Albany Stingy With Census Money

BROOKLYN — At the close of the state budget hearings Sunday, lawmakers set aside $20 million for the state’s 2020 Census efforts, less than half the amount a decade ago. 

Census 2020 Graphic (Census Bureau)

Pols were hoping to get a boost in funding to reverse the dismal 2010 participation when only 61.9% of New Yorkers participated in the nationwide count. Brooklyn was the hardest to count and risks losing out on congressional representation along with federal and state funding.

“We cannot afford to shortchange 2020 Census outreach funding, not after cycle after cycle has resulted in short counts of Brooklynites and New Yorkers that in turn have shortchanged us from vital resources,” said Adams who penned a letter to Gov. Cuomo mid-March asking for $60 million, with $20 million set aside for the city.

“I urge the State to find whatever legal means to fund the full $60 million request of community advocates for Census outreach, not merely the $20 million allocated in the recent State budget.”

Lawmakers and organizers also fear the inclusion of the citizen question on the 2020 Census could further hamper responses from members in Brooklyn’s large immigrant community. Borough Park, Brownsville and East Flatbush were among the most difficult neighborhoods to count with the East Flatbush tract reporting as low as 55.9% compared to the nation’s 76% response rate.

East Flatbush is home to more than 53.1% of foreign-born residents.

Map of hard to count areas in Brooklyn (Screenshot: Center for Urban Research)
Map of hard to count areas in Brooklyn (Screenshot: Center for Urban Research)

“I am deeply disappointed by the state legislature’s decision to allocate only $20 million for community-based organizations to conduct census outreach—half the amount requested by the New York Counts 2020 Coalition,” said Mohammed Razvi, executive director for the Council of People’s Organization.

“…I understand the value of education and outreach to ensure an accurate census count, in particular in low-income, immigrant, and other hard-to-reach communities. Outreach has always been an important strategy to dispel fears about the census,” he added.

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Kadia Goba

Former Politics Reporter for Bklyner, covering Brooklyn politics and Crown Heights/PLG/Bed Stuy. @kadiagoba

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