Minnesota's census participation rate reaches 78%by Toni Randolph, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota's census participation rate reached 78 percent Tuesday, tying the response rate from the last census in 2000.
Census officials say they're still processing the forms that were just mailed in and they'll give a final tally for the mail-in response rate next week. Starting next month, census takers will visit households that did not return census forms.
"For the most part people can start expecting visits starting May 1," said Dennis Johnson, regional director for the U.S. Census Bureau. "Over the months of May and June, that's really when we're going to focus all of our efforts, try to visit every single household that has not yet returned a form."
Johnson said he expects enumerators to face some challenges when they start visiting homes.
"There are some neighborhoods and in particular areas where we might have new residents, either new to this country or from some other part of the country," Johnson said. "They may not have all the information they need to know about the census. They may not realize the importance of it, and convincing them to cooperate may be somewhat of a challenge."
Minnesota's current response rate is second only to Wisconsin, which was at 79 percent on Tuesday. The national participation rate is 71 percent.
Census information is used to determine how many seats in Congress each state has. The figures are also used to divvy up federal funding.