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GroundWork
News and ideas you can use to strengthen rural Minnesota communities.

Kickstart Census in your community

Little Falls

sprig by Posted in Community Leadership, Tools You Can Use

As we’ve mentioned before, rural Minnesota has a lot at stake in the 2020 Census.

As a leader in community, you can – and should! – take action now to boost your community’s participation in the 2020 census.

Here’s how:

Check your community’s anticipated response rates – The U.S. Census Bureau posts a map showing projected response rates for cities, counties and states. (These stats are likely optimistic, because they’re based on responses from the American Community Survey, which doesn’t provide very complete data about most rural communities.)

While the map shows that most parts of Minnesota are projected to have solid response rates, rural areas have historically tallied lower response rates than urban communities. And with all the ways census data is used – to draw legislative districts, determine state and federal funding, for business research – getting every rural person counted is crucial.

Consider your networks – Take a few minutes to think about all the folks you know in your community. The 9 dimensions of a healthy community can help you jog your memory about folks you maybe haven’t connected with in awhile. Reach out to folks in your networks to see if they’re already involved in census preparation plans for your area – or if they’re interested in joining you.

Create a Complete Count Committee – Minnesota has its first-ever statewide Complete Count Committee (CCC) for this census. Kathy Annette, Blandin Foundation CEO, is a co-chair. Follow their lead and connect with organizations or units of government in your community forming CCCs where you live. If not, pull together folks from your networks to get one going. Get started with information from the Minnesota Demographer’s Office.

Build trust around taking the Census – for many across the nation, including in rural communities, taking the census can seem risky for a variety of reasons: immigration status, distrust of government, other aspects of personal safety. The Minnesota Demographer’s website has fact sheets, videos and other resources that cover common questions and concerns about the citizenship question, data privacy and more. The Minnesota Census Mobilization Partnership has a set of tested messages for rural and other areas that are typically undercounted.

Know how connected your community is to high-speed internet – for the first time, an online survey will be the main Census tool. (Mail and in-person surveying will happen after, to boost participation rates.) This is a HUGE change for the census. It’s also poses a HUGE challenge for rural areas with little or no internet service. Use this map of Minnesota’s internet service [link to MN BB profiles] to learn more about service available in your area.

Help with the work – check Census job information if you or someone you know is interested in working for the U.S. Census.

Share this link: 2020censusruralmn.com – your one-stop shop for getting started on Census work in your community, housed on our website. Check back often, we add and update resources frequently.

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