At 1st Congressional Field Hearing on 2020 Census, Advocates and Electeds Highlight Critical Need for Public Funding

May 29th, 2019

Advocates, Community Members, and Electeds Call on City, State to Provide $40M Each to Ensure Full NY Census Count


New York, NY–– Today, advocates, community-members and elected officials testified at a Congressional Field Hearing, in Queens, NY, on the impact of Census 2020 on state and local communities. This hearing, before members of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, including local Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Carolyn Maloney, emphasized the importance of allocating community-based organizations sufficient resources to ensure that hard-to-count areas like Queens are fully and accurately counted. Without sufficient and critical outreach funding, New York risks the loss of two congressional representatives and billions of dollars in federal funding.

"It is impossible to overstate the importance of getting accurate census data," said Representative Carolyn Maloney. "In our state alone, census data drives nearly $73 billion in federal funding per year. And, perhaps most importantly, it helps to determine representation in Congress. Trying to force an undercount of immigrant and minority communities by intimidating immigrant communities is, like so many of the actions of this administration, hateful. I'm grateful to have groups like NYIC, in New York, who are working to make sure we get an accurate count and standing up for immigrant rights."

"With the 2020 Census less than one year away, we need to act swiftly and decisively. There is so much at stake for New Yorkers and with the anticipated undercount in New York City, we must make sure this doesn't happen. Key to this is fully committing and mobilizing resources, including most critically: jobs that will go to New Yorkers who reflect their communities, and robust funding to support the organizations on the ground doing outreach to our hard-to-count communities. This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity, and it is imperative we get this right," said Council Member Carolos Menchaca, Co-Chair of the Council 2020 Census Task Force.

"Today, I testified before the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and underscored how critical it is for the City and State to each invest $40 million in community-based organizations (CBOs) to ensure an accurate 2020 Census count. Without allocating sufficient funding to CBOs with local expertise, as well as the trust of their community members, New York risks an undercount of hard-to-count groups, and thus a devastating loss of political power and billions of dollars in federal funding—funding that is a lifeline for all New Yorkers. The City and State must allocate $40 million each to trusted community based organizations before it’s too late; otherwise, New Yorkers will suffer the consequences for the next decade," said Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.


Census 2020

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. An investment of $2 per person could yield billions in federal funding to New York for ten years. Aggressive community outreach is necessary to assist people completing the census online for the first time, and to educate the community on the impact of a pending Supreme Court decision on the controversial attempt by the federal administration to add a citizenship question to the 2020 survey.