Pine County is behind in its response rate in the 2020 U.S. Census with 50% of households responding. This puts the county well behind the national rate of 62% and the Minnesota rate of 70%.
The census, which is carried out nationally once every 10 years, is part of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 2) and used to determine many government decisions – including how many U.S. Representatives come from each state.
“Responding to the 2020 census is particularly important for Minnesota as we are on the verge of losing a congressional seat, meaning we would go from eight congressional representatives to seven,” noted Pine County Administrator David Minke. “State and local government use the same numbers to draw boundaries for other elected offices such as county commissioner.”
The census numbers also affect what kind of funds Pine County and the communities within it receive from state and national sources.
“Population is one factor used to determine state aid such a County Program aid for counties and Local Government Aid for Cities,” Minke said. “The recent CARES Act funds were distributed solely based on population.”
On its website (www.census.gov), the U.S. Census Bureau declares that the decision to include the census in the U.S. Constitution back in 1790, “marked a turning point in world history. Previously censuses had been used mainly to tax or confiscate property or to conscript youth into military service. The genius of the Founders was taking a tool of government and making it a tool of political empowerment for the governed over their government.”
“The preamble to the Constitution includes the words ‘in Order to form a more perfect Union,’” Minke noted. “To make the union ‘more perfect’ everyone needs to count, and there is no better way to make yourself count than to complete the census.”