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Make it count in the right place

New Census forms will be mailed out next year, and results of the every-10-year count will determine how federal money is split up among the 50 U.S. states -- as well as how many Congressional seats each state will have.

A Minnesota Public Radio report Monday detailed a scenario in which Minnesota could suffer an undercount. You can thank Mother Nature for this.

For years, Minnesota loses a small but not insignificant part of its population to warm-weather states during the winter months. While a Minnesota resident will almost certainly receive a Census form at his or her Gopher State address, another form will likely to come to their winter address.

According to Census rules, people who live in Minnesota for a majority of the year should be counted as Minnesotans -- the simple point being that the Census wants to count people at their usual residences. But if someone who winters in Arizona gets a form there and returns it, they'll be counted as an Arizona resident.

That's because, as MPR reported, Census forms now have a barcode that's tied to the address where they're mailed, meaning a form mailed to (for instance) an Arizona state will count for Arizona no matter what.

Filling out the Census forms that will be arriving in the coming months is important enough. As it turns out, so is filling them out in the right location.

-- Worthington Daily Globe