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Wisconsin and Minnesota lead census response

How did the cheese heads get ahead of us on this?

How did the cheese heads get ahead of us on this?

If Minnesotans paid any attention to the paranoid census detention-camp pronouncements of Michele Bachmann, it's not showing in how we responded to the survey.

Minnesota remains in the Top 5 states for census participation, sadly coming in at No. 2 behind Wisconsin as of this morning. We have an 80 percent participation rate compared to Wisconsin's 81 percent. Both figures are head and shoulders above the national rate of 72 percent.

"This year's return rate speaks for itself -- we have had much better response than we even dreamed of," regional census manager Rich Gerdes told the Pioneer Press. "Those types of detractors, I'm sure they do have an influence on some situations, but I think people do realize how important the census is."

In Hennepin County there's 81 percent participation; in Ramsey it's 80 percent. Maple Grove's 86 percent is the highest for any one community in the state, and third nationally.

Anyone who mailed in their census form after April 16 -- or not at all -- will likely be paid a visit by one of hundreds of thousands of census workers set to fan out around the country starting tomorrow.

The idea, of course, is to get the most accurate count possible for the constitutionally-mandated event. The results help the federal government figure out how to divvy up $400 billion in federal funds.

It also determines how many House and Senate seats each state has in Congress. And there's been a lot of speculation that if Minnesota's count is down, it could lose a seat -- possibly Bachmann's.