Accurate 2020 Census Count At Risk, Gov. Cuomo Yet to Release Funds for Census Outreach

Six Months out from Census Day, Community Based Organizations Call on Gov. Cuomo to Release Funds to Guarantee an Accurate and Fair Census Count

NEW YORK, NY – With only six months left until Census Day (April 1, 2020), which marks the official start of data collection for the 2020 Census, community based organizations (CBOs) are sounding the alarm about the need for Governor Cuomo to release allocated Census funding to ensure a fair and accurate count.

Although Gov. Cuomo allocated $20M in for census funding in April 2019, he has yet to release a plan for disbursing those funds. California and many other states across the nation have already distributed funds to CBOs and launched local outreach efforts to ensure that all hard-to-count communities are included in Census 2020. With little time left for New York’s trusted community organizations to design and implement outreach plans, it is imperative that Gov. Cuomo release funds to maximize participation of undercounted communities and to guarantee New York receives its fair share of federal funding and political representation for the next decade.

“The clock is ticking on Census 2020, and Governor Cuomo needs to wake up. It's been six months since the Governor guaranteed $20 million for Census outreach in the budget, but since then there's been little movement. Now, there's only six months to undo the damage wrought by the Trump Administration’s multi-year campaign to weaponize the Census. All New Yorkers lose when immigrants, senior citizens, children and other hard-to-count communities, especially in rural areas, are undercounted. Gov. Cuomo must release funds to trusted community groups now to ensure our fair share of federal funding and political representation and to safeguard New York’s future,” said Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are the fastest growing racial group nationally and in New York State. The Census determines our political representation and funding for critical services for the next decade. In many of the places where the overall population has declined, immigrant, refugee, and AAPI communities continue to grow. Without immediate release of these funds and investment in community-based outreach, hard-to-count factors and distrust of government may cause these communities to be missed entirely,” said Wayne Ho, President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC). “New Yorkers need fair representation in government and accurate, disaggregated data to plan and invest in local resources and infrastructure. With just six months until Census Day, we are running out of time. CPC urges the Governor to release the funds he included for the Census and make sure communities are fairly and accurately counted.”

“With current research on the public attitudes towards the Census showing that Asian Americans were the least likely race group to respond to the Census, it is essential that trusted voices, like community-based organizations, elected officials, and community leaders, get the additional resources they need to do the extra outreach work that needs to happen for a complete and accurate Census,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation. “Our Census Information Center relies on accurate information from the Census Bureau for our reports that advocate on behalf of the Asian communities of New York. The 2020 Census will impact the quality of this data for the next decade.”

"New York state stands to lose $2,687 for each resident from 16 major federal funding programs if New Yorkers are undercounted. Five months ago, New York appropriated $20 million for census 2020 outreach, yet with less than six months before the 2020 Census starts, the state has yet to allocate any of those funds. We call on the Governor to act swiftly and in a transparent manner to distribute these funds to ensure local governments and trusted community-based allies are best positioned to ensure a fair and accurate count of all New Yorkers," said Jorge Luis Vasquez, Jr. Associate Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

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