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The importance of 2010 Census

December 23, 2010
Marshall Independent

Maybe it's because it happens just once every 10 years, but the census isn't something that demands the general citizen's attention.

However, we would be remiss if we didn't recognize the 2010 Census and what it means for the state of Minnesota.

Every 10 years, the bureau releases population figures that are used to distribute the 435 seats in the U.S. House. Fast-growing states pick up seats at other states' expense. Minnesota and Missouri were on the edge of the cliff when it came to which state would drop a seat in the U.S. House.

Minnesota was just 8,739 residents away from losing its eighth House seat to North Carolina. Instead, Missouri - along with Midwestern states Iowa and Illinois - not Minnesota will lose a seat in the House.

That's big news -?good news - for Minnesota.

States that lose U.S. House seats have less of an influence in Washington and lose votes in the electoral college as well.

Minnesota was also spared from losing out on important federal dollars that are used for things like infrastructure, transportation and health care. Losing out on that money would've been a big blow to a state already in dire financial straits.

Census figures show that Minnesota grew almost twice as fast as the rest of the Midwest; its 7.8 percent gain - our population is now up to 5.31 million - from the past decade beat out all other northern states except our neighbors to the west, South Dakota.

Minnesota does, however, lag behind the national population rate increase and there is a chance, with continued slow growth, that Minnesota - which hasn't lost a U.S. House seat since 1960 - will come out on the other end in 2020 and will lose that seat. But for now, the political leaders of this state should count their blessings and census officials should be proud of their summer campaign blitz that opened people's eyes to the importance of returning their census forms.

And the citizens of Minnesota who didn't bother filling out their census forms should think twice before they dismiss it again 10 years from now.



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