$2.5 million Plan for State of Minnesota's Census 2020 Investment

The Minnesota Census Mobilization Partnership requests an appropriation of $2.5 Million and a policy change to make it easier for census workers to access apartment buildings. 

The appropriation will be one-time funding for fiscal year 2020 with authorization to extend expenditure of unexpended funds into 2021. In addition to the request for new funding and policy, the Partnership supports continuation of funding for staff to work specifically on the 2020 Census in the State Demographer’s Office (Department of Administration). This included $190,000 appropriated for each of fiscal years 2018 and 2019, with equal amounts in the base for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.


HF1644 (Rep. Jamie Long – DFL 61B – Minneapolis) and SF2002 (Sen. Jim Carlson – DFL 51 – Apple Valley) propose the full $2.5 million in funding and a policy change to ease apartment access.  (This bill has been incorporated into HF1935, the House’s state government finance omnibus bill.)

HF2059 (Rep. Fue Lee – DFL 59A –Minneapolis) and SF2534 (Sen. Jim Carlson – DFL 51 – Apple Valley) propose the policy change to ease apartment access.  (This bill has been incorporated into HF1935, the House’s state government finance omnibus bill.)

Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan proposed $1.6 million for census funding in their 2020-2021 budget. (Department of Administration – State Demographic Center – pp 92-96)


In the 2010 census, 81% of Minnesota households responded to the Census Bureaus initial notice and quickly submitted their census forms. That was the second highest response rate in the country!  The challenge for 2020 is to sustain that high response rate, and to do a better job at reaching out to the 19% who are not quick to respond well in advance of Census Day 2020 and improve overall participation in the 2020 Census.

It is estimated that Minnesota needs to invest an additional $5.5 million, over-and-above the Census Bureau’s efforts to effectively engage the 19% -- Minnesota’s historically undercounted communities.  (George Washington University, 2019) Private donors are committed to pulling together approximately $2.5 million.  The state should do its part with a match.

The funding plan below is the outcome from ongoing engagement of community partners and the Minnesota State Demographic Center, and proposes strategic uses of one-time state funding to achieve a fully-inclusive and accurate census count in Minnesota in 2020.

I. Engaging Hard to Reach Households $400,000

PO Box Notifications – Increase response rates from households with P.O. Boxes in Greater Minnesota ($70,000)

Apartment Access – Change law to authorize apartment access for census workers and educate thepublic and building owners about the change ($330,000)

II. Adapting to the Electronic Census $1,170,000

Hotspot Tabling and Outreach – Increase Minnesota’s census response by creating opportunitie for people to learn about and to submit census electronically at community locations ($430,000)

Commit to Census – Increase response to the census by organizing residents to commit toparticipate and then receive electronic follow-up to facilitate participation ($740,000)

III. Reaching Historically Undercounted Communities $680,000

Census Job Connections – Ensure that the Census Bureau has a large pool of qualified candidatesin Minnesota, especially from historically undercounted communities ($350,000)

Targeted Community Engagement – Maintain Minnesota’s high census response rate whilereducing participation gaps in historically undercounted communities (HCU) ($330,000)

IV. Shared Services $250,000

Shared Services for Local Complete Count Committees – Promote efficiency by providing shared services support local and community census outreach, including translations services ($125,000) and promotional resources ($125,000)

Funds will be appropriated to the Department of Administration / Minnesota State Demographic Center and distributed as follows:

  • 55% - Department of Administration for programs and services provided by the Minnesota State Demographer
  • 45% - Department of Administration for grants to support census organizing and mobilization activities operated by local governments and community organizations

A summary of the $2.5 million legislative request is included in the Fiscal Note prepared by Minnesota Management and Budget.  (See PDF attachment below.)

PDF icon 19 HF1644 Fiscal Note.pdf382.13 KB