The decennial U.S. census will shape decisions and structures in our country for the next ten years. Among its many impacts, the census determines electoral districts, funding for services, and civil rights enforcement, making it critical that the people in this country are accurately accounted for. We are already seeing tactics from this administration ― like defunding the census effort ― that would distort the population count, likely excluding people in immigrant communities, Alaskan Natives, communities of color, low-income communities, rural communities, elderly populations, etc.
It’s more important than ever that community members, state agencies, local and national groups support a fully participatory democracy by educating, amplifying organizing, and helping your neighbor around the count.
The census begins in Alaska in January 2020, undercounting Alaska would have devastating consequences for vulnerable communities. Each Alaskan excluded from the final numbers deprives our state of fair representation and vital community resources. In effect, undercounting means Alaska’s Federal dollars will be diverted to communities in the Lower 48.
The census kicks off in Anchorage with an online link for households to fill out their information. Families that fail to register online will likely see a census enumerator on their doorstep to collect information sometime next Summer. If your family has access to reliable internet, it’s important to fill out your information so that census-workers can dedicate their efforts to reaching the hardest-to-count Alaskans.
Ok, the census is important. But what can I do about it?
1. Trust the process and debunk myths in your community about the census. Census data is secure, and it is illegal to attribute any individual census data to a household. Every Alaskan resident – regardless of immigration status – it is encouraged to respond.
2. Fill out your census form. You will NOT receive a census packet in the mail like previous years. Fill out your census form like it’s your PFD — each Alaskan who gets counted earns us a share of our total Federal support. If you do not have access to the internet at home, make sure to utilize your local library.
3. Help a neighbor fill out their form. The effort to count every Alaskan depends on every Alaskan — be a good neighbor & check in with a friend or community member about the census. Your call, text, door knock or a simple conversation could be the reminder they need.
Join us in the effort to #GetOutTheCount. The Census Bureau will translate materials into 12 languages, including Spanish, but with the decrease in funding in the Census Bureau from the current administration they need OUR support in reaching our neighbors and family members.
This effort will take ALL OF US!
The Alaska Center Education Fund
League of Conservation Voters Education Fund
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