• 28°

Editorial: It’s still not too late to complete the 2020 census

Census takers are out in communities across the nation following up with households that have not yet responded to the 2020 census.

If you have not yet completed the census, now is the time to do so.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota has had the highest self-response rate to the census, with 73.6% completing the census. The bureau’s website states 11.3% have been enumerated during nonresponse followup, for a total of 84.9% who have been counted.

The census, which is mandated by the Constitution, is critical because the population counts from it are used to determine how many members each state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives. In Minnesota this is especially critical because the state is in danger of losing one of its eight House seats. According to an article by Minnesota Public Radio News in April, Minnesota State Demographer Susan Brower said Minnesota could lose a seat by as few as 7,000 to 22,000 people.

The data from the census is also used to draw congressional and state legislative districts and is critical in determining federal funding.

Because of the coronavirus, the deadlines to complete the census were pushed back. All offices are scheduled to complete their work by Sept. 30.

According to the Census Bureau, census takers are hired from the area to help everyone in the community be counted in the census. They work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., including weekends, and will leave a notice of their visit with information about how to respond online, by phone or by mail.

The individuals are expected to wear face masks and follow local public health guidelines, including social distancing.

To verify that someone is a census taker, he or she should have a valid ID badge with a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. The person may also carry Census Bureau bags and other equipment with the Census Bureau logo.

If people have questions about a census taker’s identity, they can call the regional census center at 312-579-1500.

We encourage people to be proactive in filling out the census in the coming days.

Much is at stake.