Officials warn billions of dollars, congressional seat at stake for undercounted areas in 2020 census

One month away from the 2020 Census deadline, Hennepin County and Minneapolis officials sounded the alarm Monday to ensure everyone gets counted this year.

“We are here today to raise our collective voice so that everyone completes their census,” said commissioner Irene Fernando of Hennepin County.

So far, more than 85 percent of households in Minnesota have completed the census, but only 12 percent have completed it because a census taker came to their door. That rate is low compared to other states where it’s as high as 33 percent.

“Imagine if 10 percent of households in Hennepin County are not counted,” said Fernando. “Are not counted that will be missing out on more than 50,000 households. That’s over 120,000 people, our neighbors and friends.”

Andrea Jenkins, the vice president of Minneapolis City Council says the indigenous community and communities of color often times represent the undercounted.

“The fact that people are protesting about the racial injustice in our community speaks to the need to really make sure that we have a complete census count,” Jenkins said. “To bring resources to communities that have historically been oppressed, marginalized and left out.”

With billions of dollars and the loss of a congressional seat at stake, officials are rolling out a new initiative.

“This week, we are beginning a person-to-person texting campaign to reach 26,000 individuals from low-response areas. People who may speak Spanish, Somali, Hmong or other languages, people who may be renters which is another undercounted population,” said Fernando.

Monday was the second straight day officials were in undercounted areas promoting the census.