Published October 2019
The 2020 Census will start in Toksook Bay, Alaska, on January 21, 2020. This once-a-decade population count determines how much funding our communities receive for local services, provides data that inform businesses that grow our economy, and helps determine our state’s legislative districts.
We have 3.2 billion reasons to care about the census – that’s how many federal dollars flow into Alaska each year based on census data. When Alaskans go uncounted, we all lose out. Responding to the census helps communities get the funding they need for local public services and helps businesses make data-driven decisions that grow the economy. The census determines the resources that go to Alaska to help build roads and infrastructure, support hospitals, and deliver public services to children, veterans, seniors and families.
During this once-in-a-decade effort to count the U.S. population, the United States Census Bureau calculates a participation rate for each area, or the percentage of questionnaires mailed back by households that received them. In 2010, Alaska had the lowest participation rate in the nation at 64 percent. Thinking about it another way, that means over one-third of Alaskans DID NOT respond upon the Census Bureau’s first invitation to participate.
A similar undercount of our state in 2020 means Alaska will not receive its full share of federal funding for the following 10 years. In the face of increasing state and local budget constraints, we cannot afford an undercount in 2020. Find out more about why the census matters for Alaska and how you can help at www.alaskacounts.org.