At one of the busiest food distribution sites in the city, folks wait in long lines at the South Asian Council for Social Services in Flushing, where they get more than nutritious and much needed food to bring home. They also have the opportunity to be counted in the United States 2020 Census by simply filling out a form.
What You Need To Know
- So far, 54 percent of households in the five boroughs have responded
- The initiative to provide an accurate population count has mobilized to get more New Yorkers to respond during a Census Week of Action
- Census Forms were mailed to New Yorkers in March, just as the coronavirus outbreak hit the city
- The U.S. Census determines mapping of congressional districts, representation in the state legislature, plus federal funding for schools, hospitals, transportation and infrastructure projects
"I think immigrant communities, they don't quite understand what the census is, and it's really important that we spread the word and remind folks,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, who represents a Queens neighborhood in Albany.
She was one of the elected officials on hand as volunteers from NYC Census 2020, the city's initiative to achieve an accurate population count, worked to get people to complete their census forms in an area with a low response rate. It’s part of a week of action to get more New Yorkers counted.
Citywide, only 54 percent of households have responded to the census, putting the city at risk of losing seats in congress, representation in the state legislature, and billions of dollars in federal funding for schools, hospitals and infrastructure.
"If we don't show up in the numbers, we are not going to be able to make the right decisions about how to rebuild New York City,” said Amit Singh Bagga, deputy director for NYC Census 2020.
Census forms were first mailed to households in March as the coronavirus crisis erupted. NYC Census 2020 says that, plus the fear that many immigrants have about reporting information to the government, helped to drive down the census response rate. The visit to Flushing, a community with many immigrants from East and South Asian countries, allowed volunteers to dispel some myths about the census.
"There are absolutely no questions about immigration or citizenship, it's ten simple questions that can be answered on line or over the phone,” said Singh Bagga.
"I always tell them that this information is confidential, nobody knows except the Census Department,” said Councilmember Peter Koo.
There is still time to fill out a census form online at: My2020census.gov or call: 844-330-2020.