Richfield is forming a Complete Count Committee in preparation for the 2020 census
To many residents, the decennial census conducted by the United States Census Bureau is little more than a nuisance requiring them to fill out a questionnaire or answer questions by a government employee that comes to their door. But to a municipality, such as Richfield, the data collected by the census means everything.
The final tally of residents determines the amount of government funding a city will be eligible for. In an effort to make sure that an accurate count of Richfield residents occurs, the city is forming a Complete Count Committee.
Richfield’s Complete Count Committee aims to make the 2020 census easier for all residents, while still making sure that everyone is accounted for. Complete Count Committees consist of government and community leaders from education, business, health care and other organizations.
“We plan on utilizing the Complete Count Committee to make the census process smoother for both the city and our residents,” explained Executive Aid/Analyst Jared Voto, who is helping organize the committee.
It cannot be overstated how important it is that Richfield provides an accurate count of its population for other government operations to run smoothly, especially when it comes to funding.
Federal and state governments use the census’ population count to determine the amount of funding sent to a municipality for educational programs, health care, law enforcement and transportation.
If certain segments of the population are underrepresented in the census, there could be negative consequences for those communities over the next ten years. Following the 2000 census, Richfield was a prime example of what can happen when undercounting occurs.
“When the final population numbers were released following the 2000 census, Richfield was only a few hundred people short of 35,000,” remembered Community Development Director John Stark. “As a city, we were fairly confident that we had the necessary people residing within city limits to hit the 35,000 person mark. However, because of undercounting Richfield lost out on a substantial amount of federal transportation funding over the course of the next decade.”
Traditionally, one of Richfield’s hardest-to-count populations that the Complete Count Committee will be focusing on is the city’s Latino community.
According to the 2010 censuses, the Latino community accounted for 18.3 percent of the Richfield’s population, and that number is expected to increase. This segment of the population needs to be accurately counted in order for the correct amount of funding and aid to be sent to Richfield.
“Any resident that has strong ties to these often hard to count populations is encouraged to be a part of the Complete Count Committee to make sure that Richfield is accurately represented for the next ten years,” said Pam Dmytrenko, Assistant City Manager and Complete Count Committee coordinator.
A Complete Count Committee kick-off meeting will take place on September 13 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Richfield Community Center, 7000 Nicollet Avenue.