Alaska behind in 2020 United States Census response

Alaska is ranked last among the 50 states in its response to the 2020 United States Census, as of Tuesday, Aug. 11. Only Puerto Rico is behind Alaska in its response to the census, according to Jeanette Duran Pacheco, media specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau regional office in Los Angeles.

According to data from the United States Census Bureau, as of Tuesday, 50.1 percent of Alaskans have completed the 2020 Census. Petersburg residents are aligned with the state's participation rate, with 50.4 percent of local residents having responded to the census. The participation rate in Wrangell is below the statewide percentage at just 38.4 percent.

Alaska receives about $3.2 to $3.8 billion per year in census driven federal programs, according to Pacheco. A one percent undercount of Alaska's population results in a loss of $250 million in over ten years, said Pacheco.

"Participating in the Census means you are claiming your community's fair share of federal funding," said Pacheco in an email to the Sentinel.

Each name that the census registers translates to about $40,000 in federal funding for the individual's community, according to Rain Coast Data, a Southeast Alaska research firm.

A 2019 report written by Professor Andrew Reamer, of George Washington University, found that Alaska collected nearly $3.2 billion in the 2016 fiscal year from 55 different federal programs. The federal government relied on data from the 2010 census to determine that amount, according to the report. About $1.2 billion, the largest portion of the funding, went towards Medicaid. Federal funding also went towards school lunch programs, business and industry loans, crime victim assistance, childcare and development, career training and low income housing.

As of Tuesday, 98 million households, about 63 percent of all households in the nation, have responded to the 2020 Census, said Pacheco. The deadline to respond to the census is Sept. 30. Residents can respond online at, by mail or by phone at 844-330-2020.

"Don't wait for a census taker to knock on your door," said Pacheco.


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