NY Projected To Lose The Most Congressional Seats In 2020

December 21st, 2018

Advocates demand $40M for state Census outreach to combat loss

NEW YORK, NY - Yesterday, Election Data Services released its 2018 Appointment Study, finding that New York could lose two congressional seats based on projected Census data in 2020.

According to the study, “all the projection methods indicate New York will lose two congressional districts in 2020”, marginally missing to keep the second seat by as close as 19,648 people. New York state currently holds 27 congressional seats.

New York Counts 2020 is a coalition of stakeholders representing a wide array of issues and industries, including immigrant rights, labor, education, health, government, technology, and business. The coalition aims to maximize participation in the Census and ensure a fair and accurate count in 2020, by asking the state to commit $40 million in Census funding to prevent an undercount.

“The proposed citizenship question is clearly designed to rig the Census by ultimately depriving immigrant-rich states – like New York – of their political power. This is a serious threat to our democracy; Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature must commit $40 million in Census funding to prevent an undercount. We cannot afford to lose our voices in Washington D.C.,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition (Facilitator of New York Counts 2020).

"It is no surprise that the way this administration is handling the upcoming decennial Census has placed New York State at risk of losing two congressional seats. This administration does little to hide its intention to make all Latino immigrants vanish, and to dilute the Latino voting power. LatinoJustice PRLDEF is committed to ensuring Latinx’s in New York and elsewhere are not set back decades by this administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. It is imperative that we all participate in the 2020 Census, and get our friends, family and neighbors counted too," said Jorge Vasquez, Associate Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF & Co-Chair, Advocacy Committee of NY Counts 2020.

“The 2020 census question is yet another example of Trump administration reforms, steeped in white supremacist values, that are meant to divide us and harm communities of color. New York, one of the largest and most diverse communities in the world, standing to lose two congressional seats exemplifies the disastrous impact this census question could have. It threatens to disenfranchise and deprive New Yorkers of fair representation and the resources they rely on,” said Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU and co-chair of New York Counts 2020 Advocacy Committee.  SEIU32BJ is the largest property service union in the country which represents thousands of immigrants from around the world. “We won’t have it and will continue to fight for this dangerous question to not be allowed on our 2020 Census.”

"An accurate census count is always important to ensure that New York gets its fair share of funding, to make sure we are represented, to inform important public policy, to enforce civil rights, and to provide the private sector with reliable information," said Melva Miller, EVP of the Association for a Better New York.  "But now, with the proposed changes to the census including the addition of the citizenship question, the stakes could not be higher. New York City and State should invest at a minimum $40M now to ensure all New Yorkers are counted and we do not lose the over $70B we receive every year from census funded federal programs."

“New York is now in jeopardy of losing two congressional districts  in 2021 based on new Census Bureau state population estimates. While the state had anticipated to lose only one district, a second district loss is possible. New York may miss retaining a second district by as few as 19, 648 people. The need for a fair and accurate 2020 census in New York becomes even more important in light of this new projection. The strength of our congressional delegation is at stake,” said Jeffrey M. Wice, Fellow, Rockefeller Institute of Government, and Senior Advisor, New York Counts 2020.

New York is among 8 to 10 other states that are projected to lose congressional seats, including Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. California has already invested $90.3 million for 2020 Census outreach to ensure an accurate count.

Kimball Brace, President of Election Data Services, Inc. indicated in the study that, “The change in administration, the lack of a Census Director, shortness of funds appropriated to the Bureau, and how well individual states conduct their own Complete Count campaigns could have a profound impact on how well the 2020 Census is conducted, and therefore the counts that are available for apportionment.”


The New York Immigration Coalition, together with over ninety partners, formed New York Counts 2020, a coalition to maximize participation in the census and therefore counter the expected impact of the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the census. If included, a citizenship question will stoke unnecessary fear in immigrant communities and could result in a significant undercount, particularly already under-counted racial and ethnic minority groups.

With immigrants constituting nearly 1 out of 4 New Yorkers, an undercount in the 2020 Census will have catastrophic consequences – costing all New Yorkers political power and millions of dollars in federal funding for key services.

The Fiscal Policy Institute released its cost analysis for New York’s Census education and community outreach. In order to maximize participation and ensure a fair and accurate count, community organizations require sufficient funding to reach marginalized populations. The report takes the Census Bureau’s “hard to count” populations, and proposes a cost estimate of just $2 per person if all residents in hard to count groups receive basic community outreach.

Additionally, the NYIC has filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York in conjunction with the ACLU and four other immigrant rights groups against the administration’s attempt to target immigrant communities, challenging the addition of the citizenship question by adding an intentional discrimination claim. The lawsuit argues that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census violates the Constitution and reverses seven decades of precedent without a factual justification.