Between March 12 and March 20, every home should receive the official Census Bureau mailer with detailed information on how to respond and fill out the form either online, by phone or by mail.
Follow-ups from census workers will take place beginning in April. Households have until the end of July 2020 to complete the form.
It’s important that every single New Yorker fills out the census. The results not only determine how many seats in Congress each state gets, but also how billions of dollars in federal spending is appropriated to local communities.
That means funding for health clinics, fire departments, schools, and roads and highways is determined by the census.
In 2010, the national self-response rate was 76 percent. But in Queens, that rate was 67 percent, which officials have noted is a “failing” grade. Some parts of the borough had a response rate as low as 45 percent, which is unacceptable.
That’s why this time around, both the city and state have allocated significant dollars to community-based organizations to get the word out and ensure their communities fill out the form.
It’s a far cry from ten years ago, when government officials only doled out a paltry $5 million for outreach efforts.
Every person has a duty to not only fill out the census, but to ensure their family members, friends and neighbors complete it as well. We have an obligation to reach what officials call “hard-to-count” populations.
Having an accurate count is a tremendous task already, but the novel coronavirus outbreak will surely make it even more difficult.
The Census Bureau said in a statement that it is “carefully monitoring” the situation and will adjust some operations to both protect the health and safety of staff and fulfill its duty to deliver the 2020 Census counts on schedule.
While people are stuck indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s take the time to fill out the 2020 Census to ensure we have a full and accurate count.