Billions of dollars, house seat on the line for Minnesota in 2020 Census

April 01, 2019 06:03 PM

On Monday, Governor Tim Walz helped kick off a campaign centered around next year's census, one that has huge ramifications for the state of Minnesota. 

The Census happens every ten years when the federal government conducts a count of the people living in the United States.


That information is used for everything from funding to how many seats a state has in Congress.

For a state the size of Minnesota, more than $15 billion in federal funding every year is at stake in the 2020 census.
"Even a single missed person in the census could mean a forfeited $28,000 in funding over the course of ten years," said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan.

The 2020 census will also determine how the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are allocated.

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Minnesota currently has eight of those spots but projections show could Minnesota could lose one to another state with higher population growth.

"Four-hundred-thirty-five is the magic number," said Rep. Jamie Long of Minneapolis.  "We're at 437, so if the census were today we'd be two seats short."

Minnesota could potentially offset the population growth of other states with a higher participation rate in the census and keep all 8 House seats.

In 2010, Minnesota had the second highest census response rate in the entire country.

But some worry if a question on citizenship is included in the 2020 census, it could keep people in Minnesota's immigrant communities from taking part.

"They're concerned about racial profiling and possible exposure as a result of the proposed citizenship question," said Anika Robbins, a Commissioner on the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights.

The proposed question would ask if the person being counted is a citizen of the United States.

A federal judge ruled earlier this year the census cannot ask about a person's citizenship.

The Trump administration appealed to the United States Supreme Court who will ultimately decide whether the question can be included.

"No matter what the decision is, the fear, the hesitation is already there," said Xiongpao Lee with the Hmong American Census Network.  "That's what we're dealing with"

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan issued a statement Monday saying the question asking about a person's citizenship should not be controversial. 

"A citizenship question is not new, and has been asked by the Census Bureau both in the full census and, more recently, in the American Community Survey," Carnahan said. "Given the strict confidentiality of individual census data required by law, and the broad range of other questions in the census, determining the citizenship of anyone residing in the United States should not be considered controversial." 

President Donald Trump tweeted about the census Monday saying it would be meaningless and a waste of money without the citizenship question.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding the citizenship question later this month.

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Tim Vetscher

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