Statewide effort will encourage full participation in the census

Governor makes appointments to the 2020 U.S. Census panel

Governor Mark Dayton last week appointed four community leaders to co-chair the Minnesota Complete Count Committee, the organization that will lead statewide efforts to encourage participation in the 2020 U.S. Census. While other states have employed Complete Count committees at the state and local levels, Minnesota has not previously organized a statewide committee.

The Minnesota Complete Count Committee will be co-chaired by former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton, Blandin Foundation CEO Kathy Annette, Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce CEO Jonathan Weinhagen, and Department of Administration Commissioner Matt Massman. The panel will identify and address barriers to census participation and develop strategies to encourage full participation, particularly among historically undercounted populations.

“I thank these community leaders for guiding Minnesota’s first-ever statewide effort to ensure our full participation in the census,” said Governor Dayton. “I encourage each and every Minnesotan to participate in the census— because every Minnesotan matters, and ought to be counted. A thorough, accurate, and equitable count is absolutely necessary to ensure our state receives all the federal resources we need, and has the full congressional representation we deserve.”

Census data are used to distribute more than $8 billion dollars of federal funds each year to Minnesota communities in the areas of transportation, health, education, and human services. Private businesses use census data to guide investments, understand their markets, and make hiring decisions. Developers use the census to build new homes and revitalize 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.

“In the past, Minnesotans have responded to the U.S. Census at very high rates; however, a full count of all residents is going to be a challenge in 2020 given limited resources,” said Susan Brower, Minnesota state demographer. “That is why it is especially important that we begin work now to develop a state-specific strategy to engage residents by the time the U.S. Census reaches Minnesota mailboxes in early 2020.”

Minnesota has a large stake in the Constitutionally mandated decennial census, as the resulting data is used to determine a state’s federal representation in Congress. While Minnesota’s population continues to grow, it has not been at the pace of quickly growing western states or other states in the Upper Midwest. Thus, Minnesota is at risk of losing one of its eight congressional seats following the required congressional reapportionment that happens after every decennial census.

“It would be detrimental to the future of our great state if Minnesota lost a seat in Congress—and our share of federal funding— solely because some of our fellow Minnesotans were not counted in the census,” said Commissioner Massman. “With so much at stake, we owe it to all Minnesotans to build on our civic tradition of high participation and make our best effort to ensure a complete count in the 2020 census.”

The full Minnesota Complete Count Committee is expected to number from 75 to 100 members. The committee will be a culturally, geographically, and philosophically diverse group drawn from the ranks of business, civic, education, and non-profit sectors, as well as from state and local governments in Minnesota. Membership of the Minnesota Complete Count Committee will be announced by the co-chairs in the coming weeks, ahead of their first meeting on July 25, 2018.

To learn more about the 2020 Census, visit www.census.gov.

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