2020 Census and American Community Survey - Legislative Action


We need state and federal policies and dollars to ensure a fair and accurate Census in which all Minnesotans are moved to participate. 

  • What is happening at the state level?
  • What is happening at the federal level?
  • What is our policy position on the Census and ACA?
  • What is our state policy agenda?

State Action

2018 Action.  We seek a supplemental appropriation of $500,000  in 2018 to initiate implementation of a Minnesota-specific 2020 Census communication and moblization plan. The current focus for our advocacy is to secure a commitment from Governor Dayton to include additional Census funding in his 2018 supplemental budget recommendation.

2017 Results.  Partnership lobbied to sucessfully protect the budget of the State Demographer's Office from cuts proposed by the Minnesota Legislature and to secure additional, one-time funding of $190,000 to "ramp up" the office's staff capacity to prepare Minnesota for the 2020 Census. The increased funding was made possible because the Governer made it both a priority in his initial budget proposal and insisted on Demographer's Office funding as part of special-session budget negotiations with the Legislature. See the attached document (below) to read about the case for state funding for the census that appeared in the news in 2017 during the Legislature's deliberations. Minnesota is now one of only four states making a dedicated appropriation to prepare for the 2020 Census.

Stay current. Mointor MCF's Policy in Focus.

Federal Action

We seek a $300 million increase in federal funding, this is over-and-above what the Senate, House and Trump Administration have proposed for fiscal year 2018. Congress has severely underfunded the Census Bureau; resulting in delays, shelving of critical systems development and testing, and understaffing that jeopardize the integrity of the 2020 count. Sustained communication with Minnesota's Congresional delegation is pushing them to use their influence to make Census funding a priority. For example, both Sen. Franken and Rep. Ellison have been leaders in initiating member "sign on" leaders to elevate visibility of support for the Census. Currently, we areasking Rep. Walz to use his influence as co-chair of the Congressional Rural Caucus. Your emails, social media postings or questions at Congressional members' community events or appearances on talk radio really make a difference. Contact Minnesota's Congresional delegation.

Stay current. Use The Census Project for up-to-date information about federal action and to get the information you need to have an effective advocacy voice.

Recent Census Project updates:

September 2017 Update

August 2017 Update

July 2017 Update

Recent Census Project blog postings:

Bringing the Dollars Home (September 25, 2017)

This Chart Say It All (September 8, 2017)

Counting for Dollars (August 25, 2017)



  • Inclusion and equity creates prosperity for all Minnesotans.
  • Achieving full participation by Minnesotans in the 2020 Census and the American Community Survey promotes inclusion and equity.

Policy Goals

The Partnership supports policies and appropriations that advance the following policy goals:

  • Ensure a Census/ACS that is fair, accurate and reliable and fulfills its Constitutional purposes.
  • Enable (a) equitable allocation of power, and representation, (b) distribution of public resources to address equity gaps in communities and households, (c) “small D” democracy with data to make decisions and assess their impact, (d) economic growth and jobs development by providing information that businesses need to grow.
  • Achieve full participation by Minnesotans in the 2020 Census by implementing a Minnesota-focused communication and mobilization strategy that is supported through a broad-based, public/private/community partnership.
  • Create an ongoing community of thought-leaders working to sustain and ensure fair, accurate and reliable Census and American Community Survey.

MCF's Policy Commitment to the Census and ACS

MCF aims to create a more prosperous, inclusive and equitable Minnesota by strengthening democratic systems and civic engagement, including promoting full participation in the 2020 Census and the American Community Survey. The Census is essential. It is key to ensuring fair representation and allocation of resources, and access to complete and reliable data to support community engagement, planning and economic development.

Our state advocacy priorities . . .

1. “Tech Prep” So Minnesota can Do It’s Job.  Increase annual appropriation for the State Demographer’s office by $190,000.  The increased staff will be responsible for technical preparations to assemble comprehensive address lists in preparation for the 2020 Census, to work with local governments and communities throughout the state to organize their participation in the 2020 Census, to assemble and report 2020 Census results, and to support ongoing community participation and analysis and reporting of the annual American Community Survey. Accomplished!

2. A Uniquely Minnesota Communication and Mobilization Plan.  Appropriate $500,000 in fiscal year 2018 to the Demographer’s Office to start implementing the 2020 Census communication and mobilization plan. The plan will identify new and historically under-counted populations in Minnesota with a focus on those most likely not to participate in the 2020 Census based upon geography, language differences, lack of familiarity or misperceptions about the Census or barriers to using either print or technology-based reporting tools. The purpose of the plan is to promote full participation by Minnesotans in the 2020 Census by developing messages and strategies for communication and mobilizing participation in the 2020 Census. The plan should complement general communication and mobilization provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, though with a targeted, Minnesota-specific strategy. The plan will be used to guide allocation of State and private resources to promote full participation by Minnesotans in the 2020 Census. Authorize the Demographer’s Office to subcontract with a nonprofit, community-based organization to develop the communication and mobilization plan, and to solicit additional private funds to supplement state appropriations to develop the plan.

3. Community Mobilization for Full Participation.  Based upon the results of the communication and mobilization plan, appropriate funds in fiscal 2019 and in the 2020/21 fiscal year to support implementation of the Minnesota communication and mobilization plan. Authorize the Demographer’s Office to subcontract with for-profit and nonprofit partners to assist with implementation of the communication and mobilization plan, and to solicit private funds to supplement state appropriations to implement the plan.


The Minnesota Census Mobilization Partnership is convened by Minnesota Council on Foundations, MACS2020 and Common Cause Minnesota.


Contact us by email or by phone at 612.338.1989.

MCF's work on the Census and ACS is supported by a grant from The Joyce Foundation.

Return to Minnesota Census Mobilization Project home page.