2010-04-02 / Top Stories

Census Response Low

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has detailed the low early response rate from New York City residents to the 2010 Census and continued the City’s efforts to encourage all New Yorkers to quickly return 2010 Census forms to ensure a full and accurate count of all New York City residents. As of earlier this week, only six percent of 2010 Census forms have been returned by City households. Recently Census forms began hitting mailboxes and the nationwide rate of census participation currently stands at 16 percent. The City’s Census Office, a new entity created by the Mayor to support Federal efforts, has formed local partnerships across the five boroughs with community organizations, cultural and educational institutions, faith-based organizations, immigrant advocacy groups and others to spread the word that all New Yorkers have something to gain and nothing to fear by filling out the census form, as all information is kept confidential, in accordance with Federal law.

“New York City is the poster child for a ‘hard to count’ population, but we simply have to do better – there is too much at stake,” said Bloomberg. “If we don’t turn it around, we risk having even more of our tax dollars sent to other states. No one has anything to fear from filling out the census form, but we all have a lot to lose if city residents do not send the form back.”

The New York City response rate, by county, is as follows: • Bronx County – 2 percent • Kings County – 6 percent • New York County – 7 percent • Queens County – 6 percent • Richmond County – 16 percent

New Yorkers that need assistance filling out a census form can call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov to receive assistance in multiple languages or be directed to one of nearly 1,300 Questionnaire Assistance Centers, operated by the U.S. Census Bureau, open at locations around the city to provide assistance in multiple languages.

More than $25 billion of annual Federal funds are distributed to New York City based on the decennial census, including funding for schools, counterterrorism and security efforts, and social service organizations. Elected representation at the federal, state and local levels is also determined by census data. In the 2000 Census, the response rate in New York City was 55 percent, well below the national average of 67 percent. In many neighborhoods, like Downtown Flushing, Central Brooklyn or South Jamaica, the response rate was below 40 percent.

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