Three Wiregrass counties could cause 2020 Census problems

Courtesy: MGN
Courtesy: MGN(WIFR)
Published: Jan. 13, 2020 at 5:19 PM CST
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The state could lose up to $13 million in federal funding if Alabamians don't complete the census.

More than half of three Wiregrass county populations live in hard to count neighborhoods which put the Wiregrass at stake to lose funds for education, transportation, social services, and emergency response.

Also at stake, the loss of congressional representation.

“We all think that the hard to count is going to be the homeless people and that sort of thing and while they are there's a lot of people that you and I come across every day that is just not interested in taking it,” says census coordinator Lori Wilcoxon.

60% of Pike County, 66% of Dale County, and 78% of Houston County fall into the hard to count category.

When asked why people choose not to do the census, Wilcox listed several reasons including people thinking the survey takes too long to complete.

“Some of the people I guess since it was a paper census before and because it was a long series and it asked a lot of questions. The survey this year is going to be ten questions. It's ten minutes. It's online,” says Wilcoxon.

Even though the survey can be completed from a phone or computer some still won't because they fear their privacy will be compromised.

“The census will never ask you for a bank account, pin, codes, any information along those lines. They will never ask you for your full social security number,” says Wilcoxon.

Census employees encrypt collected information and swear to a lifetime oath to protect respondents.

“There are people that have the opinion that it's the government trying to spy on them or get information that they shouldn't have or that they will release it to people that don't need that information and that's not true,” says Wilcoxon.

Some simply think the census does not matter. Those who know the impact it has on communities are asked to help change their minds.

“If they can explain to their peers how important this is then by being a trusted voice their more apt to take the census,” says Wilcoxon.

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