Minnesota prepares for 2020 Census

In this Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, photo Minnesota state demographer Susan Brower, works in her St. Paul, Minn. Brower is updating address lists and holding workshops to prepare cities and counties for the 2020 census.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota officials, local governments and nonprofits are coordinating efforts to count every resident in the state for the 2020 Census.

State demographer Susan Brower told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that ensuring an accurate tally on April 1, 2020, is "a tremendous undertaking."

"The census is used for so many things that it's really hard to overstate how important it is," Brower said. "It's kind of woven into the way that our democracy works."

Census data dictates the nearly $8.5 billion per year in federal funding that's allocated to Minnesota, and the state could lose about $15,000 for each uncounted resident over the decade.

Minnesota has added more than 300,000 residents since the last count in 2010, but it's still possible that the state could still lose one of its seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to a fast-growing state, such as Texas.

Brower is holding workshops to help prepare cities and counties, which are forming their own committees to alert residents about the census that occurs every ten years.

The U.S. Census Bureau is also recruiting thousands of Minnesota residents to ensure the country's first digital census runs smoothly.

In 2010, more than 85 percent of Minnesota residents mailed back their census ballots, and census workers followed up in person to count the remainder. Next year will be the first time the census will feature online submissions.

St. Paul and Ramsey County are collaborating to reach communities that are often undercounted, such as immigrants, renters and people who are homeless.

City and county officials held a meeting in St. Paul last month, where many asked about the plan by President Donald Trump's administration to add a citizenship question to the census. A federal judge recently blocked the addition, but the Trump administration is requesting that the U.S. Supreme Court rule on the case.

Ruby Azurdia-Lee, president of the nonprofit Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, said the plan is stoking fear and causing stress among Minnesota's Latino community.

"Why would people want to put themselves at risk by filling out the (census)?" Azurdia-Lee said. "Putting that in there is just going to set us back."

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