|The Organizing Complete Count Committees|
Handbook is just one resource available for cities.
My name is Rachel Walker, and I’m the policy analysis manager at the League of Minnesota Cities, where I administer our training evaluations, support our race equity initiatives, and help out with a lot of projects involving numbers. Right now, one of those number projects is the ramp-up to the 2020 Census.
This winter I had the opportunity to hit the road and travel across the state to hear about what cities need to get an accurate Census 2020 count. As part of this, I actually got to road trip with the state demographer, Susan Brower, herself! Not only is Susan great at analyzing large amounts of data and distilling it into stories about our state population, she is a great driver! Our journey followed one of Minnesota’s big snow events this year and there were some pretty dicey moments on the road.
Susan and her staff, along with the League, Association of Minnesota Counties, and the Minnesota Association of Townships hosted gatherings of local governments to learn about forming Complete Count Committees (CCC). These committees will be an integral part of census preparations over the next year. CCCs are forming all over the state and bring together local governments, businesses, community groups, churches and nonprofits for one goal: to count everyone. We want as complete a count as possible because that count really matters. It determines how more than $16 billion of federal funding is distributed in Minnesota; it determines whether our state keeps its 8th congressional seat; and it gives government at all levels good data for doing things like economic development.
Here’s what I learned from traveling to these workshops:
- Cities are getting creative to get the word out about the census and why it is so important. In northern Minnesota, CCCs are considering hosting trivia nights to raise awareness and printing special beer mats for area bars.
- In thinking about how to reach out to rural areas, one CCC is going to have materials available at the local feed store.
- A big job for cities and others is to promote census jobs. In Minnesota alone, we need thousands of census workers to get the count done.
- City staff and their partners are taking challenges to getting a complete count very seriously. A major challenge is language barriers. While the census will make available materials and forms in various languages, Somali, Hmong, and Oromo are not among them. In many communities, those three languages are spoken by significant portions of residents.
- There’s help for cities available now. If you were unable to attend a workshop and are looking for CCC resources, please visit the state demographer’s website.
- There will also be representatives from the state demographer’s office at the League’s Annual Conference in June this year. If you have questions about CCCs, translation services, or census jobs, please bring them along!
|Not everyone was lucky enough to have State Demographer|
Susan Brower behind the wheel.
Out on the road, I also learned that I am not a big fan of pizza buffets for lunch and that getting your semi full of live cows stuck in a snowbank doesn’t look like much fun at all.
Thank you to all the cities that sent representatives to those workshops. If you have any questions about the census, please contact me at email@example.com or visit the state demographer’s website.