Accurate 2010 Census count has real impact on city, residents

Minneapolis City leaders and representatives from the U.S. Census Bureau today marked one year until the beginning of the 2010 U.S. Census. April 1 is Census Awareness Day, and City leaders are using it to encourage everyone in Minneapolis to fill out and send in their Census form, because getting an accurate count of residents in the city is more important than ever.

 An accurate count has a significant impact on people in Minneapolis-- it’s estimated that every 100 people missed in the Census count leads to a $1 million loss to the people of Minneapolis over the next decade. That’s because more than $300 billion in federal funding is allocated to communities based on census data every year. Having an incomplete count means a community won’t get its fair share of that funding. That money goes to support things like school lunches, Head Start programs, home energy assistance programs, Medicaid grants to states, assistance for families in need, and job training and placement for adults, youth, and dislocated workers.

In Minneapolis, that $1 million would translate to full time employment for 35 people; prevention of 2,000 foreclosures; gap funding assistance for 40 rehabilitated affordable housing units; 10,000 medical or dental visits for uninsured patients; lead poison testing for 33,000 children; or help getting 25 new businesses off the ground by providing low interest loans, thereby creating many new jobs in the community.

The results from the 2010 Census are also taking on a significant meaning across Minnesota, because the state’s voice in Congress is linked to the state’s population. If Minnesota’s population doesn’t keep pace with some other states, the state could potentially lose a seat in the House of Representatives. The figures are also used locally—they help determine everything from state legislative districts to school district boundaries.

 In 2000, the Census mail in response rate in Minneapolis was 67 percent, which was equal to the national average but lower than the statewide average of 75 percent. Some sections of Minneapolis had a lower than 50 percent response rate, including portions of north Minneapolis, the Phillips community, and areas around the University of Minnesota. City and Census leaders are working to boost participation citywide, with a special focus on those areas that have had low participation in the past.

April 1, 2009

Published Apr 1, 2009