our view

In these pandemic times, it’s tempting to put seeming trivialities on the back-burner. Hence, Alabama’s 99.9% household response was no easy feat. The Outlook encourages Alabamians to join it in taking pride in this fact.

Earlier this year, the census seemed doomed to fail. Households made difficult to reach by the pandemic had other priorities to sort. The Census Bureau had to get creative with its outreach, shifting from in-person events to webinars and Twitter chats.

However, 2020 wasn’t just a year of pulling it off, but a year of improvement — Alabama’s self-response was 63.5% this year, up one percentage point from 2010, and a mere 3.3% below the national average.

Participation in our country’s once-a-decade headcount ensures we have the education and infrastructure to support our communities, and proper representation in our government.

It also paints a picture of our changing demographics. From 2000 to 2010, Alexander City became more diverse; Latinos, which made up less than 1% of the population in 2010, grew to roughly 5% in a decade, according to U.S. Census data. And while the overall population suffered a slight decrease, median household income grew by over $5,000.

The better we understand our people, the better the people can be served, which is why a proper count is vital.

On the other hand, we leave room for improvement. Tallapoosa County’s self-response rate lagged slightly below the state’s, at 57.5%, while Shelby County took the cake for Alabama with a 77.8% self-response rate. Households that did not self-report were visited door-to-door by census takers.

In 2030, The Outlook urges its readers to give Shelby County a run for its money. In the meantime, however, Alabamians should be proud of their 99.9% household response in these maddening times.