The decennial census was established by Article I Section 2 of the US Constitution. The Census was first administered in 1790 and has been held every 10 years since. Responding to the Census is important for reasons other than the fact that it is required by federal law. Three key reasons are highlighted below.
Minnesota is at risk to lose a seat in the US House of Representatives
The primary and originally intended purpose of the decennial census is the apportion the representation in the US House of Representatives. While Minnesota’s above average population growth would ostensibly allow us to keep our congressional seats, we are actually growing slower than some of the fastest growing states. This means that current estimates put us between ~6,700-22,000 people shy of the mark in order to avoid losing our first congressional seat since 1963. Nearby, Iowa lost a district after the 2010 census and Wisconsin lost a district after the 2000 census. Coming as close as we can to a complete count may be the only way to maintain our current level of representation in Congress.
US Census data is a key factor used when budgeting federal programs
US Census data is also used for the distribution & budgeting of federal funding. One example of a federally funded program impacting Mankato would be the Summer Lunch Program, which is funded by the US Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program. It is estimated that roughly 1,000,000 children between the ages of 0-4 (4.6% of the total population that age) were not counted in the 2010 Census. Achieving an accurate count of our 0-4 year olds could be imperative to ensuring that the school district receives adequate funding to continue this program.
Census data is important when businesses are making decisions
When businesses are looking to expand to the area, Greater Mankato Growth is frequently a first stop where they can get the data they need to make an informed decision. Existing businesses also come to us for data to make decisions regarding growth, wages, and to learn about the regional labor shed. While many of Greater Mankato Growth’s resources don’t come directly from the US Census, virtually all of them start with US Census Data, and use statistical analysis and/or original research to extrapolate from there.