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Who Gets Missed

Historically, the census has missed certain groups—including young children, people of color, indigenous people, urban and rural low-income households—at disproportionately high rates. Being undercounted deprives communities of equal political representation and private and public resources.

Minnesota’s historically undercounted populations include:

  • Snowbirds (44,000)
  • Children ages 0-4 (350,000)
  • Renter households (1,300,000)
  • Highly mobile persons
  • Young adults (especially those in college) (Ages 18-24: 505,783; College: 301,000)
  • Racial and ethnic minorities (1,060,000)
  • Native/Indigenous people (AIAOIC: 105,477)
  • Non-English speakers (Less than "very well" 233,073)
  • Low income persons (185% FPL: 1,156,985. 100% FPL: 517,476)
  • Persons experiencing homelessness (10,000)
  • Undocumented immigrants (80,000)
  • Persons who distrust the government
  • Persons with mental or physical disabilities (584,974)
  • Persons who do not live in traditional housing

What makes an area hard to count?

The Census Bureau calculates which areas are "hard-to-count" based on a number of variables that are correlated with high non-response rates, such as:

  • Vacant Units
  • Multi-family Housing Units
  • Renter Occupied Units
  • Occupied Units with More Than 1.5 Persons Per Room
  • Households that are Not Husband/Wife Families
  • Occupied Units with No Telephone Service
  • Adults that are Not High School Graduates
  • People Below Poverty Level
  • Households with Public Assistance Income
  • Unemployed People
  • Linguistically Isolated Households
  • Occupied Units Where Householder Recently Moved Into Unit

More Resources

Want to take action to ensure the 2020 Census counts all Minnesotans? We've collected some resources and tools below to help with reaching historically undercounted populations and hard-to-count areas.


Interactive Map: Census Participation Rates in 2010 and 2000: It will be critical to engage and educate low-response areas about Census 2020. Minnesota is a big state, with nearly 5.5 million people and 90,000 square miles of land to cover. We can help the census effort by knowing where to target messages. With this interactive map, you can explore which areas of Minnesota participated at higher or lower rates during the past two decennial Census counts in 2000 and 2010. You can filter by census tract, legislative district, or zip code, looking at previous census participation rates as well as demographic characteristics that might impact response.

Response Outreach Area Mapper (ROAM): You can also find out which geographic areas in Minnesota are predicted to be the hardest to count in 2020 using this online mapping tool from the US Census Bureau. ROAM makes it easier to identify hard-to-survey areas and to explore socioeconomic and demographic characteristic profiles by census tract. Check it out!

Research and Reports

Explore strategies for engaging historically undercounted populations across Minnesota, taken from recent focus groups conducted with members of these communities.

Read the latest national-level research on promoting the census among historically undercounted communities on the US Census Bureau website.

And check out these research briefs on specific populations from the Leadership Conference Education Fund, the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown Law, and the Economic Security and Opportunity Initiative:

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