Georgia, Alabama bringing up the rear in rankings of census completion

Updated: Sep. 20, 2020 at 3:14 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Deep South has a big problem when it comes to census responses this year: the numbers are low.

Georgia and Alabama are at the bottom of the rankings for census response rates. There are a couple of different ways that the census statistics are measured, but only one category that actually matters.

There is the self-response rate for the census, which means people got census info in the mail and then simply filled it out and moved on. Alabama is 62.4 percent and Georgia is at 61.2 percent this category, which is not the worst in the country. Minnesota is still the top in this category at 74 percent.

“All our census takers are going door-to-door right now in communities across the nation to follow-up with those households that haven’t responded. But the big thing to note here is that you can still respond on your own and that will reduce the necessity for a census bureau worker to come to your door,” said Virginia Hyer with the U.S. Census Bureau.

You may see reports that say Alabama and Georgia are in the bottom five of the country for census count.

It is true, and here’s why. The census will follow up with folks who do not respond and that is where the numbers plummet for Alabama and Georgia. Just over 20 percent are responding to the follow up efforts. And when you add the self response rate to the follow up rate, you get Alabama in dead last in the country at 83 percent. Georgia is only three spots higher with 83.9 percent.

“What the census does is tell them who you are and what you need. So it talks about the community you live in, the racial issues that you face, economic concerns, housing needs,” said former Georgia State Representative Stacey Abrams.

Rural states like West Virginia and Idaho are the two national leaders right now, both at 99 percent in the combined categories.

It takes just a few minutes to fill out here. The deadline to fill it out is Sept. 30.

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