Harlem Representative Espaillat Calls For Census Extension Amid Coronavirus Fears

Harlem’s congressional representative called on the federal government to extend the 2020 census counting period to account for the difficulties presented by the current coronavirus pandemic.

Rep. Adriano Espaillat spoke on the floor of congress Thursday to call for a three-month extension of the census. Households in the United States began receiving invitations to complete the census on Thursday and counting efforts will run through the end of July, according to the government’s census website.

“Today the census begins to reach out to households across America. All communities across the country must be counted. Particularly, those that are hard to count communities. The census is for everybody. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic we face now difficult challenges for the census,” Espaillat said Thursday.

New York has already taken dramatic measures to combat the spread of coronavirus and encourage social distancing. On Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all gatherings of more than 500 people to be canceled, including Broadway productions. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a local state of emergency on the same day.

New Yorkers can complete the census by mail, phone or online once they receive an invitation to respond. For directions on how to respond, check out the census website.

The census count effects how money and power is distributed in the United States among local, state and federal levels. New York State officials such Cuomo launched campaigns to increase participation among state residents, especially communities of color which are often under-counted.

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