Chambers Commission forced to cancel census events

Published 11:00 am Saturday, October 17, 2020

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A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week ended the U.S. Census at 6 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 15.

The earlier deadline means some local events planned for next week won’t be taking place.

The Chambers County Commission had planned on having drive-through events at Huguley Elementary School on Tuesday and a similar event in LaFayette on Thursday.

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“With this ruling, we won’t be able to have the Census promotions we had planned for Oct. 20 and 22,” Chambers County Census Committee Co-chair Sam Bradford told The Valley Times-News.

With Alabama being on the bubble in terms of possibly losing representation in Congress, every area of the state needs as good a count as possible. Unfortunately, the state may be falling short of that goal. Chambers County’s numbers matter, too. The portion of federal funding received by any part of the U.S. is determined by Census data. The better the count, the better the funding. The opposite is also true: the more lacking the count the lesser the funding.

For every person missed, the local area will lose an estimated $1,600 for that uncounted person or $16,000 over a ten-year period.

It becomes especially painful when hundreds of people are missed. That may have happened this year, as  Chambers County finished with a self-response rate of 59.3 percent.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday that Alabama finished with an overall household response of 99.9 percent. According to a press release from the governor’s office, 63.5 percent of that total were self respondents, an improvement from the 201o self-response rate of 62.5 percent.

“Over the past several months, Alabamians have come together during these challenging times to complete their 2020 Census, 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.”

The response rate includes only the percentage of households accounted for, not the number of people living in those households.

The U.S. Census Bureau will release the total statewide population figures for Alabama and all other states in the coming months, currently scheduled for Dec. 31. These figures will determine congressional reapportionment.

Chambers County is currently at a 59.4 percent response rate. Valley is at 61.7 percent, Lanett is at 57.7 percent and Cusseta is at 57.5 percent. LaFayette is at 52.9 percent.