ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) - While Minnesota is still growing as a state, a slower population growth could lead to a lost congressional seat.
In response, the state has spent millions of dollars on a "We Count Minnesota" push to ensure that the most accurate numbers are represented in the upcoming census.This March, every household will get a chance to help their community by answering simple questions.
Today at the Rochester Public Library, a census event educated residents of the big count and why it even matters to you at home.
"When we want to invest in our communities, schools, hospitals, or parks, all of those things are determined by the number of people who are counted that live here," said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.
Affecting both representation and resoruces, ignoring the census can have bad consequences for Minneosta.
"If someone doesn't fill out their census form, if we miss even just one person, that can add up to tow $28,000 over the course of 10 years," said Flanagan.
Fortunately, the 2020 census is easier than ever to complete.
"It's the first time you'll be able to respond online or by phone. In the past, it's always been a paper form," said Minnesota state demographer Susan Brower.
Even with the convenience, many minorities are not counted, resulting in them being underrepresented. The lieutenant governor says she experiences this first hand.
"Too often, I think we are left out of a lot of decisions that are made," Flanagan said. "This is one way we can be civically engaged and make sure people see, hear and value us."
Rochester residents at the library event also pledged to take the 2020 census and were able to post it on the "We Count Minnesota" map.
"The best thing that people can do here in Rochester and the surrounding community is talk to people about it," said Flanagan. "Demystify the census."
However, the state demographer also believes another obstacle would prevent Minnesota having a successful census count.
"One of the things I see standing in the way is that we absolutely don't have enough people to actually go out and take the census," Brower said. "We're not going to have a successful census if we don't have people to take it."
Census takers assist with those who do not self-respond. To help with the shortage of census takers, there are convenient and flexible part-time jobs for those hoping to help out as well as make some extra money.
For more information on these jobs or anything census related, find out more here.