Today, April 1st, is Census Day across the United States, and the city of Tuscaloosa is relying on its residents to promptly and accurately participate and be counted at their earliest opportunity.

Simply put, the census is a mandatory count of each person living in the United States which is held every 10 years. Those figures are then used to decide how a state should be represented in the government, how much it should receive in federal funding and grants and much more.

 

Data gathered from the 2010 census led to more than $13 billion in federal funding being spent in the state of Alabama.

An accurate county also has a major local impact -- Tuscaloosa mayor Walt Maddox said in 2015, the city was given $1,600 in federal funds for each of the city's 100,000 residents. That's $160 million in funding that all depends on an accurate count each census.

“Federal funding benefits all of us by assisting with our education, infrastructure, healthcare opportunities, future business growth and more,” Maddox said.

 

Policy experts also warn that Alabama is at risk of losing one of its seven seats in the US House of Representatives, which would lessen the state's voice in presidential elections, policy decisions and more.

This year's census is even stranger because of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, but even if they've left campus and gone somewhere else, University of Alabama students who live locally during the school year should mark Tuscaloosa as their place of residence since that is where they spend the majority of the calendar year.

For the first time this year, the Census is available to complete online. It can also be completed by mail or over the phone. Residents are encouraged to learn more and complete their census today at 2020Census.gov.

“I appeal to each and every resident of Tuscaloosa to take the 10 minutes to represent yourself, your family and your community, and be counted in the 2020 census.” Maddox said. “Tuscaloosa is counting on you.”