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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The 2020 Census deadline has been extended to October 31st because of COVID-19. For Madison and other North Alabama counties, the extension comes at an important time.

Madison County is at 70.1 percent for self-reporting for the 2020 census. Which now exceeds the county’s 69.9 percent self-response rate in 2010.  However, Madison County’s population has increased 6.8 percent in the last decade, meaning more responses are needed to make up the difference.  

“If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your children, your grandchildren,” said Kenneth Boswell, the chairman of Alabama Counts. Boswell is also director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

As you may know by now, census data determines how federal money gets spread across the country.

“The funds are actually going to help education. It’s going to help healthcare. It’s going to help highway infrastructure,” said Boswell.

Alabama is doing better than most Southern states when it comes to 2020 census returns. However, the state is behind the national return rate average of 60.3%, posting a rate of 58.3 percent.

Madison and Limestone Counties between 2018-2019 saw more than 8,000 people move in. Boswell says more people need to be counted in order to support the growth. If you add in the financial hit of the COVID-19 global pandemic, better census data could help local governments recover.

“Those (the budgets) can be jeopardized if we don’t get those numbers up so we can continue to get that funding especially to those cities that are aggressive in recruiting industry,” said Boswell.

Despite the pandemic, census workers have been dropping material off at houses. Boswell says workers are currently undergoing training before they start knocking on doors in August. The on-foot approach is meant to count people who have still not completed the survey.

The door-to-door workers will wear PPE.

For more information on how to take the 2020 census, click here.