THE 2020 U.S. CENSUS: ALASKA NATIVES COUNT

The 2020 Census is more than a population count. It’s an opportunity to shape the future of the Alaska Native community. Please help us ensure Native communities, families, and individuals are accurately counted by following three easy steps. Billions of federal dollars are at stake. #AlaskaNativesCount #ThreeSteps

Click here to download the flyer to share with your community

Step 1: Fill out the form

Did you know that the U.S. Constitution requires a census of the population every 10 years? Or that the form has less than 10 questions (most of which are so basic that it’ll take you about 10 minutes to complete)? Or that by filling out the census form you’ll help determine how billions of federal dollars are spent over the next 10 years? YES, YES, and YES! This is why it’s so important for Alaska Natives to participate in the 2020 Census. Please fill out the form.

  • Alaska receives almost $3.5 billion dollars annually in based on census data.
  • If you’re Alaska Native, but you’re not counted, your community could lose almost $3,500 annually for tribal programs such as Head Start, SNAP, TANF, and WIC.
  • If a Native family of four isn’t counted, your community could lose about $14,000 annually.

Did you also know that your answers are strictly confidential? YES! Federal law prohibits sharing your information with anyone, including the IRS—or using your answers against you (by example, to determine eligibility for government benefits such as SNAP, TANF, or WIC).

Step Two: Be Strategic About ‘Person 1’

Did you know that question 5 dictates whether your household will be counted as ‘Native’ or not? YES! If ‘Person 1’ says he or she is ‘American Indian or Alaska Native,’ then the entire household is counted as one with a Native head of household. That’s why it’s so important for Alaska Native families to be strategic about who they list as ‘Person 1.’ If you’re Native, and you live in a mixed Native and non-Native (White) household—whether you’re a spouse or significant other—please list the Native person as ‘Person 1.’

  • ‘Person 1’ doesn’t have to be male.
  • ‘Person 1’ doesn’t have to pay more than half of the household expenses.
  • Either spouse or significant other can be listed as ‘Person 1.’
  • However, Native families should list the Native spouse or significant other as ‘Person 1’ to maximize federal funding to tribal communities and programs.

Three: Know Your ‘Tribe’

Did you know that question 9 asks you about your ‘race’ and ‘tribal affiliation?’ Or that how you answer these questions determines how much federal funding goes to tribal programs? YES and YES! That’s why it’s so important for Alaska Native families and individuals to know their tribe(s). Please list the name of your federally recognized tribe, as opposed to your regional or village corporation, if you’re Native.   

If you can’t remember the name for your tribe, you can write in the name of your village. You can even write in more than one tribe (or village) if you associate with more than one. 

Click here to find the name of your tribe or village. 

  • Each person listed on your family’s form can identify as one or more races.
  • By example, if one of your parents is non-Native (White) and the other is Native, you can check both the ‘White’ and ‘American Indian or Alaska Native’ boxes. If you do this, you’ll be counted as both White and Native. However, if you only check the box for ‘American Indian or Alaska Native,’ you will only be counted Native.
  • Please check the ‘American Indian or Alaska Native box’ if you’re Native, regardless of whether you check any other box.

Be an Outreach Specialist!

To help each of Alaska’s 200 rural Native communities receive its fair share of census driven federal funding, the Alaska Federation of Natives is undertaking a historic communications and outreach effort. Our goal is to ensure that every Native household, family, and person is counted, and that Native peoples know how to answer the census questions, including ‘Person 1’ and ‘tribal affiliation.’ 

  • How are we going to do this? Mostly through a robust network of Outreach Specialists in rural Alaska that we’ll pay to host (or participate in previously scheduled) community events in their respective communities.
  • Can Outreach Specialists be employed by another entity? Because this is a temporary project position, Outreach Specialists can be employed full or part-time by another entity (or not).
  • Can Outreach Specialists work outside ‘normal’ business hours? We’re flexible on hours so long as outreach on the three steps outlined aboved happens.
  • Are Outreach Specialists the same thing as Enumerators (or ‘Census Takers)? The U.S. Census Bureau hires and oversees those individuals.
  • How do I apply to be an Outreach Specialist? By contact AFN’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel Nicole Borromeo at nborromeo@nativefederation.org or (907) 263-1310. Be sure to include your name, email address, and phone number. 

Help us spread the word. Share this opportunity on social media or forward it to a friend.

It Started!

Alaska’s 200 rural Native communities will be the first ones to be counted in the 2020 Census, which began in Toksook Bay on January 21. The Bureau’s counting these remote Native households earlier than the rest of the state and country to allow for easier access (while the ground is frozen) to achieve maximum participation (before summer employment draws residents away temporarily). Urban Alaska cities, including Anchorage, will be counted with the rest of the country beginning on April 1.

Other Resources

2020 Census and Confidentiality – fact sheet

Alaska Counts 2020 – more information about Census 2020 and helpful resources