County Manager Column from March 31, 2020
This column was originally published as a "From the County Manager" column on our employee intranet.
Join Census@Work Day on April 7
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has upended and transformed our lives and work, we continue to carry on the essential services of our government and democracy. One of those efforts is the 2020 census.
Next Tuesday, April 7 is Census@Work Day and we are joining other organizations around the region in encouraging employees to go online to complete the form as a quick break from your work day.
Here are some important things to know about the 2020 census:
- Any data you provide to the Census Bureau is confidential and highly protected for 72 years.
- Everyone counts, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. There will be no citizenship question on the 2020 census.
- From May to July, federal census takers will begin visiting homes that haven’t yet responded with the online or paper form to help make sure everyone is counted.
The census – which is required by the U.S. Constitution of all people living in the United States every 10 years – is critical to our long-term efforts to ensure equal political representation and the fair distribution of federal funding to states. This funding is allocated based on states’ populations as determined by the census count for everything from hospitals to schools to food assistance and workforce training programs. It is especially critical that those in need receive their fair share of services – a fact underscored by the many difficult community challenges we face during this pandemic. As a county with some of the most concentrated areas of poverty in Minnesota, it is especially important that we work to count everyone.
We strongly encourage all Ramsey County employees to participate in the census. By now, you have probably received mailings from the Census Bureau at your home. The mailings provide a website address and code for an online census form that is quick and easy to complete. But you can also complete the online form at any time at my2020census.gov by verifying your home address. Households that do not respond via the online form will receive a paper form in mid-April. Counting and outreach to households will continue through at least mid-August.
An accurate count of all persons is essential for fair representation in Congress, the Minnesota State Legislature and in local government. As Minnesota is at risk of losing a congressional seat as a result of the census count, it is even more important that we count everyone living in the state.
Census data is also used to help determine about $675 billion in federal funding for community development, schools, hospitals, highways and workforce training, as well as for programs like SNAP, WIC, Section 8 housing and Head Start. In all, Minnesota receives about $2,800 per person, per year in federal funding guided by census data.
For more information about the 2020 census, see Ramsey County’s 2020 census webpage or visit the Census Bureau’s 2020 census site. Information is available in 59 other languages as well. Our staff and elected leaders have been working for many months to coordinate with other across the county and state to make sure we’re doing everything we can to count everyone. For instance, we sent a letter to all apartment and multi-unit owners and managers as well as mobile home parks as a reminder about access. We’re also providing grant funding to groups to do creative outreach to those communities in Ramsey County that have been traditionally undercounted.
Thank you for taking the time to be counted and for sharing these resources with your networks as we continue to encourage every Minnesotan to complete the 2020 census. Remember, everyone counts!