It's a playful rivalry now, but competition between Mpls. and St. Paul was once fierce

The Twin Cities rivalry between Minneapolis and St. Paul may be mostly good-natured these days.

But in the late 1800s, as the cities grew rapidly from frontier towns into centers of politics and industry, the competition between them was fierce.

Each wanted to claim the prize of being the bigger city, and those tensions came to a head during the census of 1890.

Here's Why The Census Bureau May Be In Your Neighborhood Before The 2020 Count

Starting this month, tens of thousands of Census Bureau workers are knocking on doors across the country to make sure the bureau has a complete list of addresses of where people live in the U.S.

Those addresses determine where the bureau will mail instructions and send the next major deployment of workers in 2020 for the constitutionally mandated head count of every resident, which is conducted by household.

"If the Census Bureau does not even have the address, what they miss is not just one person. It's the entire household, so it's serious stuff," says Jim Chang, Arizona's state demographer, whose office is working to make sure all of the state's home addresses are included.

Census Bureau Announces the Start of First Major Field Operation for 2020 Census

NEWS RELEASE: CB19-CN.08

AUG. 12, 2019 — Today, the U.S. Census Bureau briefed the media on the launch of address canvassing, the first major field operation of the 2020 Census. Address canvassing improves and refines the Census Bureau’s address list of households nationwide, which is necessary to deliver invitations to respond to the census. The address list plays a vital role in ensuring a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the United States.

Becker County ratchets up its census committee The 2020 U.S. Census can have a financial impact locally.

Detroit Lakes Online. July 30, 2019.

The 2020 census is fast approaching, and Becker County is stepping up to make sure as many people as possible are counted, since it can have a big financial impact locally.

“It’s important for citizens to understand why it’s important,” said Guy Fischer, economic development coordinator for the county. “It brings funding into our county.”

Why Minnesota nonprofits and foundations are leading the way to boost 2020 census turnout

Star Tribune July 6, 2019.

As Minnesota gears up for the census in April 2020, nonprofits are already taking the lead, intensifying a grassroots effort to get out the word about the once-in-a-decade count. Across the country, nonprofits and foundations are getting more involved, and Minnesota’s sector is leading the way.

“Our objective is to get Minnesotans ready to respond. We don’t get a do-over with the census,” said Bob Tracy, director of public policy at the Minnesota Council on Foundations, who added that the sector organized sooner, starting in 2015, and is more engaged than for the past census. “Foundations and nonprofits are much, much more active.”

Census Chief Assures Lawmakers IT and Cyber Risks are Under Control

The Census Bureau still faces a lengthy list of IT and cybersecurity risks less than a year before the 2020 count, but on Tuesday the agency’s chief told lawmakers that they have the situation under control.

“This is a mammoth operation ... there will be risk throughout the 2020 Census,” Director Steven Dillingham said before the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “We’re managing those risks and we’re making progress, and we’ll continue to make progress.”

His reassurance came as officials from the Government Accountability Office reiterated longstanding concerns that delayed IT rolloutsshortened security tests and opaque cyber patching processes could leave the decennial census vulnerable to system failures and digital attacks. The office has included the 2020 count on its list of high-risk government programs since 2017.

“I don’t think we’re looking at disaster but there’s still a lot of work [that] needs to be done going forward,” Robert Goldenkoff, director of GAO’s strategic issues office, said during the hearing.

GAO again warns of risks in 2020 census. Jul 18, 2019

When the Government Accountability Office labeled the 2020 census as a high-risk government program in February 2017, the Census Bureau planned to address many of its challenges by re-engineering the census infrastructure and relying on new time and money-saving applications.

Now, a July 16 GAO report details three primary concerns the watchdog agency has with the Bureau’s tech-based approach: untested innovations, implementation of IT systems and cybersecurity risks.

The Bureau plans to use online census forms, which it expects will not only reduce costs but also increase accessibility and efficiency. Other innovations include re-engineering field operations, using administrative records and verifying addresses in-office. While these innovations show promise, they lack proper testing, GAO said, which raises the possibility of unexpected risks.


Census Eclipses 500K Applicants, Still Needs 2.3M More

The U.S. Census Bureau is exceeding its recruiting goals as it prepares to launch the decennial count, though it is facing some challenges to hire and train employees as it seeks 2.3 million more applicants. 

The bureau has already received more than 500,000 applicants, Tim Olson, Census’ associate director for field operations, said at an event in Las Vegas this week. That recruiting effort was to fill jobs for address canvassing, a process that enables Census to verify the type and location of every household in the country. Census only needed 200,000 applicants to fill the 50,000-60,000 jobs the canvassing required, Olson said, but all the applicants will remain in the bureau’s database as it hires enumerators for next year’s count. 

Census needs to hire 500,000 people next year for jobs that will pay between $13.50 and $30 an hour. The bureau plans to start its major recruiting drive in October, Olson said, and will seek 2.3 million applicants. Census will launch an advertising campaign for the hiring at both a national and local level. It has already hired 5,000 recruiters throughout the country to solicit applicants, he said. 

If it’s new tech, be sure to test it, GAO tells Census Bureau

New technologies introduce new risks to the census count “in part because they have not been tested extensively, if at all,” said Robert Goldenkoff, director of strategic issues at the Government Accountability Office, during testimony before the House civil rights subcommittee on Wednesday. In 2017 and 2018, the bureau scaled back operational tests, citing budget uncertainties.

“Without sufficient testing across the range of geographic locations, housing types, living arrangements, and demographic groups, operational problems can go undiscovered,” Goldenkoff said. “And the opportunity to refine procedures and systems could be lost.”