Huntsville officials address importance of census participation

Huntsville officials address importance of census participation

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The 2020 Census is right around the corner, and Huntsville officials are stressing the importance of participating.

The census could influence the number of Alabama’s congressional seats as well as the proportion of City Council and school board seats per Huntsville resident. Also, nearly $685 billion in federal programs per year will be determined by census results.

Tuesday afternoon, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle gave a news conference with people from organizations that could either gain or lose funding based on census numbers.

“It’s about roads, transit, schools and medical funding,” Battle said. “The number of services – and individuals - impacted by the Census count is far reaching, and it’s why we’re standing together as a community to remind Huntsville residents to be counted and to make sure their friends and family are counted.”

Connie Graham, Huntsville’s Census liaison, explained that the U.S. government bases its allocation of funding for federal programs like Pell grants or the National School Lunch program based on population data received every 10 years from the constitutionally mandated U.S. Census.

“It’s 10 minutes of your time, but those 10 minutes will have 10 years’ worth of impact on shaping your future, on shaping Huntsville’s future,” Graham said.

Officials are especially focusing on participation among minority populations and working to spread awareness about the importance of the census.

Ramon Santiago, chairman for the Hispanic-Latino Advisory Committee and representative for Huntsville’s Complete Count effort, spoke about the need for everyone’s participation, and he gave his remarks in Spanish.

Ramon Santiago discusses the 2020 Census

Officials want to make sure funds get to the communities that need them.

For Census timeline, volunteer opportunities and details on local outreach efforts, visit HuntsvilleAL.gov/Census or email Census@HuntsvilleAL.gov.

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