Left Menu
Development News Edition

U.S. census to kick off in remote Alaska Native village


U.S. census to kick off in remote Alaska Native village

This year's once-a-decade official U.S. national population count will start in a small Alaska Native village perched on the tundra overlooking the Bering Sea. Daytime temperatures will be well below freezing.

The 2020 U.S. census is due to launch on Tuesday in Toksook Bay, a Yup'ik hamlet about 500 miles (800 km) west of Anchorage, the state's largest city. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham himself is scheduled to conduct the first in-home interview, with an elder chosen by the local tribe. The Census Bureau has a long tradition of kicking off the count in rural Alaska months before it gets under way in the Lower 48 states. There are good reasons for that tradition, Dillingham told a Friday news conference in Anchorage.

"Counting those who are in hard-to-reach villages has been a challenge for the Census Bureau every decade since 1870," Dillingham said, referring to the first count after Alaska became a U.S. territory. Alaska's geography is vast, much of it lacking road connections, and ground transportation depends on seasonally frozen conditions, he said.

Getting a head start in remote Alaska also ensures that census takers can properly account for those who migrate with the change of seasons. "We must make sure we count residents who may leave before the spring thaw, when they go back to either fish or hunt or take maybe warm-weather jobs," Dillingham said.

Toksook Bay, where forecasts call for a daytime high temperature of just 13 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius) on Tuesday, has a population of 683, according to state data, and depends on commercial fishing and traditional harvests of wild foods. For the village, the status as first to be counted is an honor, said tribal leader Robert Pitka, administrator of the Nunakauyak Traditional Council.

"I have no words to explain how special it is," he said. The visiting census workers and the accompanying crowd of journalists chronicling their effort will be greeted by Alaska Native dancers and a feast of traditional foods, Pitka said.

Pitka said he hopes the visitors will learn about Yup'ik culture. "They will see the lifestyle that we have. It's remote. We don't have roads," Pitka said. Festivities aside, the census is serious business for Alaska Natives in Toksook Bay and elsewhere.

Mandated by the U.S. Constitution and now conducted largely by telephone and internet, except in remote areas, the census is used to set legislative districts. It also determines funding for a wide array of social programs ranging from education to transportation and housing assistance. But census undercounting is a chronic problem for the nation's indigenous residents, many living in remote locales without street addresses. The Census Bureau has estimated its 2010 census missed 4.9 percent of Native Americans living on reservations. Undercount estimates for Alaska Natives, who do not live on reservations, range as high as 8 percent.

Pitka said he is one of those who might have been skipped when census takers last visited Alaska. "I don't recall it taking place 10 years ago," he said. "I don't know if I was even counted."

To improve its count, the Census Bureau is increasing its efforts to communicate in indigenous languages. Pitka said he hopes events in Toksook Bay will inspire greater participation.

"The message must go out strong from Toksook Bay to all the villages in Alaska," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

Conspiracy theories on COVID 19: Legislators, Scientists, and Journalists all joined the Caravan

Conspiracy theories are not new for virus epidemics. There have been conspiracy theories on HIV-AIDS, Polio Vaccines, Ebola Virus, and several other diseases as well. However, what makes the 2019 Novel Coronavirus different from others is ...

Top 10 Fake News, Myths and Realities on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19

With nearly 1500 deaths by January 14 and around 65,000 infections in China, the Novel Coronavirus 2019 has become one of the worst health epidemics of the 21st Century. However, 8,573 people have been cured but the rumor mongers are a...

Handling fake news Infodemic in time of Coronavirus epidemic

Social media has provided a platform where everybody can disseminate his her views without any supervision. Its excellent if the message is genuine but misinformation is equally disastrous. Health is such a topic where every Tom and Harry c...

Sentiment Analysis on Budget 2020: Long shot for solution to economic worries?

Industries and individuals alike had high expectations from the government to take tangible steps but the budget 2020 seems to have failed expectations....

Videos

Latest News

Hovland fires 66 to join four-way tie for Puerto Rico Open lead

Norways Viktor Hovland fired an eagle and five birdies in a six-under-par 66 to join a four-way tie for the lead in the US PGA Tour Puerto Rico Open. The US tour rookie who played college golf at Ohio State University kick-started his round...

'China delaying permission to India to send flight carrying relief materials to Wuhan'

China is delaying grant of clearance to Indias proposal to send an Indian Air Force flight to carry relief material for people affected by coronavirus in the neighbouring country and bring back Indians from its city of Wuhan, official sourc...

Class 2 student, injured in pool car accident, dies in Kolkata

Rishabh Singh, the class 2 student who was severely injured after his pool car fell intoa water-filled ditch in West Bengals Hooghly district, died here on Saturday following an eight-day-long battle for life,officials said. Rishabh and ano...

UPDATE 1-Bloomberg campaign builds out digital arm Hawkfish ahead of 2020 election

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloombergs campaign has pumped 25.7 million into his little-known tech company Hawkfish since the billionaire entered the race last November, according to disclosures to the Federal Election Co...

Give Feedback