News from the League of Women Voters, St. Cloud Area (LWVSCA)
2020 U.S. Census: Where to From Here?
In 2020 the United States conducted a nationwide census in the middle of a pandemic, with the goal of counting every person living in the country. Under ideal conditions, the decennial census is a major undertaking that involves “hundreds of thousands of people and dozens of operations and systems” according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Covid-19 virus added challenges to an already complex process.
In March 2020, households began receiving invitations to participate in the census—just as the Bureau was forced to temporarily halt field operations. When census takers resumed face-to-face visits using public health guidelines, they often encountered resistance or noncompliance because of Covid-19 concerns. In addition, people moved and relocated at unprecedented levels in 2020 due to the effects of natural disasters (hurricanes and wildfires), civil unrest, and shifts to online work and learning due to the virus.
The Census Bureau responded with strategies ranging from focusing on under-reporting areas to extending data collection deadlines. Census workers were trained in minimizing social contact and leaving census invitations at households. A national advertising campaign encouraged the public to consider using telephone, email and online options for completing the census. Even with these efforts, the 2020 national count was delayed; the Bureau continues to evaluate census numbers to ensure complete and accurate results. Individual states are not expected to receive Census Block data results before June 1, 2021.
Impact of the 2020 Census on the State of Minnesota
When Census data is finalized, Minnesota's population might not have kept pace with other states. As a result, the state could lose one of its eight seats in the U.S. Congress. In addition, the geographic distribution of people throughout the state has likely changed, requiring the reconfiguration of Minnesota's legislative districts. The state Legislature will be required to undertake a redistricting process, expected to begin with hearings in early summer. The League of Women Voters, at the local, state and national levels, is focused on ensuring that redistricting efforts meet the highest standards of transparency and fairness.
UPCOMING: April Unit Meeting regarding 2020 Census
“Drawing Fair Maps in Minnesota: What to Know and What to Do”
April 14, 2021, 1:00--3:00 p.m. (via Zoom)
Presenter: Paul Huffman, Redistricting Coordinator, LWV Minnesota
LWV Minnesota continues to track the next steps in Minnesota's redistricting process. LWVMN guest speaker Paul Huffman will provide updates regarding the status of the U.S. Census, summarize the anticipated impacts of the 2020 Census on Minnesota, describe the state's redistricting process (using an estimated timeline) and discuss standards for drawing fair maps. He will offer strategic approaches that local Leagues like LWV St. Cloud Area can use for community outreach activities, as well as discuss opportunities to track progress of and influence the redistricting process.
Visitors who are interested in our meeting and discussion topics, can email us using the icon below to request more information.