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Census carries great state, local importance

2020 is here, and by April 1, every home in America should receive an invitation to participate. When you get your census forms, it is important that you participate and be counted. There are a lot of things riding on it.

A lot of big decisions will be made using the information collected in the Census. Among them is your representation in local, state and federal government.

We all know that every state elects two senators to the U.S. Senate, whether it be Wyoming or California. But the number of U.S. Representatives in the house is determine by population — one representative for every 711,000 people or so. Every 10 years, the Census data is used to determined which states get how many representatives. Minnesota has eight congressional districts, but it is close to dropping to seven. We need every person counted to keep that eighth district.

Similarly, the state sets up legislative districts, and cities and counties divide up into wards and districts according to where the people are. An accurate count helps assure fair representation.

Census data is also used in a variety of federal programs to decide where federal funding should go. In all, some $675 billion in federal funds is allocated for community programs and services, education programs, housing and community development, health care services for the elderly and so on. An accurate count helps assure that your state or city isn’t going to be shortchanged when the government bean counters are distributing funds.

Outside of government, businesses use census data to decide where to locate factories, shopping centers, movie theaters and so on. An accurate count may help attract some new jobs or services.

All in all, its important to stand up and be counted for the U.S. Census.

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