SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Legislators gathered today to advocate for a bill to give census takers access to apartment buildings across the state to help address the persistent undercounting of populations like senior citizens and people of color and ensure a complete and accurate count for Minnesota in the 2020 Census. With millions of dollars in federal funding and the potential loss of a congressional seat at stake, it’s more important than ever that a count in Minnesota is accurate.
“Getting the right information in the census is a constitutional responsibility, and yet thousands of Minnesotans could go uncounted in 2020, which will put us at risk of losing millions of dollars of federal funding that our state depends on,” said Senator Jim Carlson (DFL-Eagan), chief author of the legislation in the Senate. “We must be taking proactive steps to encourage people to respond, but also to remove barriers preventing a full and accurate count of our state residents.”
The legislation, SF 2002, would allow census takers access to apartment buildings and create a census mobilization team for specific outreach of hard-to-reach households. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the net undercount for apartment-dwellers was 1.1% in the 2010 census, and the Minnesota State Demographer’s Office recognizes renters as the group most likely to not be counted. According to the Minnesota Council on Foundations, an undercount has a projected cost of $2,796 per person in loss of census-guided federal assistance programs.
“It’s imperative that we have this in place as soon as possible, and I call on my colleagues in the Senate to follow the House lead and move this forward,” said Senator Carlson. “I urge Chair Kiffmeyer to hear and pass the bill, so we fulfill our constitutional duty.”
SF 2002 is co-authored by Senators Steve Cwodzinski (DFL-Eden Prairie), Carolyn Laine (DFL-Columbia Heights) and Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis).