August 31, 2020

Secretary Wilbur Ross
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20230

Dr. Steven Dillingham
U.S. Census Bureau
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233

Dear Secretary Ross and Director Dillingham,
We, the undersigned Minnesota 2020 Census stakeholders, are asking you to remain committed to your mission of counting everyone once and in the right place. As of today August 31, 2020, only 14% of Minnesota housing units has been enumerated by Non-response Follow Up (NRFU) field operations. This low NRFU percentage brings Minnesota’s overall response rate, including self-response, to 87.9% (11th in the nation). While this may be considered “high” Minnesota’s immigrant and non-English speaking historically undercounted communities, especially of Somali and Hmong descent, face unique language and community challenges.

We estimate that Hennepin County itself makes up approximately 20% of Minnesota’s NRFU addresses. Yet, we are hearing first-hand accounts of Hennepin County residents not getting any visits from enumerators. Using a list of Hennepin County residents from our phone banking work, our outreach associates spoke with 70 Hennepin County residents, between August 23-25, who had previously indicated that they had not yet filled out their form. 18 reported that they had not received a single visit from an enumerator. 11 reported that they had received at least one visit. 10 were unsure if they had been visited. The rest had already self-responded since they were last called.

In addition to that small survey, we have our very own partnership leader who lives in Hennepin County who has yet to be enumerated. We also have several first-hand reports of enumerators with incorrect data for apartment units, as well as information that they are unable to access some multi-unit housing. With these concerns in mind, our state demographer Susan Brower says, “While we do not currently have the full picture of the completeness of census operations in Minnesota from our vantage point, we do have a number of indicators that raise serious questions about the quality of the count in Hennepin County and the state overall.”

The low rate of NRFU completions reported by the Census Bureau for the state overall appears to be stemming from field operations based in the Duluth and Rochester Area Census Offices (ACOs). These two offices serve all counties in Minnesota except Hennepin County. NRFU is 82% complete in the
Minneapolis ACO, 49% complete in the Duluth ACO, and 53% complete in the Rochester ACO as of August 28, 2020. Note that these are not census response rates; they are indicators of the field work that remains.

Therefore, we urgently request that the Census Bureau:

  1. Re-extend field operations to October 31st, to ensure enough time to complete field operations statewide;
  2. provide the Minnesota State Demographic Center with additional information to demonstrate that the 2020 Census has been thoroughly and accurately completed in Hennepin County;
  3. continue field operations in all three Minnesota offices, including Hennepin County, to the end of the NRFU period;
  4. add additional visits to addresses that have not resulted in an interview with a household member;
  5. revisit apartment buildings that include large numbers of units that have neither responded to the census on their own, or been successfully interviewed by a census taker, and
  6. expand the use of Mobile Questionnaire Assistance Centers to include more tracts in Minnesota that have high non-response rates.

On top of that, our Minnesota Census Mobilization Partnership* and allies are rallying our members for this home stretch of 2020 Census engagement. From Hennepin County to Red Lake Nation, the quantity and quality of our NRFU operations is now in question more than ever. Our 8th Congressional seat is on the line. Billions of federal and private dollars that would benefit our historically undercounted and BIPOC communities over the next 10 years are on the line- including COVID-19 recovery funds. The lives and livelihoods of Minnesotans from prenatal to hospice care are on the line. Therefore, we are raising our collective voices to urge you to remain committed to a complete, accurate, and equitable 2020 Census count of all Minnesotans, without any sacrifices.


Nelima Sitati Munene
African Career Education & Resource, Inc.
Brooklyn Park, MN

Linda Her
Asian American Organizing Project
Saint Paul, MN

Vic Rosenthal
Association of Elder Complete Count Committee
Saint Paul, MN

Tuleah S. Palmer
Blandin Foundation
Grand Rapids, MN

Monica Haynes
Bureau of Business & Economic Research – Univ. of MN Duluth
Duluth, MN

Jen Ford Reedy
Bush Foundation
Saint Paul, MN

Ekta Prakash
Brooklyn Center, MN

Caryl Turnow
Central Minnesota Community Foundation
Saint Cloud, MN

Kelly Wolfe
Children’s Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN

Valerie Johnson
City of New Brighton
New Brighton, MN

Toni D. Newborn
City of Saint Paul
Saint Paul, MN

Tom Harmening
City of St. Louis Park
St. Louis Park, MN

Bo Thao-Urabe
Coalition of Asian American Leaders
Saint Paul, MN

Annastacia Belladonna-Carrera
Common Cause MN
Saint Paul, MN

Sia Her
Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans
Saint Paul, MN

Yoke-sim Gunaratne
Cultural Diversity Resources
Moorhead, MN

Jenne Nelson
English Learning Center
Minneapolis, MN

Gayle M. Ober
George Family Foundation
Minneapolis, MN

Amy Goldman
GHR Foundation
Minneapolis, MN

Rodolfo Gutierrez
Saint Paul, MN

Julie Brekke
Twin Cities Metro Area

Chris Yang
Hmong American Census Network
Saint Paul, MN

Mai Vang
Hmong Museum
Saint Paul, MN

Sue Speakman-Gomez
Minneapolis, MN

Emily Shields
Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact
Minneapolis, MN

Wali Dirie
Islamic Civic Society of America
Minneapolis, MN

Ben Cameron
Jerome Foundation
Saint Paul, MN

Alexis Walstad
Karen Organization of Minnesota
Roseville, MN

Alice Moren
KOOTASCA Community Action
Grand Rapids, MN

Michelle Witte
League of Women Voters of Minnesota
Saint Paul, MN

Pamela Kramer
LISC Duluth
Duluth, MN

Mary Quirk
Living at Home Network
Saint Paul, MN

Laura Smith
Macalester College Department of Geography
Saint Paul, MN

Joan Naymark
MACS 2020 – Minnesotans for the ACS & 2020 Census
Minneapolis, MN

Niel Ritchie
Main Street Project
Northfield, MN

Jerri Malone
Malone Group LLC and Ashes to Beauty
Minneapolis, MN

Virginia “Ginny” Arthur
Metropolitan State University
Saint Paul, MN

Sue Watlov Phillips
Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing
Saint Paul, MN

Marie Ellis
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
Saint Paul, MN

Susie Brown
Minnesota Council on Foundations
Minneapolis, MN

Rosa Tock
Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs
Saint Paul, MN

Yao Yaj
Minnesota Hmong Chamber of Commerce
Saint Paul, MN

Wayne Ducheneaux
Native Governance Center
Saint Paul, MN

Nancy Brady
Neighborhood House
Saint Paul, MN

Kevin Walker
Northwest Area Foundation
Saint Paul, MN

Karen White
Northwest Minnesota Foundation
Bemidji, MN

Mark Erpelding
Open Access Connections
Saint Paul, MN

Teshite Wako
Oromo Chamber of Commerce
Columbia Heights, MN

Stuart Knappmiller
Payne Phalen Elders
Saint Paul, MN

Jack Byers
Payne-Phalen Community Council
Saint Paul, MN

Joan Ellison
Pelican Rapids Multicultural Committee
Pelican Rapids, MN

Nicque Mabrey
People Serving People
Minneapolis, MN

Adair Mosley
Pillsbury United Communities
Minneapolis, MN

Dr. Artika R. Tyner
Planting People Growing Justice, LLC
Saint Paul, MN

Debra Larson
Prairie Five CAC
Montevideo, MN

Toni Carter
Ramsey County Board of Commissioners
Saint Paul, MN

Alisha Gehlert
Red Lake Nation Complete Count Committee
Red Lake, MN

B. Kyle
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce
Saint Paul, MN

Denise Wickiser
Senior Services Consortium of Ramsey County
Saint Paul, MN

Abdullah Hared
Somali Community Resettlement Services
Faribault, MN

Diana Anderson
Southwest Initiative Foundation
Hutchinson, MN

Susan Brower
Minnesota State Demographic Center
Saint Paul, MN

Nancy Jacobs
Sundance Family Foundation
Saint Paul, MN

Kevin Robinson
The Concern Parent Group
Saint Paul, MN

Pamela Wheelock
The McKnight Foundation
Minneapolis, MN

R.T. Rybak
The Minneapolis Foundation
Minneapolis, MN

Denise Mayotte
The Sheltering Arms Foundation
Minneapolis, MN

Shelly Diaz
MN Census Mobilization Partnership – Tribal Hub
Maplewood, MN

Todd Graham
Twin Cities Research Group
Minneapolis, MN

Brett Grant
Voices for Racial Justice
Minneapolis, MN

Fatima Lawson
West African Collaborative
Minneapolis, MN

Martin Hernandez
West Side Community Organization
Saint Paul, MN

Sara Carlson
Willmar Area Community Foundation
Willmar, MN

*The Minnesota Census Mobilization Partnership (MCMP) is a cross-sector collaboration of organizations and individuals working together to advocate for policies and resources, and engage Minnesotans to achieve the goal of a fully inclusive, honest and accurate 2020 Census in Minnesota.