ATLANTA — The 2020 Census count will close up shop at the end of this month, and with just a few more weeks separating now from then things are not looking good for Georgia's count.
According to data published on Friday by the federal government, Georgia's census response rate is the second-worst in the country, ahead of only Alabama.
Only 82.1% of Georgia households have been counted, according to the Census Bureau.
That lags behind Montana (82.3%), Mississippi (82.3%) and Louisiana (82.7%) in the bottom 5. Alabama's rate is 81.5% so far.
Idaho has the best rate, at 98.9%.
Gov. Brian Kemp encouraged Georgians to respond while they still can.
"Georgians, please fill out your census form!" he wrote on Twitter. "It makes a huge difference in how much federal funding the Peach State receives for infrastructure, education, public health, and other areas."
In addition to deciding how much representation a state gets in the House of Representatives, the Census Bureau outlined the many ways in which having a full count impacts your community:
Federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities are based on population totals and breakdowns by sex, age, race and other factors. Your community benefits the most when the census counts everyone. When you respond to the census, you help your community gets its fair share of the more than $675 billion per year in federal funds spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs.
Businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, and this creates jobs. Developers use the census to build new homes and revitalize old neighborhoods. Local governments use the census for public safety and emergency preparedness. Residents use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.
According to statewide data compiled by the Census Bureau, southwest Georgia and parts of middle Georgia have the worst self-response rates so far.
In Quitman County, northwest of Albany on the Alabama border, the self-response rate so far is just 26.2%. In Hancock County, northeast of Milledgeville, the response rate is 26%.
The best self-response rates are mostly around Atlanta, with Fayette County (76.7%) and Forsyth County (76.4%) leading the pack. Fulton County (61%), Rockdale County (58.7%) and Clayton County (57.4%) bring up the rear in the metro Atlanta area.