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Census 2020 data FAQs

Here is what you need to know:

Because the 2020 Census was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the release of the data has been delayed as well. To-date, the U.S. Census Bureau has released the 2020 population of all 50 states and the U.S. overall for Congressional reapportionment and sub-state data for legislative redistricting. No additional 2020 data have been released.

What are the redistricting data?

The "redistricting" data file (also known as the P.L. 94-171) is what the state legislature and other local governments use to redraw political boundaries for areas like U.S. congressional and state legislative districts. The redistricting data contains block-level data including total population, total number of housing units, total population in group quarters, detailed race, Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, and the total population 18-years and older.

Our office has reformatted the most-requested data into easy-to-use CSV files, so that the legislature and others in Minnesota can use the data for the redistricting work. These files are available here.

The Census Bureau will also re-release the redistricting data in an easy-to-use format by September 30. The data released by the Census Bureau by August 16 and the data released by September 30 will be identical, but the format of the data file(s) will differ, with the September version being more user-friendly. The data files released by our office, also contain the same data as the two Census Bureau releases, but are a subset of the full redistricting file.

Need the Census data for something other than redistricting?

Many government agencies use census data for funding and planning purposes. The census blocks from the redistricting file (described above) can be added together to obtain the total population of townships, cities, counties, and tribal areas. Once we have reformatted the data file in mid-August for the purpose of redistricting, we will turn to aggregating blocks into larger geographic areas. When these files are ready, we will post them here. We expect to post these files between August 16 and September 3.

Because these aggregated data come from the redistricting file, they will contain only a subset of the data that was collected by the 2020 Census. We will be able to aggregate the following data to larger geographies in late August: total population, total number of housing units, total population in group quarters (by GQ type), detailed race, Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, and the population over/under age 18 years.

When will more data be released?

Additional 2020 Census data is expected to be released in 2022. The U.S. Census Bureau has not yet announced the 2022 release dates, but we will post them here once they are known. Data coming in 2022 will include more detailed age-race-ethnicity breakdowns, and additional geographies that cannot be aggregated up from census blocks.

Anything else I need to know?

The Census Bureau may publish files in 2022 that do not agree with the files that are released in 2021. The differences are likely to be very small. The Census Bureau may do so to implement a new privacy protection method called differential privacy.

We are hoping this does not happen, but it may. If you use the 2020 census data released in 2021, just be aware that a slightly different number may be released in 2022. You will need to decide how your agency or organization will handle any differences that may be published later.

Questions? Email us at demography.helpline@state.mn.us

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