Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Census 2020 called on the U.S. Census Bureau today to extend 2020 Census operations to ensure a complete and accurate count of all New Yorkers.
The U.S. Census Bureau should be extended in light of the many challenges and threats posed by the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
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Especially given that the 2020 Census is the only first census to feature the ability to self-respond to the census online and via phone, the Bureau’s door-knocking operation has been expected to be widespread and robust, and such an operation places both residents and enumerators at risk at this time.
“From the very beginning, New York City has been fighting COVID-19 with one hand tied behind our back. It is more important than ever for New Yorkers to participate in the 2020 Census to ensure we have the resources that are rightfully ours for the next decade,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I am calling on the Census Bureau to extend the census period so that all Americans can get counted without risking their health and safety.”
In a letter to U.S. Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham, Mayor de Blasio called on the Bureau to make implement the following changes:
Rescheduling Early Non-Response Follow-Up (NRFU) to later in the year: Early NRFU, during which Census Bureau enumerators are scheduled to begin a door-knocking process in approximately 10 percent of census tracts in New York City is designed to primarily count college students and other transient populations. Given that the large majority of college students living off-campus are no longer attending classes and have largely left New York City, rescheduling this count to August and September will help ensure that students are enumerated upon their return to school.
Delaying Non-Response Follow-up (NRFU): As of yesterday, NRFU, which involves tens of thousands of enumerators interacting with potentially millions of New Yorkers in person at their homes, has been delayed until late May. Given the spread of COVID-19 and the timeline, the City currently anticipates will be required to flatten the curve of the virus’ spread, the Mayor is calling on the Bureau to delay NRFU to later in the summer.
Extending the self-response window: The 2020 Census can currently be responded to online and via phone by all New Yorkers. The ability to self-respond is currently slated to end on July 31, 2020, which corresponds with the currently-scheduled end of the enumeration period. To ensure that there is sufficient time for all New Yorkers to respond to the census, the Mayor is calling on Bureau to extend the self-response window to September 30, 2020.
“Now more than ever, we need every New Yorker to be counted,” said Julie Menin, Director of NYC Census 2020. “The U.S. Census Bureau must acknowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic is a barrier to an accurate count and that a lack of a timeline adjustment may result in an inaccurate or incomplete count. The census determines New York City’s fair share of federal health care funding, and every New Yorker must be given a chance to be counted. At this critical time, it is even more important for New Yorkers to fill out the census, as various types of healthcare funding, including for children’s health insurance programs, are linked to the census.”
“Census data is used to make significant decisions across many government services, including healthcare,” said Dr. Joseph Salvo, Chief Demographer for the Population Division for the New York City Department of City Planning. “If we do not have an accurate count, the future of the city will be hampered for the next ten years.”
All New Yorkers are urged to self-respond to the 2020 Census online, over the phone, or by mail today. The census is now more accessible than ever, and it can be completed without leaving the home or coming into contact with any other person. The census determines whether New York City receives its fair share of hundreds of billions distributed by the federal government every year for important programs and services. The more New Yorkers who fill out the census, the more money the city receives for schools, hospitals, transportation, job training, and so much more. The census also determines each state’s fair share of representation in Congress, as well as how local, state, and federal legislative district lines are drawn, meaning the power of New York City’s voice in Washington, D.C., and Albany is also based on the census.
New Yorkers can fill out the census at my2020census.gov or via 15 different phone lines:
NYC Census 2020 is a first-of-its-kind organizing initiative established by Mayor de Blasio in January 2019 to ensure a complete and accurate count of all New Yorkers in the 2020 Census. The $40 million programs is built on four pillars: (1) a $19 million community-based awards program, The New York City Complete Count Fund, empowering 157 community-based organizations to engage historically undercounted communities around the 2020 Census; (2) an in-house “Get Out the Count” field campaign supported by the smart use of cutting-edge data and organizing technology, and a volunteer organizing program to promote a complete count in each of the city’s 245 neighborhoods; (3) an innovative, multilingual, tailored messaging and marketing campaign, including a $3 million commitment to investing in the community and ethnic media to reach every New York City community; as well as (4) an in-depth Agency and Partnerships engagement plan that seeks to leverage the power of the City’s 350,000-strong workforce and the city’s major institutions, including libraries, hospitals, faith-based communities, cultural institutions, higher educational institutions, and more, to communicate with New Yorkers about the critical importance of census participation.
Through close partnerships with trusted leaders and organizations across the five boroughs, this unprecedented campaign represents the largest municipal investment in census organizing nationwide and will build an enduring structure that empowers New Yorkers to remain civically engaged.