DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- The 2020 Census is quickly approaching and this one is as important as ever.
"The census is only done once every 10 years, so whatever we get out of the 2020 Census, we basically have to live with for the next 10 years," said Voices for Alabama's Children, Deputy Director Rhonda Mann.
Alabama only received 72% of 2010 Census forms returned that were mailed to residents in 2010. And if that return percentage repeats itself the state could possibly lose a U.S. Representative in 2022.
Alabama also missed out on more than $130 million in just five of the many federally-funded programs for children and families.
"Lots of federal programs use census data for the distribution of the tax dollars that come in to the federal government so we want to make sure that Alabama gets all the tax dollars that it's entitled to," said Mann.
This not only affects tax dollars but the opening and closing of schools.
"We need to know what age everybody is because they are certain needs that need to be met," said Mann.
According to Voices for Alabama's Children, more than 17,000 children under the age of five were not counted in the 2010 Census for Alabama.
Some Wiregrass organizations are trying to make sure that does not happen again.
"I'm going to do my part in those counties and our locations to do that, but I'm also going to encourage other Boys and Girls Clubs to do the same. And, I'm sure they will to get as much information about doing the census and why it is so important," said Wiregrass Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Phillip Gilley.
Gilley's going to start with using the resources the Boys and Girls Clubs offer.
"I have a computer lab and if they need to come in and find some time on the computer for our families to do that, we will be more than happy to do that," said Gilley
Census forms will be mailed in the middle of March and National Census Day will be April 1st.
The 2020 Census will offer online or over the phone responses as options for the first time.
The Census Bureau is expected to announce the new population count on December 31st 2020.