ICYMI: The 2020 Census is underway after beginning in Toksook Bay. Make sure you are counted for funding for our communities, our hospitals and our state!

January 27, 2020
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On Jan. 21, Lizzie Chimiugak, an Elder from Toksook Bay, was the first person counted in the 2020 U.S. Census: Toksook Bay elder is first person counted in 2020 US census.

Now the 2020 Census is officially underway, the counting began with residents in rural Alaska. This once-a-decade population count is used as the basis for distributing more than $800 billion in federal funds annually to states, boroughs, and communities to support resources such as schools, hospitals and fire departments. State legislative districts and local political boundaries are redrawn using census data, and these data also inform business decisions, policy, community initiatives, and consumer advocacy.

ANTHC encourages every Alaskan to participate in the 2020 Census. Hospitals, clinics and other health programs across the state rely on accurate data from the census to receive adequate financial assistance to provide care to uninsured, low-income children (Denali KidCare/CHIP), pregnant women, and seniors who meet income requirements, Alaskans age 65 or over, and those with certain disabilities.

Early counting in Alaska means our state receives full population share of federal funding

As the country’s largest and least densely populated state, Alaska has one of the hardest populations to count. But an accurate count is vital; an undercount of Alaskans means our state fails to receive its full population share of federal resources.

In 2010, Alaska had the lowest participation rate in the nation at 64 percent. To put it another way, that means more than one-third of Alaskans did not respond to the Census Bureau’s first invitation to participate. A similar undercount of our state population 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.

How to be counted in the census

Local census takers, or enumerators, will start counting Alaskans in villages and rural Alaska communities in January 2020. Residents of Anchorage, Fairbanks and other large Alaska cities will respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or mail in mid-March. Participation in the census is required by law.

Alaskans will be invited to respond to the 2020 Census in a variety of ways. The Census Bureau counts everyone in the United States on the ground where they live.

2020 Census timeline:

  • Jan. 21, 2020: The census begins in Toksook Bay.
  • Jan. 21 – Feb. 17: Western Alaska counted in person.
  • Feb. 18 – March 17: Interior and Eastern Alaska counted in person.
  • March 18 – April 30: North Slope and Aleutians counted in person.
  • March 2020: Online self-response and additional in-person counting begins.
  • April 1, 2020 / National 2020 Census Day: Non-response follow-up begins for households that didn’t submit a census form.

Mini-grants available for organizations supporting census outreach

Through Alaska Counts, a mini-grant program opportunity is open to organizations across the state to apply for up to $250 to conduct local census outreach in their own community. Any nonprofit, government organization, regional housing authority, school, Tribal organization, or Tribe in the state of Alaska is eligible to apply for a mini-grant. Visit https://alaskacounts.org/minigrants for more information.

More information is available from Alaska Counts throughout 2020 Census. Alaska Counts is a nonpartisan education initiative to inform public, private, nonprofit and Alaska Native entities representing the interests of people around the state about the 2020 Census.

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