New York City residents are woefully weary of being counted, so it seems, and the consequences will be significant as for the next 10 years Federal funds for things like public education, affordable housing, infrastructure – all of which we desperately need – will be allocated based on who gets counted, and we may end up losing more than one Congressional seat. NYC’s self-response rate to the 2010 Census was less than 62%, compared to the national average of 76%, but this year with just 28 more days to go we are at 57.9% against a nationwide 65%, Mayor Bill de Blasio shared at this morning’s press conference.
“The blunt truth is we have a problem when it comes to the census countdown, we are running out of time and we’ve got a response rate that is too low – right now at 57.9%. That is not where we need to be. And, again, I understand everyone’s lives have been put through so much, people are dealing with so many things, but it literally only takes a few minutes to fill out the census form and it makes a huge difference for our city,” de Blasio said.
The lowest response rate in some New York City neighborhoods is around 43%. Now, what’s interesting is that while Brooklyn (Kings County) has historically been undercounted, it is Manhattan (New York County) that lights up red when one compared response rates against the last census.
The city has been trying every which way to get its residents to be counted, including setting up competitions between neighborhoods called the Census Subway Series. Last week Canarsie lost to Jamaica in raising response rates, this week they are pitting Midwood against the Upper East Side.
Kathleen Daniel, NYC Census Field Director informs that Jamaica, Queens, went from – got to 51.6% from 50.7%, while Canarsie got to 49.2% percent from 48.5%. Midwood residents have till September 6th to get counted and hopefully outcount UES.
As an extra incentive, Daniel said, every New Yorker who completes the census from August 17th to September 21st is eligible to win prizes – a $1,000 gift card from Seamless.com, a one-year membership to the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, a $50 voucher from Lyft.com and a one-year membership for Citi Bike.
Right now enumerators are knocking on doors across Brooklyn, and we encourage all to respond, even if you think you have filled out your census form.
“We’re getting a lot of inquiries asking, why are they knocking at my door? I already did the census,” Daniels said at this morning’s press conference. “And there’s some real legitimate reasons why they might be knocking at your door. One – you may not have actually done the census. There were other surveys conducted by the federal Census Bureau that just go to a sampling of people in the country that were going out at the same time as the mailers for the census, which is only 10 questions that will take you 10 minutes and will positively impact your community for the next 10 years.”
“They may also be knocking at your door because you may be living in a one or two-family unit, but that it’s listed in the census list or the census database as a three- or four-family unit. And so, maybe one or two of those are vacant, or 10 years ago it was used as such, and so they’re coming, looking for those units that may or may not exist, Daniels explained.
“It’s okay to talk to them. They’re wearing ID, check their ID. You may have completed the census right before the door knockers came out and their lists were already done. It’s okay to do it again. The federal Census Bureau has a de-duplication process that ensues after the door knockers come to your door. So, make sure that you get counted. Make sure that it’s an accurate count. And we only have until September 30th to get this done – 28 days. Go to my2020census.gov. Don’t go online? Pick up the phone – 844-330-2020. Now, come on Upper East Side; come on, Midwood in Brooklyn. It is fall – don’t let the numbers fall. We can get this done, New York.”