Minnesota started its 2020 census outreach in 2015, bringing together local governments, foundations and businesses to spur participation. California allocated $187 million beginning in 2019 to get its people counted. And New York City alone spent $40 million on census advertising, texts and events.
By contrast, Texas didn’t invest in a census program until last September, dedicating $15 million months after the count had begun. Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, said in 2019 that the state would not “have a role” in aiding the count, before ultimately agreeing to an unfunded committee in January 2020. And Arizona spent less than $1.5 million on census efforts in what remains one of the fastest-growing states.
The sharply divergent ways that states either embraced census efforts or treated them as a low priority are now having significant repercussions for each state’s power in Congress and its Electoral College votes throughout the 2020s. While the Census Bureau results released on Monday showed the West and the Sun Belt continuing to grow in population, the political gains were softer than expected.
Arizona, Florida and Texas — Republican-run states that committed relatively few resources to the census — each ended up with one House seat fewer than the Census Bureau had forecast, while Minnesota and New York, controlled by Democrats, did better than expected.