NYS Lags on 2020 Census Prep

(Photo courtesy of Gov. Cuomo’s Office, via Gotham Gazette)

New York State, with many communities that are “hard-to-count,” has yet to form a commission tasked with studying the issue in advance of the 2020 U.S. Census, writes Samar Khurshid in Gotham Gazette. Further, a Jan. 10 deadline has passed for an initial report containing recommendations for achieving an accurate count.

“We have yet to receive all recommendations from appointing bodies for the commission,” Hazel Crampton-Hays, a spokesperson for the governor, told Gotham Gazette in an email. “We are hopeful that the new Senate majority will be more committed to the census effort.”

The state legislature last year authorized the formation of the commission and requested the report. In his State of the State address last week,  Gov. Andrew Cuomo lauded the fact that a federal judge had blocked the inclusion of a citizenship question on the forthcoming census, but he didn’t provide any details about the state’s efforts. Ensuring an accurate count is vitally important, as Khurshid outlines.

An undercount can be disastrous for New York, with consequences ranging from cuts in federal funding — New York receives as much as $80 billion each year — and the loss of congressional representation. Due to population loss the state is projected to lose at least one congressional seat, with possibly another on the line depending on the count. After the 2010 Census, New York lost two congressional seats.

According to Khurshid:

…at least a quarter of the population does not self-respond to the census questionnaire. This is particularly true for immigrant communities with sizable undocumented populations, where fears of interacting with federal authorities has been heightened under the Trump administration. There have also historically been other hard-to-count communities, including low-, middle- and upper-middle income African-Americans.

Go to Gotham Gazette to learn what’s needed to ensure an accurate count, according to a study commissioned by the New York Counts 2020 coalition, made up of nonprofits and community-based organizations from across the state and to find out what New York City is doing to support the census.

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