. “Let me know if you need Census employees to come and assist people with competing their questionnaires.”

Bradford said that two of the lowest reporting tracts are on both sides of I-85 between exits 70 and 77.

“There just aren’t many houses in those areas,” Bradford said.

The Census deadline is Oct. 31 after being extended last week.