By Ivan Pereira
The national census is around the corner and the state Senate wants to make sure everyone in southeast Queens is counted.
Gurpal Singh, a representative from Albany, gave a presentation to Community Board 12’s monthly meeting Jan. 20 about the count that will take place in March. Singh urged residents to spread the word about this decade’s census because a large part of the population was not counted last time.
“In the Senate we did our own research …. The community loses 30 to 50 thousand dollars for every person who does not fill out a form,” he said.
According to Singh, who works for the Office of Intergovernmental Relations, roughly 30 percent to 40 percent of southeast Queens residents filled out a Census form in 2000, compared to the citywide average of 54 percent and the nationwide average of 64 percent.
Because of this low count, the community lost millions in federal funding that could have been used for anything from infrastructure improvements to new government seats in the state Legislature and federal level.
“They look at the data and distribute money equally,” Singh said.
The representative said residents should make a grassroots push to encourage their neighbors to fill out the forms. A special Complete Count Committee was formed by the Senate Democrats and the Census Bureau to help communicate information to Queens residents.
“My goal is to help you become more comfortable with the census,” Singh said.
He noted that this year’s questionnaire has only 10 questions and none of them ask about immigration status. Singh also said Washington Heights had 74 percent of its population respond to the 2000 census due in part to a large community outreach.
CB 12 Chairwoman Adjoa Gzifa also urged board members and residents to get the word out.
“Each one of you is an ambassador,” she said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.