City Embarks On Major 2020 Census Complete Count Campaign

Rally to kick off the NYC Census 2020 Complete Count Campaign
Mayor de Blasio attends a rally to kick off the NYC Census 2020 Complete Count Campaign with community partners, labor unions, and elected officials, where the Mayor made an announcement about a new investment in community and ethnic media, at NYU on Tuesday, January 14, 2020. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

The city yesterday united forces with non-profits and media outlets large and small in kicking off their Complete Count Campaign, the nation’s largest and most diverse coordinated municipal campaign to achieve a complete and accurate count in the 2020 Census.

A complete headcount in the 2020 Census – which is done every 10 years  – is crucial for the future well-being of the city. It ensures, among other things that the city receives the proper federal funding for schools, roads, health care, public housing and more.

The census also determines the number of seats each state is allocated in the House of Representatives, and thus the Electoral College. An undercount could cost the State of New York up to two congressional seats, significantly weakening the power of New York’s voice in Washington. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio

“New York City has been on the front lines of the resistance against the Trump Administration and ensuring every New Yorker gets counted is central to that fight,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “No matter how hard the federal government tries to silence our diverse voices, we still stand up and be counted.”

The announcement comes with just eight weeks until New Yorkers can begin completing the census online for the first time starting March 12, 2020. De Blasio and NYC Census 2020 Director Julie Menin also announced that the City will invest $3 million in community and ethnic media advertising to ensure participation among the city’s most historically undercounted communities.

The census campaign will be advertising in a minimum of 16 languages, including several languages spoken by New Yorkers with high levels of limited proficiency in English. 

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

“Almost one year ago, we promised to mobilize the Council to invest whatever it took to ensure a complete count in 2020. Today, we fulfill that promise with the most ambitious effort of any city in the country. But this unprecedented funding is more than a campaign plan. It is a recognition of the trust New Yorkers place in the organizations who serve them every day. The very trust we’ll need to reach our most vulnerable and marginalized New Yorkers no matter where they are or what language they speak,” said City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook), Co-Chair of the Council’s 2020 Census Task Force.

“We’re entering the final stretch of one of the most important public outreach campaigns in New York City history. And we’ve stepped up to that challenge with a historic $40 million investment. I look forward to working with countless neighborhood leaders and the more than 160 community organizations that are joining us today to ensure we have a complete count in the Census,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera (D-Manhattan), Co-Chair of the Council’s 2020 Census Task Force.

In kicking off the Campaign, the city also convened more than 150 organizations that are recipients of the $19 million NYC Complete Count Fund (CCF), the largest community organizing program the city has ever built. The campaign includes CCF recipients training from both campaign experts and community peers on best practices for community organizing, messaging and communications, and integrating census awareness into social service delivery.

Collectively, these organizations will be seamlessly integrated into NYC Census 2020’s Neighborhood Organizing Census Committees (NOCCs) network, announced in September 2019. 

Volunteers will primarily engage in four organizing tactics: teach-ins, phone banking, “text-banking ,” and community canvassing. More than 1,800 New Yorkers have already signed up as NOCC volunteers through NYC Census 2020’s field operation. In addition to the NOCCs program, NYC Census 2020 and its partner organizations will recruit and train scores of trusted leaders to serve as “Census Ambassadors ” who will help educate New Yorkers about the census at teach-ins and other community events.

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr

“The announcement and implementation of the NYC Complete Count Campaign Plan, I am thankful for the alignment of resources and support that are desperately needed for the Borough of Brooklyn and our #MakeBrooklynCount campaign,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “We’re working with community partners to begin mobilizing boots on the ground to engage with every and all Brooklyn constituencies in every and all neighborhood around the borough to ensure an accurate and fair demographic and population count during the 2020 Census.”

“In the most diverse city on the planet, a complete census count could not be more important. Every New Yorker deserves fair representation at the federal level, and we must secure fair federal funding to achieve our unique policy priorities,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. (D-Brooklyn). Kings County has many of the hardest to count tracts in the nation, and the resources allocated to the Complete Count Campaign ensure Brooklynites get the benefits they are entitled to as U.S. citizens. I commend Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, Council colleagues, and more on their steadfast commitment to this issue.”

Council Member Rafael Espinal
City Council Member Rafael Espinal

“The Complete Count Campaign is an unprecedented city-wide effort, which I cannot wait to take a part in especially as I represent parts of Brooklyn which are historically undercounted and underrepresented,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal (D-Brooklyn). “The Census is more than just data and numbers. It’s critical for social justice and equity. This huge coalition of city leaders, community groups, and advocates will be campaigning tirelessly to reach every New Yorker and get them counted. I call for every community member to spread the word in their districts that every single person in New York must feel comfortable being counted.”

“It is paramount that every New Yorker is counted in the 2020 census, no matter their legal status in our country,” said Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan). “We must work to educate the public and make every person living in our state comfortable with being counted. This ad buy and media blitz in ethnic media is exactly the kind of outreach residents in immigrant communities need in order to feel at ease about being counted. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson for making the Complete Count Campaign a priority by committing resources to get it done right.”

“We are working diligently on 2020 Census outreach here in Southeast Queens, and the Complete Count Campaign will go a long way in empowering our partners in this effort,” said Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-Queens), Co-Chair of the Black, Latino/a, and Asian Caucus. “Given the current political climate, the need for hyper-local, culturally-sensitive outreach is greater than ever. My colleagues and I are pleased to be a part of this historic investment which will not only facilitate a complete count, but will also strengthen the relationship between diverse community-based non-profits and city government.”

“Too many New Yorkers, especially in our immigrant communities, do not understand how important it is to participate in the Census and are unaware of the ways that failing to be counted negatively affects the day-to-day life of our communities,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn). “I am confident that the partnership between our City and local organizations in this Census 2020 Campaign will help to energize the response rate among people in communities that have been historically under-counted and under-represented.”