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U.S. Census Bureau: Alabama to retain 7 congressional seats, local reaction

The U.S Census Bureau on Monday announced the first data release of the 2020 census, and the State of Alabama was able to retain all seven of its seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“This data reveals what we’ve known all along – Alabama is a great state to call home, and many are choosing to do so,” said Gov. Kay Ivey in a press release. “I am extremely pleased that we will keep all seven of our current seats in the U.S. House to provide valued and needed voices to advocate for our state and our people for the next 10 years. Our success in the census was certainly a group effort across the entire state, and I offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who played a part.”

State Representative Debbie Wood told the Valley Times-News she is excited that more people are choosing the state of Alabama as their home.

“Alabama is my home, and I am biased but we have fantastic recreation, lower taxes and good ‘Ole Southern Hospitality. More people are finding our state attractive and choosing to live here,” Wood said. “We have been concerned about the count for some time. We still will not have the information per county until September. All 67 counties have not seen growth so we are anxious about how our districts will need to be adjusted to account for movement across our state.”

Throughout the 2020 Census, Ivey led efforts in alignment with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Alabama Counts! 2020 Census Committee to ensure participation numbers statewide reflected a proper Alabama representation, the press release from the governor’s office said.

ADECA’s efforts started in 2017 and continued with the Alabama Counts! Committee, a dedicated team effort of hundreds of individuals and groups working together since August 2018. The effort included a multifaceted campaign throughout 2020 that included grassroots outreach, public events and advertising. The effort was forced to adjust strategies and tactics several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This was by far the most time and resources that Alabama state government has ever given toward a census count, and I am happy that our efforts and hard work have paid off,” said Kenneth Boswell, chairman of the Alabama Counts! Committee and director of ADECA. “Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Ivey and the dedicated work of all our many partners at all levels, we have succeeded in achieving an accurate count and fair representation.”

Among the state’s key successes in 2020 Census response period were:

  Higher self-response rate than the 2010 Census

  47 counties exceeded their final 2010 self-response rates

  Many Black Belt counties performed at or above 2010 levels

“That is great news. I think it’s about $800 billion year that the census figures are used to divide up money for the states and if we had lost a representative that’d be one less person at the table trying to get Alabama’s part of that $800 billion,” Chambers County Commission Chairman Sam Bradford told the Valley Times-News. “So, it was huge to have one more person at the table.”

Five states did, however, manage to lose a seat in the house, including for the first time in history, the State of California.

The data released on Monday is limited to statewide populations totals only. The more detailed county, city and census tract level data needed for legislative redistricting will be released in August and September, according to the Census Bureau.

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