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Minnesota close to losing a congressional seat after census

Getting an accurate — and full — count of Minnesotans in the 2010 U.S.

Getting an accurate — and full — count of Minnesotans in the 2010 U.S. Census will be crucial for maintaining the state’s eight congressional districts, a state census official said in Bemidji Tuesday.

Quoted in  the Bemidji Pioneer, Ryan Dolan, Census 2010 campaign coordinator for the State Demographic Center, said: “We predict we’re 1,787 people away from losing the last seat. We have about 1,700 townships in the state, so if we miss one person in every township, we lose a congressional seat. That’s just one person in every small town in our state.”

He spoke at a town hall meeting on the census and said the 7th Congressional District, now held by Rep. Collin Peterson, a DFLer from Detroit Lakes, would see the most pressure, as the 7th stretches from the Canadian border to within 40 miles of the Iowa border. The 8th District, held by Rep. Jim Oberstar, a Democrat from Chisholm, is mostly compact and could extend across northern Minnesota with the loss of a seat.

“This is a significant loss of power to the state of Minnesota. We already know what if feels like to be one senator short. If we’re one House member short, that’s a whole quagmire we’ll be dealing with in redrawing the (apportionment) map.”

Census results also affect distribution of federal dollars to the states, he said.

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 “About $300 billion is tied to the Census numbers every single year in federal money to the states. With the new administration, it’s nearly $400 billion.” So for every person missed in Minnesota’s census count, $1,000 to $1,200 per person in lost federal aid, he said.

“If we miss one person in the Census, we lose $10,000 to $12,000 over a 10-year period,” he said.