Washington, DC – As Census 2010 forms arrive in the mailboxes of New York residents this week, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is urging all New Yorkers to participate in this year’s Census.
During the last Census in 2000, approximately 200,000 New Yorkers did not fill out or send back their Census forms. As a result, New York State lost out on approximately $3.6 billion in federal funding over the last decade. In Western New York alone, approximately 15,000 residents did not participate in the 2000 Census, costing Western New York approximately $30 million in federal funding last year and nearly $300 million over the last 10 years.
“The census is a win-win for everyone – and it’s safe, easy and fast to fill out,” Senator Gillibrand said. “It is critical that we capture a true picture of New York’s families and neighborhoods to ensure their access to needed resources. Participation in Census 2010 by all New Yorkers is critical to ensuring our fair share of federal resources. Especially during difficult economic times, we need to secure federal funding to protect local education, health care, and public safety services and hold the line on property taxes.”
Census data, collected once every 10 years, guides decision makers on where to build new schools, health clinics, child care and senior centers and much more. The data also determines the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. Since the federal government uses census information every year to distribute critically needed funds for programs such as hospitals and school services, clean streets, public housing, social services, and food stamps, undercounting has resulted in neighborhoods losing hundreds of millions of federal dollars over the last decade.
The new census form, which asks each household 10 simple questions designed to take 10 minutes to complete, is safe and easy. Questions include full name, date of birth, country of origin, and contact number. The form includes a return envelope with pre-paid postage.
By law, individual responses are kept confidential and are not to be shared with other federal agencies. Respondents are not asked to answer questions regarding their immigration status.
Residents are urged to complete and return their census forms by mid April. Starting in May, Census workers will visit households who do not respond by mail.