April 1st, 2019

Office of the Census for New York City, New York Counts 2020 Coalition, elected officials, City agencies, and hundreds of volunteers kick off 1-year countdown to Census Day, April 1, 2020

NEW YORK, NY – Today, the Office of the Census for New York City Director Julie Menin and New York Counts 2020 coalition members were joined by Deputy Mayor Phillip Thompson, elected officials, City agencies, and volunteers for a Day of Action and rally to mark the one-year countdown until Census Day on April 1, 2020. The grassroots effort affirms the joint commitment from citywide stakeholders to attain a full and accurate count of every New Yorker.

This Day of Action also comes three weeks before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case regarding the Trump Administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. New York City is one of the plaintiffs on the case.

“The Census plays a vital role in sustaining our urban democracy,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson. “Historically, NYC has had significant undercounts of its population, particularly in communities of color. We need to change that by ensuring that disenfranchised and marginalized communities truly understand that the census is all about much needed funding for vital services and political voice and power. I look forward to working for the next 12 months with our partners in government and the community to mobilize each of our communities so we can ensure a full and accurate count in 2020.”

“Our share of over $800 billion of annual federal funding and our voice and power in Congress are at risk, and the stakes could not be higher,” said Julie Menin, Director of the Census for New York City and Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel for Strategic Advocacy. “That is why our office is committed to working with every stakeholder to ensure we get this next census right. The future of our city depends on the census, and we will reach every New Yorker in every neighborhood through strong partnership and collaboration.”

“We are exactly one year away from the 2020 Census, and there's a lot riding on it – including New York's fair share of federal funding for public services and our political representation in Congress. This is why New York Counts 2020 is partnering with the Office of the Census New York City for this NYC Day of Action in 50 locations across the city. Given the state's disappointing $20 million investment in Census outreach, we must work twice as hard and will use today to kick-off our official Census 2020 outreach efforts across New York State to ensure full participation of hard-to-reach communities so that all New Yorkers – immigrants, youth, the homeless, and the elderly – are counted and their voices heard," said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition (Facilitator of New York Counts 2020).

“New York City is at risk of being undercounted in the upcoming census, especially with the potential addition of the citizenship question. I created the New York City Council’s 2020 Census Task Force, co-chaired by Council Members Carlina Rivera and Carlos Menchaca, to mobilize City Council Members to help ensure all New Yorkers get counted. Today, the City Council is excited to join the Office of the Census for New York City and New York Counts 2020 on this Day of Action to start spreading the word that all New Yorkers should be counted in 2020,” said Speaker of the City Council Corey Johnson.

The Day of Action included hundreds of volunteers at over 50 high-traffic locations in all five boroughs, focused on building awareness of the census and communicating the importance of all New Yorkers to participate. The volunteers handed out literature in 11 languages spoken in New York City – English, Spanish, Mandarin, Bengali, Urdu, Arabic, French, Haitian-Creole, Russian, Korean, and Polish.

Many federal programs rely on the population figures collected by the census to distribute federal funds among states and local governments. A total of approximately $800 billion is distributed annually to States across the country through approximately 300 different census-guided federal grant and funding programs. These programs support essential services including healthcare, public education, social services and infrastructure development. Additionally, a Census undercount could jeopardize the number of seats our city has in Congress.

The newly-created Office of the Census for New York City, led by Director Julie Menin who was appointed by Mayor de Blasio in early January, is focused on coordinating the local outreach efforts among civic, community, labor, faith-based, and all relevant stakeholders to get every New Yorker counted and make certain that New York City gets its fair share.

New York Counts 2020 is a statewide coalition of 190 partners from across the state who seek to maximize participation in the 2020 Census and therefore counter the expected impact of this Administration’s efforts to chill participation in the 2020 Census. The coalition represents a wide array of issues and industries including immigrant rights, labor, education, religion, health, government, technology, business, and libraries.

Inaccurate population counts resulting from the possible question could harm cities by depriving them of their fair share of federal funding and removing crucial resources for important government services. New York State alone also stands to lose two congressional seats if the 2020 Census count is inaccurate.

To get involved and sign up for updates from the Office of the Census for New York City, visit www.nyc.gov/census2020.

“I want to thank Julie Menin for joining me on the Lower East Side this morning to get the word out about the importance of filling out the 2020 Census. With just one year to go until applications are sent, it is critical that New Yorkers understand what is at stake - roughly $73 billion in federal funds for programs that help our most vulnerable. As Co-Chair of the City Council's 2020 Census Task Force, I am ready to work with the Mayor's Office to ensure that we are activating community groups and activists in every neighborhood and we receive the funding we need for a complete count," said Council Member Carlina Rivera, Co-Chair of the Council’s 2020 Census Task Force.

“The Census is more than just a simple count of persons, especially here in our City. It determines our economic and political reality, ranging from how much funding we receive for critical public programs to our political representation within Congress. Yet, the political reality is also that more than half of New Yorkers live in ‘hard to count’ communities, a fact that is exacerbated by the Trump Administration's proposal to include a citizenship question. For these reasons, it is all the more important for us to support robust investment in Census outreach -- and to fully fund the community-based organizations who are on the ground doing this work and who know these communities best. This is an imperative, and I stand committed to working with my colleagues in the Council, the Mayor's Office, advocacy and community-based groups, and other key stakeholders in fighting to ensure that all New Yorkers are counted,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Co-Chair of the Council’s Census 2020 Task Force.

“The 2020 Census will be a critical tool for all New Yorkers—regardless of immigration status—to safeguard our fair share of federal funding and political representation,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.“This is a time for all our residents to exercise their power and right to be counted, declaring proudly, ‘I am a New Yorker.’ We’re excited to work with so many partners to get the word out and fight back against any attempt to undermine next year’s census.”

“The Academy of Medical & Public Health Services is a public health organization that works with a critically underserved community in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Sunset Park alone houses nearly 130,000 residents -- nearly half who are immigrants lacking English proficiency and about a third who live in poverty; it is also home to one of NYC's highest concentration of undocumented and newly arrived immigrants. Federal immigration enforcement efforts over the past couple of the years have instilled a general distrust for government and government programs. The Census will not be an exception,” said Mon Yuck Yu, Executive VP & Chief of Staff, Academy of Medical and Public Health Services. “As the number of immigrants continue to grow, we cannot allow issues like housing, healthcare, employment, and school overcrowding, which already plague our community, to continue to affect its socioeconomic vitality, health and wellness. Only with a fair and accurate Census count can we ensure that adequate funding is allocated to reverse this situation. Community groups like ours become one of their few trusted sources of information. We need to have the support for community outreach so that we can make an investment in ensuring that Brooklyn is not undercounted again in 2020."

“Today marks the one-year countdown to Census 2020. Three hundred sixty-five days from today, every person in our country, regardless of place of birth, immigration status, age, or native language will come together to get counted. CPC is proud to support Census outreach and education, especially here in Brooklyn where response rates have traditionally lagged due to fewer committed resources and opportunities to engage the hardest-to-reach New Yorkers,” said Steve Mei, Director of Brooklyn Community Services at the Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. “The year 2020 is also CPC Brooklyn Community Services' 40th birthday. CPC expanded services to this borough in response to a growing Asian American Pacific Islander community. Today, CPC is proud to serve close to 30,000 low-income, immigrant, and AAPI community members in Brooklyn alone. Ever-responsive to emerging community trends, we are proud to kick off today's Census countdown because CPC understands that without accurate, complete data about our communities, we will forever be fighting for the visibility, representation, and influence we deserve.”

“At the YMCA, we are focused on strengthening communities by supporting New Yorkers with the programs and services they need to thrive. Making sure that our city and our citizens have the resources they need starts with the census. It starts with every New Yorker being counted,” said Sharon Greenberger, President & CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York. “Today marks one year from the commencement of the 2020 Census and the YMCA is proud to stand alongside our partners who are dedicated to raising awareness about the census and counting every New Yorker. We must ALL be counted.”

“Ensuring that everyone is counted has to be a top priority for us,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “Given the importance of Census 2020 in distributing billions of dollars in federal funding to communities across the country for the next 10 years, we cannot afford to have anyone missed. The New York City Day of Action is an important opportunity to raise awareness about the upcoming count and educate our communities about how census data impacts our lives by effectively amplifying or silencing our voices in democracy. I am proud to take part in today’s Day of Action. We must have a fair and accurate population count.”

“Today marks the beginning of a yearlong preparation for the 2020 Census,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “We will use this time to prepare for a project which will impact so many aspects of our lives — including the federal dollars New York will receive and the representation we will have in Congress. We also cannot forget that the Federal Administration is already trying to tamper with this census via an attempt to add a citizenship question to the population count. I plan to work closely with the Office of the Census for New York City, City agencies, my fellow elected officials, and volunteers to ensure that every New Yorker is counted.”

“In one year from now, we need every New Yorker counted no matter their heritage, native language or beliefs. We are the greatest City in the world, and participating in the 2020 Census allows us to keep the proper funding, representation, and resources to stay that way,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “This day of action was so important because it engaged New Yorkers in their native language, something important here in my district, where more languages are spoken than perhaps anywhere else in the five boroughs. I know western Queens residents will continue to engage their neighbors in the next year to make their voices heard.”

“The decennial census is critical to the ability of New York — a donor state — to care for its own residents,” said Council Member Francisco Moya. “Without full participation from New Yorkers, we could be stripped of Congressional seats or lose federal funding for countless vital programs. For that pragmatic reason, to say nothing of the moral case, we cannot let the White House weaponize the census against us. The results will directly affect all New Yorkers, regardless of their citizenship status. This is bigger than any individual or partisan differences.”

“New York State’s drastic reduction in budget allocation for Census 2020 will hurt vulnerable communities the most, particularly Black New Yorkers who have been historically undercounted and denied their fair share of the $800 billion in federal funds allocated using census data. This short-sighted decision will impact all New Yorkers, leading to an undercount that jeopardizes our Congressional seats and ability to protect our state from prejudiced and backward policies that hurt us and ultimately undermine our democracy. On behalf of New York’s African descended communities, we call on Governor Cuomo to add an additional $20 million to the Census allocation to ensure that all New Yorkers are counted so that we can be fairly represented in Congress and the federal budget," said Lurie Daniels-Favors, Esq, General Counsel at the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College.