New York, NY – As Census 2010 forms arrive in the mailboxes of New York City residents this week, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a coalition of advocacy groups and the U.S. Census Bureau urged all New Yorkers to participate in this year’s census. At the event hosted and organized by Lillian Rodríguez-López at the office of the Hispanic Federation, Senator Gillibrand showed just how safe, easy, and fast it is to fill out and return the questionnaire. The Senator also announced that her offices across New York will hold “Be Counted” Centers to help guide constituents through the process.
“This week households across New York State will be receiving one of the most important documents they will be given this decade: the 2010 Census Questionnaire Form. We thank Senator Gillibrand for drawing much needed attention to how easy, safe and critically important census participation is for Latinos and all New Yorkers,” said Lillian Rodríguez-López, President of the Hispanic Federation.
New York Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez said, “The census is safe; it’s easy, as it only takes a few minutes to answer and return; and it’s important, as census data affects funding and political representation for our community. Given the extraordinary economic challenges facing our families and communities right now, the stakes for an accurate count have never been greater – especially for Latinos and other groups who have traditionally been undercounted in the Census. An accurate count will insure our state receives much needed federal funding for social services and infrastructure improvements.”
Senator Gillibrand said, “The census is a win win for everyone – and it’s safe, easy and fast to fill out. 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.”
When the Census was last conducted in 2000, only 55% of New York City residents mailed in their surveys – far below the national average of 67%. Three of the city’s boroughs – Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens – were ranked among the worst counted places in the country.
Census data, collected once every ten 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 city neighborhoods losing hundreds of millions of federal dollars over the last decade.
Community leaders are partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau in a comprehensive campaign to correct the city’s undercount and encourage the more than 8 million city residents to participate. 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.
Senator Gillibrand and advocacy groups emphasized that the approximately 500,000 undocumented immigrants in New York City, many of whom fear and mistrust government’s use of the information, should be rest assured that they will be protected under federal law. 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.
City constituents who have questions about the census can reach Senator Gillibrand’s Manhattan Office at (212) 688-6262 or visit the office’s “Be Counted” Center at:
780 Third Avenue
(Between 48 and 49th Streets)