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As one of the hardest to count states in the country, and a recipient of $3.2 billion in Census-based federal funding each year, ensuring a fair and accurate count of all Alaskans in the 2020 Census and the annual American Community Survey (ACS) is important for anyone who calls Alaska home. For this reason, Foraker has convened the Alaska Census Working Group (What is the Alaska Census Working Group?)
Consider the ways Alaska uses census data:
In 2020, as in past censuses, many areas of Alaska will require special in-person counting methods used only in the country’s most difficult-to-reach areas. Even areas with high response rates will require costly in-person follow-up due to the state’s geography. Importantly, certain areas and groups of people are especially at risk of an undercount in Alaska, namely rural areas and those with large Alaska Native populations. According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the 2010 Census undercounted American Indians and Alaska Natives living on reservations by 4.9% percent and undercounted Alaskans in the state’s special-enumeration districts by almost 8%.
Sufficient state and federal resources are vital to ensuring that all Alaskans are counted in 2020. While the current federal budget contains significant resources for the 2020 Census, it is important to ensure that the dollars are spent well, and that adequate resources are dedicated to our “difficult to count” state. Failure to sufficiently fund the 2020 Census in the next two fiscal years leading up to the 2020 count could have serious consequences for our state.
An undercount of Alaskans in the 2020 Census means:
While much of the early focus of the working group has been on building awareness of the importance of a fair and accurate count among local, state, and federal policy makers, our focus is shifting to ensuring the U.S. Census Bureau uses counting methods that recognize the uniqueness of Alaska.
We urge you to learn everything you can about the 2020 Census and the American Community Survey, and prepare to advocate for them. If you have questions, please contact Mike Walsh, Vice President/Director of Public Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.