Special to the
Opelika Observer
By Katie Nichols

A partnership between the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) will allow county residents to complete 2020 census forms online in Extension offices.
Grant funding allocated through ADECA by Gov. Kay Ivey will equip Alabama Extension offices to offer the use of Chromebooks in each county for local residents to complete census forms online.
Gary Lemme, director of Alabama Extension, said extension has the ability to reach broad audiences to make sure each family in Alabama is properly accounted for.
“This partnership with ADECA is an excellent opportunity for Alabama Extension on the state level, but especially within individual counties,” Lemme said. “County Coordinators have relationships with community members that will hopefully provide insight into the importance of the census, as well as provide more opportunities for community partnership in the future.”
Why It Matters
Every 10 years the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a nationwide census. Most citizens are aware of the funding allotted based on the number of individuals counted in a given area. Others know about the money set aside for infrastructure. However, many are unaware that census numbers affect much more than federal funding and county infrastructure.
According to ADECA, there is much at stake for the state with the completion of the 2020 census. ADECA reports that the state’s slowed population growth puts Alabama in danger of losing at least one of the seven congressional seats. There is the potential to lose more.
The risk of loss of federal funding that benefits families, children and communities is also high on the list. Participation in the census can help Alabamians take a stand to protect valuable resources, including:
-police and fire departments
-roads and bridges
How is Alabama Extension Helping
Alabama Extension is committed to helping the upcoming census be the most successful and accurate in Alabama history.
Matthew Ulmer, an Alabama Extension community workforce, leadership and development specialist, said Alabama has an abundance of areas considered “hard to reach” by census officials.
“We plan to work with county coordinators to conduct county-specific programming and campaigns throughout the duration of the census collection period,” Ulmer said. “The use of a Chromebook in each county office will ensure a private spot for community members to come and participate in the census in a secure environment.”
County-specific details may not be immediately available. However, each county will begin advertising local census events when details are finalized.
More Information
Contact your county Extension office for more information about the Census kick-off event in your area.
Interested citizens may also find additional information about the census by visiting www.census.alabama.gov.