What is the Census?

The framers of the United States Constitution inscribed a full count of the population as one of the founding principles of our nation (Article I, Section 2). As a result, the Census Bureau has counted every resident in the U.S. every ten years, beginning in 1790.

In previous censuses, the majority of households returned their census forms by mail; census workers walked neighborhoods throughout the United States to count the remaining households. The upcoming 2020 Census will add an online response form, using modern and cost-efficient methods to ensure everyone is counted once and in the right place.

2020 US Census Logo (small)Full participation in the upcoming 2020 Census — making sure everyone is counted — will provide our communities with vital information about who we are and what we need. All of us must come together to ensure every Minnesotan counts.

For more information on the importance of the Census, check out our page outlining why it matters to you. For more information on when and how you can expect to participate, refer to our primer on rollout plans for the census. You can also check out 2020census.gov to learn a lot more about the census directly from the U.S. Census Bureau.


Why It’s Important

The data that will be collected by the 2020 Census are critical for states, counties, and communities. They will shape political representation, funding of government programs, the flow of business and commerce, and the planning and delivery of services to local communities. As the examples below show, the Census has far-reaching effects, holding relevance to many facets of our everyday life in Minnesota.

Feature image for Representation


Census data determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as the size of voting districts for state and local governments.

Minnesota is at risk of losing a Congressional seat.

Feature image for Funding


Census data guides approximately $589 billion in federal spending allocated to local communities each year, including more than $15 billion distributed to Minnesota communities.

Even one missed person could mean forfeiting almost $28,000 in funding for the next ten years.

Feature image for Planning


Census data helps decision-makers plan roads, schools, hospitals, senior centers, and emergency services to best serve changing populations.

With accurate demographic data about Minnesota we can understand shifting community needs and efficiently direct resources to address them.

Feature image for Business


Census data assists businesses in locating factories and stores, recruiting employees, and conducting market research.

Chambers of Commerce and other business organizations across Minnesota gain valuable insights by using census data.

You and your community benefit most when everyone is counted!