U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. Dillingham will travel to Toksook Bay, on an island just off Alaska’s western coast, for the first count on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. Dillingham will travel to Toksook Bay, on an island just off Alaska’s western coast, for the first count on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

Census to end Friday

Alaskans will have until Oct. 16 to fill out the census, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Tuesday.

Alaskans will have until Oct. 16 to fill out the census online, over the phone or by mail, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Tuesday.

The announcement follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday that said the count can stop. The deadline has changed several times this year. Prior to Monday, the deadline was the end of this month.

The census can be completed online at 2020Census.gov until 1:59 a.m. AKST on Oct. 16, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Phone responses will be available on Oct. 15, paper responses must be postmarked by Oct. 15 and nonresponse followup census takers can continue working until the end of the day on Oct. 15.

The census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and happens once a decade, with the resulting data used to inform legislative redistricting, federal funding and business decisions among many other things, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. According to Alaska Counts, a nonpartisan census education initiative, census data is also used to distribute more than $800 billion in federal funding throughout the country annually.

Tim Dillon, the executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, said that as of Tuesday, the borough’s response rate was at 44.0%. The statewide response rate is 54.05%. Soldotna currently has the highest response rate of the borough’s six incorporated communities at 60.1%, while Seldovia has the lowest at 35.2%. Soldotna is followed by Kenai at 56.8%, Kachemak City at 52.5%, Seward at 51.2% and Homer at 49.8%.

In 2010, Alaska had the lowest participation rate of any state in the country at 64%, according to Alaska Counts. An undercount of the state population will lower the amount of federal funds Alaska receives over the next 10 years.

“When Alaskans go uncounted, we all lose out,” the Alaska Counts site says. “Responding to the census helps communities get the funding they need for local public services and helps businesses make data-driven decisions that grow the economy.”

The 2020 census began in Toksook Bay, Alaska in January.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com

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