New York Attorney General Letitia James stood with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Hispanic Federation President and CEO Frankie Miranda, Asian American Federation Executive Director Jo-Ann Yoo, New York City Census 2020 Director Julie Menin, and New York Immigration Coalition Census 2020 Senior Fellow Meeta Anand to call on New Yorkers to defend their representation in Congress and the allocation of federal funding and to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census ahead of the upcoming deadline on September 30. A complete and accurate census is critical for education, hospital, and transportation funding across New York state.
According to alarming data recently released by Census 2020 Hard to Count, a mapping system that is run by CUNY’s Center for Urban Research, New York is on pace to be severely undercounted; the data found that the self-response rate to the 2010 census in some neighborhoods was as low as 35 percent.
“Our democracy depends on the census — from allocating federal resources to determining congressional districts — which is why it is so critically important to ensure the most accurate count of the population,” said Attorney General James. “We are falling behind in responding to the census as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. Everyone counts; therefore, everyone must be counted, and we must do everything we can to ensure high levels of participation.”
“The Census is a vital tool to ensure that all our communities receive the resources they need to thrive, yet the Trump administration’s recent reversal of the deadline extension has made it even more difficult for New Yorkers to receive a fair and accurate count,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “As New Yorkers work to revive our economy and our neighborhoods from this crisis, it’s critical that every person is counted to ensure our communities — especially the hardest-to-reach households and undercounted populations including minorities, undocumented immigrants, rural residents and low-income households — receive the services and federal funding they need. With just one month left until the deadline, less than 60% of New York City households have responded. It’s time that we all work together for our communities by standing up and being counted.”
“Filling out the census is quick, easy, and safe,” said U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (NY-10). “Everyone needs to do their part to ensure New York receives its fair share of representation and resources for the next decade. Parts of the city are lagging behind at the moment, and we only have 30 days for everyone to be counted.”
“The census determines funding for housing, education, transportation, and healthcare and therefore has a direct effect on New Yorkers’ daily lives,” said U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez (NY-7). “We need all our neighbors to make sure they are counted. With the September 30th deadline around the corner we need an immediate surge in participation to make sure our communities are accurately represented. I will be fighting in Congress to see the Trump administration’s arbitrary deadline extended, but in the meantime we need all New Yorkers to make sure they participate in the 2020 Census.”
In New York, self-response rates for 2020 lag behind the rates for 2010. In fact, the state’s self-response rate remains below the national response rate. Northern and Western New York have 2020 response rates that are more than 10 percentage points lower than the 2010 count. Additionally, many parts of New York City are 5-10+ percentage points below the 2010 count.
An undercount of the population could deprive the state of political power in Congress for a decade, hampering efforts to serve New Yorkers and depriving them of the representation to which they would otherwise be entitled. Census data is also used for redistricting state legislative seats as well, so the effects of an undercount would echo throughout every level of government.
Billions of dollars of federal funding that are dependent on the decennial census’s population count are also at stake. There are at least 18 federal programs that distribute financial assistance based in whole, or in part, upon each state’s relative share of the total U.S. population. Numerous other programs distribute funds based off census data as well.
New Yorkers have until September 30, 2020 to complete their census forms. Visit the U.S. Census Bureau website to get counted and defend New York’s representation at every level of government.
“With just 29 days until the end of the 2020 Census, time is running out for New Yorkers to be counted. Right now, it has never been more important to take the 10 minutes you need to fill out the census online at my2020census.gov or calling 1-844-330-2020,” said Julie Menin, director, NYC Census 2020, and executive assistant corporation counsel, NYC Law Department. “Donald Trump has cut the census short by a month in an attempt to sabotage the count and shift how money and power are distributed across the country. Without a complete count, New York City could lose billions for much-needed COVID-19 relief and up to two seats in Congress and the Electoral College. But we are standing up and fighting back by coming together and being counted. Already, New York City’s self-response rate increased the most out of any other city in the country between early May and mid-August. And over the next month, we will use every tool at our disposal to help ensure every New Yorker is counted in these critical last weeks.”
“New Yorkers have too much at stake to let the Trump administration swindle us out of our fair share of federal dollars and political representation,” said Meeta Anand, senior fellow, Census 2020, New York Immigration Coalition. “With only a month to go before the 2020 Census ends, we need every New Yorker to be counted to ensure our voices will be heard in Washington and to secure the funding we need for our schools, roads, and hospitals for the next decade. The U.S. Constitution demands that all immigrants, regardless of status, must be counted. We will not let this pandemic, or the Trump administration, stop our communities from participating — we stopped the inclusion of the citizenship question in the courts. We will stop any future attempts to block us from exercising our constitutional right to be counted. The New York Immigration Coalition is proud to stand with our members, partners, and elected officials today to ensure that New York remains strong — politically and economically — with your participation in Census 2020!”
“The dual impacts of COVID-19 and the Trump administration’s decision to move up the census deadline have compounded the difficulty of getting an accurate count within communities of color,” said Frankie Miranda, president, Hispanic Federation. “In some New York City neighborhoods hit hardest by COVID-19, we are seeing response rates 10 percent lower than where they were in 2010, which is concerning. To increase response rates, Hispanic Federation is intensifying our engagement efforts, including staffing up and extending hours on our census hotline 1-844-HF-AYUDA, to answer questions and assist those who need it.”
“The census is one of the most complete sources of information on Asian ethnic communities,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director, Asian-American Federation. “Asian American Federation and our almost 70 member and partner agencies rely on this data to advocate for our communities. Over the past decade, our communities have successfully won more senior center funding for immigrants, more inclusive holidays such as Lunar New Year and Eid in our school system, and increased the number of languages that city agencies must provide translated documents. All of these successes depend directly on having an accurate census to demonstrate the growth and need of our communities. The policies gains for our community have been shaped by the data from the census. As the fastest growing population in the nation, state and city, we will need the data from the census more than ever to ensure that our growing needs are backed by irrefutable data. As a census information center, AAF implores our community to fill out their census. We only have a month left to let our voices be heard!”
“We are urging all New Yorkers to get counted,” said Hazel Dukes, president, New York State Conference for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). “Our life depends on being counted.”
Attorney General James has taken steadfast action to protect the integrity of the 2020 Census. In 2018, the Office of the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration in response to its efforts to add a citizenship question to the census. That suit made its way through multiple courts, eventually landing in the U.S. Supreme Court, where the court ruled, June 2019, in favor of New York by prohibiting the Trump Administration from adding the citizenship question to the census. In August 2019, Attorney General James moved to intervene in a case in Alabama where the federal government were defendants in an effort to ensure the case is properly presented and that every resident in America — irrespective of citizenship status — is counted in the decennial census. Just last month, Attorney General James led the filing of another lawsuit against the Trump Administration after it announced new efforts attempting to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base following the census count, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, and most recently, the Attorney General filed an amicus brief in National Urban League v. Ross, supporting the plaintiff’s request for a nationwide stay to halt the expedited schedule that the U.S. Census Bureau is attempting to impose on all states.
Senator Gillibrand previously joined a bipartisan call urging Congressional leadership to include an extension for the delivery of the census’ apportionment data and redistricting files in upcoming coronavirus relief legislation.