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Alaska’s response rate to the 2020 census is among the lowest in the country

2020 census
2020 census(Gray tv)
Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 3:47 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The state of Alaska right now is trending the lowest in the country in regards to response rate to the 2020 census.

During a U.S. Census Bureau news conference held Tuesday afternoon, it was announced the response rate to the Census is 49%, this number is for Alaska but doesn’t include the remote Alaska response.

Looking at data from 2020census.gov which breaks down response rates by county in the state, the response rate in the Southeast Fairbanks area is among the lowest in the state at around 20%. Compared to Anchorage and Juneau who have an above 60% response rate.

“There is quite a bit of work to do,” said Donna Bach, Tribal Partnership Specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau.

Currently, the 2020 Census is in the self-response phase. this means people are being asked to respond to the census online, by phone or mail in their responses. As of July 28, 62.6 % of the nation has responded.

Following the self-response phase will be the Nonresponse Followup Operation in which census takers will be going door-to-door. This will take place starting Aug. 11 and go until Oct. 31.

On the call, it was repeated multiple times that census takers will be following social distance protocols, including all applicable state and local requirements regarding health and safety, and they will wear masks.

If you completed your census by phone, online, or submitted your questionnaire, you don’t have to do it again.

“The only instance in which we may have to revisit someone who has already submitted response is if for some reason they may have an address, and this particularly happens in Indian country since we don’t have standard addressing, so if they have an address we aren’t able to verify we may have to send a census worker to that household,” Jessica Imotichey, tribal partnership coordinator for the L.A. Region, U.S. Census Bureau, said.

Robin Thundershield with the California Native Vote Project summed up why the 2020 Census is important to Indian Country.

“For far too long our tribal communities have been overlooked and undercounted, and this census is a great opportunity to educate our tribal communities. What the census is and why it is important to participate. One really great reason to participate in this census is funding. There are a lot of federally funded programs that our tribal communities are familiar with....(for example) Indian Health Services and Native Amerian employment and training programs.”

The census also impacts funding for schools and education, public transportation, housing assistance and child and food assistance programs.

The deadline to complete the 2020 Census is Oct. 31.

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