Community readies for Census 2020
Census 2020 is coming, and on the ground in Richfield, the community is getting ready. The Richfield Counts Campaign is underway striving to get every city resident counted in this spring’s biennial census.
“The Richfield Counts campaign was formed to support awareness in our community,” said Blanca Martinez Gavina, Census Coordinator for the City of Richfield. “Our hope is that through this campaign we can build partnerships in the community to encourage record-setting participation in the census.”
The city is spearheading the efforts through its Complete Count Committee.
Formed in 2018, Richfield was the first Minnesota city to form a committee dedicated to the 2020 Census. The committee is focused on developing strategies to mobilize the community. Three additional Complete Count Committees are active in Richfield, working in tandem with the city and other local stakeholders to coordinate outreach efforts.
The Census Bureau estimates that approximately 7,300 Richfield residents are likely to go uncounted in the 2020 Census. Some examples of these hard to count populations are: young children, racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, non-English speakers, renters, residents who move often, persons experiencing homelessness and young mobile adults.
Reaching those hard-to-count communities is one of the main focuses of the Richfield Complete Count Committee. The group will work on education and awareness with those groups, specifically along the southern and eastern border of the community, where lower response rates to the census have previously been recorded.
“Our strategy is to provide multiple opportunities for our hard-to-count communities to encounter information about the census,” explained Gavina. “Through the Richfield Counts campaign, we hope to make sure that our outreach is effective and culturally competent. We are discussing everything from hosting roundtable discussions and collaborating with the schools to door knocking and yard signs. All those things can add up and make a difference.”
Count begins in March
Beginning in March 2020, residents can expect to receive mailings from the census. The mailings will instruct residents to respond for the entire household by mail, by phone or online. The online response option is new in 2020. Once residents respond for their household they will receive no additional communication from the census.
If a response is not received, the census will continue sending reminder mailings throughout March and April. Beginning in May 2020, census takers, will begin visiting non-responding households to complete the census in person.
Participation is Crucial
At a state level, Minnesota is in danger of losing its eighth representative in Congress based on the 2020 Census. It is vital that all Minnesotans be counted in order to ensure sufficient representation in Washington D.C.
On a local level, each resident brings more than $2,790 in federal funding to the state every year, and those funds are then distributed to cities. Richfield utilizes its federal dollars for transportation and infrastructure projects, affordable housing creation, first time homebuyer loans, head start programs and free and reduced school lunches. Participation in the census ensures that Richfield receives its fair allotment of federal dollars to continue funding these important projects.
Participation in the census if also important for the aggregated data it eventually provides. By 2022, all data will be available to illustrate who comprises the City of Richfield. The data provided can describe how big the average Richfield household is, the average age of residents, how many children are in our community and what the ethnic and racial makeup of the city was in 2020.
“The data that we eventually receive from the Census Bureau is tremendously important for decision-making,” remarked City Manager Katie Rodriguez. “Those numbers reflect our community and allow policymakers, staff and advocates to make well-informed decisions on behalf of our residents.”
The Richfield Counts campaign encourages residents to take one concrete step towards supporting the census efforts. Beyond filling out their own census questionnaire, residents are encouraged to:
- Share Information: Talk with family, neighbors and coworkers about the upcoming census and what they can expect. Go to http://www.richfieldmn.gov/census for more information or follow #WeCountMN for updates from the State Demographic Center.
- Take the Pledge: Pledge to participate in the 2020 census. By signing up to take the pledge, residents will receive a reminder call or email from the city encouraging them to participate.
- Join a Complete Count Committee in Richfield: Join one of the teams in Richfield’s working to build partnerships in the community and encourage participation in the census.
- Work for the Census: The Census is also hiring people to work as census takers in their own communities. Hours are flexible and in Hennepin County the hourly pay rate starts at $25 per hour. More information is available online at: http://2020census.gov/jobs.
For more information about participating in the 2020 Census or joining Richfield’s Complete Count Committee, contact Blanca Martinez Gavina by calling 612-861-9701 or emailing email@example.com.