A map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is proving to be a useful tool for county officials trying to ferret out as many residents as possible to be counted in the 2020 Census.
“We were lacking information in terms of the demographics, and information that the census does a very good job of providing was also the target area as outlined by the CDC,” Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Zach Hood said. “The map that identified areas we needed to target in terms of getting information …. The last census information from those particular areas was lacking the census to be completed and submitted for whatever reason. The two maps almost identically align.”
Hood and Baldwin County Public Information Officer Sherry-Lea Bloodworth Botop are joining forces to help the county get as many residents as possible to participate in the 2020 Census. One of Botop’s first tasks when she took the job earlier this year was to go after a grant to help fund an effort to get out in hard-to-reach places to make residents aware of the count and its importance to the county.
“We’re primarily targeting aging population, people with disabilities, people with young children,” Botop said. “Part of that work will be outreach to the schools, at festivals and to our migrant population. They’re a very difficult-to-reach population and, of course, there’s always an issue of trust between government and those populations.”
Botop said EMA, through day-to-day operations, is involved with those populations that are being targeted with the grant money, so they are joining forces in the effort.
“[We’re] reaching them through activities in places that they already have relationships,” Botop said. “For example, EMA because staff have been working with them for a while now and have built that trust and that will help us ensure that they report.”
The grant is part of a $1 million statewide grant administered through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs with help from Gov. Kay Ivey. The governor spoke to a group of county commissioners in August in Orange Beach about the importance of getting as complete a count as possible. Each city in the state was asked to form Complete Count Committees to encourage participation from their citizens.
“Let me just put it into perspective,” Ivey told the group. “If we participate at the rate we did in 2000 we will lose two congressional seats. If we participate at the rate we did in 2010 during the census we’ll still lose one seat. We must absolutely raise the level of participation to at least 80 percent of our people so that we can retain our federal funding at the level we have now and also maintain our congressional representation.”
Hood said locally the population count was important to helping EMA develop strategies on handling emergencies and especially evacuations. Right now, at the height of the tourist season, it would take 16 to 18 hours to get everyone out. With the new census numbers, EMA will conduct another evacuation study to see if that number changes.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.
It looks like you are opening this page from the Facebook App. This article needs to be opened in the browser.
iOS: Tap the three dots in the top right, then tap on "Open in Safari".
Android: Tap the Settings icon (it looks like three horizontal lines), then tap App Settings, then toggle the "Open links externally" setting to On (it should turn from gray to blue).