Minnesotans have received mail from the United States Census Bureau within the last few weeks.

Even amid all of the recent changes to work and home life, the 2020 census is important for decisions surrounding federal funding, business and electoral redistricting.

The census takes place every 10 years and holds great weight, as decisions are made about the allocation of billions of dollars of federal funding.

This is especially crucial for communities outside the metro area, as their needs tend to be less visible. The information drawn from the census influences the planning of infrastructure, transit, school syllabi and grants, housing assistance for the elderly and libraries, among many other programs.

“The United States census is an easy opportunity for individuals to make their voices heard,” said District 16 Sen. Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls. “It will impact business and elected representation, so its importance should not be underestimated.”

The data provided through the 2020 census will show communities’ population trends and growth projections. Many communities and business owners will structure their plans around the data. The greater the number of people who respond, the more accurate the data will be. 

Finally, the census data is used to redraw electoral district lines.

In 10 years, the population of a community can change considerably. The state legislature will base its congressional districts on that information.

Under the provisions of Title 13, Section 141(c) of the United States Code, the Secretary of Commerce is required to provide the “officers or public bodies having initial responsibility for the legislative apportionment or districting of each state ...” with the opportunity to specify geographic areas for which they wish to receive decennial census population counts for the purpose of reapportionment or redistricting.

By April 1 of the year following the decennial census, the secretary is required to furnish the state officials or their designees with population counts for American Indian areas, counties, cities, census block and state-specified congressional, legislative and voting districts.

A list of federal funding projects influenced by the census can be found online.

Individuals can respond to the census in three different ways, officials prefer online responses:

• The online response portal can be found at my2020census.gov/.

• Call 844-330-2020.

• Mail to the U.S. Census Bureau, National Processing Center, 1201 East 10th Street, Jeffersonville, IN, 47132.

- Image courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau Web site