Minnesota bill would ensure Census taker access to apartment buildings
ST. PAUL, Minn. (March 9, 2020) — Legislation introduced to the Minnesota House of Representatives would grant local authorities the ability to allow census takers access to apartment buildings in order to ensure Minnesota achieves a complete and accurate count, as called for in the constitution.
“We are concerned about the current federal administration’s commitment to providing a complete census count, given its past hostility to certain populations,” said District 59A Rep. Fue Lee, DFL-Minneapolis. “This legislation will give us the ability to ensure a full, accurate count, by allowing census workers to reach communities in our state that have been undercounted for too long.”
The census is vital to Minnesota’s representation in the federal government, as well as our economy, as billions of dollars are allocated based on the census. According to the State Demographer’s Office, people who rent are the most undercounted population block in Minnesota, especially those residing in apartment buildings.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the net undercount rate for people living in rental housing units in the 2010 Census was 1.1%, compared to a net over-count of 0.6% for people living in owner-occupied housing units. Speakers from the Association of Elder Complete Count Committees will point out that it is crucial to count everyone in the upcoming census because the data collected will help determine how over $15 billion in federal funding is distributed each year in Minnesota for things like medical assistance, housing assistance, infrastructure, and public transportation.
The Minneapolis Regional Retirees Council, an organization of retired union members, has been active in promoting awareness of the census and its importance.
“Many seniors live in multi-unit buildings, and we want to make sure that they are counted,” said Leif Grina, president of the retirees council. “It is critical that the state put its weight behind a complete count as it is in everyone’s interest and is fundamental to a representative government.”
Speakers in support of the bill will include Secretary of State Steve Simon, Andrew Virden of the State Demographer’s Office; Rep. Fue Lee; Rep. Raymond Dehn; Sen. Jim Carlson, the Senate author; Brooklyn Park City Council Member Wynfred Russell; Oromo Elder Dube Ganamo; Latinx Elder Doña Maria Teresa Muñeton; Monsteur Herring from Open Access, and Leif Grina from the Minneapolis Retiree Council.