City launches complete count campaign for 2020 census

Rally to kick off the NYC Census 2020 Complete Count Campaign
Courtesy of Mayor’s office

With just eight weeks until New Yorkers can begin completing the 2020 Census online, Mayor Bill de Blasio joined more than 160 community partners that convened for a complete count campaign kickoff and release a campaign plan.

Advocates, service providers, representatives from labor and major civic institutions are all part of the nation’s largest and most diverse coordinated municipal campaign to achieve a complete and accurate count.

“New York City has been on the front lines of the resistance against the Trump administration and ensuring every New Yorker gets counted is central to that fight,” de Blasio said. “Now matter how hard the federal government tries to silence our diverse voices, we will still stand up and be counted.”

The city will spend more than $8 million on a media and advertising campaign representing the largest such investment in a census campaign to date.

“We have to get this right to ensure we receive the proper federal funding for our schools, our roads, our health care, our public housing and more,” City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said.”This is our once-in-a-decade opportunity to show the federal government that we are here, and that we count. The City Council pushed hard to make sure we allocated $40 million in the current budget for the efforts to count every New Yorker, because every New Yorker matters.”

The census campaign will be advertising in 16 languages, including several languages spoken by New Yorkers with high levels of limited proficiency in English. A huge network of more than 150 community and immigrant organizations will take part in the integrated outreach program that will recruit thousands of volunteers citywide with the ultimate goal of getting hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to self-respond to the census, especially in historically undercounted communities.

“Ten years ago, we lost vital federal dollars, services, and representatives because of low Census returns in western Queens,” City Councilman Costa Constantinides said. “It is crucial we make sure every resident is counted this time around, because every New Yorker deserves fair representation no matter one’s status.”

One immigrant organization involved in the complete count campaign is Make the Road New York.

“As someone who lives in Corona, one of the hardest places to count, I know the importance of the census,” MRNY’s Alma Grande said. “”I went to over-crowded schools, and now I go to a hospital that is not even in the district because Corona does not have a hospital. This year, I will make sure my family gets counted and that my community gets counted because I want to make sure my niece and other kids in the area don’t face the same circumstances I did. Members of Make the Road New York are excited to partner with New York City to make sure our voices are heard in this process.”

In 2010, New York City’s self-response rate was nearly 15 points less than the national average and the U.S. Census Bureau is currently estimating that the New York area’s self-response rate could be as low as 58 percent in 2020.

“We are working diligently on 2020 Census outreach here in southeast Queens and the Complete Count Campaign will go a long way in empowering our partners in this effort,” City Councilman I. Daneek Miller said. “Given the current political climate, the need for hyper-local, culturally-sensitive outreach is greater than ever. My colleagues and I are pleased to be a part in this historic investment which will not only facilitate a complete count, but will also strengthen the relationship between diverse community-based non-profits and city government.”

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