Just Six Days Left Until 2020 Census Begins

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State Sen. Zelnor Myrie and Assemblywoman Diana Richardson knock doors to talk about the upcoming census. Photo by Ayse Kelce

With less than one week before the 2020 Census becomes available online, Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson, and NYC Census 2020 Director Julie Menin called upon New Yorkers to participate in the 2020 Census to ensure that New York City receives its fair share of hundreds of billions in federal funding for important programs and services, as well as its fair share of representation in Congress. 

The more New Yorkers who fill out the census, the more money the city receives for public education, healthcare, housing, roads and bridges, and so much more.

Mayor Bill de Blasio

“In a matter of days we need to make sure that every New Yorker is counted regardless of immigration status or where they live in any of the five boroughs,” said de Blasio. “I encourage everybody to make their voices be heard sooner rather than later by filling out the census online or by phone. Our resources for a better future are at stake and we don’t want to wait another 10 years for the next census.”

“The importance of counting every New Yorker cannot be overstated. Millions of dollars in federal funds are at stake for our schools, our roads, our hospitals, our housing,” said Johnson. “Trump and his administration wanted to intimidate us so that New York wouldn’t get an accurate count, but we are putting all our efforts into proving them wrong, together. I’m proud of the Council’s and the Mayor’s commitment of $40 million dollars to ensure a complete count—the largest investment of any city in the nation.”

Because of the pivotal role the census plays in determining each city’s and state’s rightful share of resources and representation, the census has at times over the course of history been subject to political manipulation, and the time leading up to the 2020 Census has been particularly rife with misinformation and disinformation about the census, both of which have generated fear around participation.

The census is not only incredibly important, but it is also both easy and safe to participate in, and combating fear requires clear and consistent statement of facts about the ease and safety of participation.

Important Facts about the 2020 Census

  • The census is available primarily online and by phone this year: my2020census.gov and 1-844-330-2020. 
  • There are no questions related to immigration or citizenship on the 2020 Census.
  • The census contains only 10 questions, and none ask about employment, income, or for one’s Social Security number.
  • The census is for everyone, regardless of immigration or citizenship status or housing situation. New Yorkers living with friends, family members, roommates, other families, or even in unlawful housing units, can and should participate in the 2020 Census.
  • All responses to the census and any personal information held by the Census Bureau are protected by Title XIII of the United States code, which makes the sharing of any personal information by a Census Bureau employee a serious crime, punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
  • By law, census information can only be used for statistical purposes, and cannot be used against an individual or family in any way. The Census Bureau cannot share any personal information with any government agencies, private individuals, or companies. This includes immigration enforcement, law enforcement, any other federal, state, or city agencies, and landlords.  
  • This year, New Yorkers will be able to complete the census form online in 12 languages in addition to English, and each of these languages will also have its own dedicated, unique phone number that speakers of these languages can call to receive direct assistance. In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau has published “explainer” guides in a total of 59 languages. For more information, please visit: www.2020census.gov.
  • For New Yorkers who require assistance completing the census online, the City of New York, through the city’s three library systems, as well as NYC Census 2020’s Complete Count Fund awardees, will be providing a network of dozens of “pop-up” locations across the five boroughs where New Yorkers will be able to get questions answered in multiple languages, and have access to computers or tablets. A complete list and map will be available on www.nyc.gov/census starting March 11. 

This year, the census will be available online or via phone for the first time, making the census easier than ever to complete. Starting March 12, all New Yorkers will be able to fill out the census by visiting my2020census.gov or by calling 1-844-330-2020. 

From March 12 until mid-May, the census will be primarily conducted online and via phone, and all New Yorkers are very strongly encouraged to participate online or by phone in order to avoid a knock on their doors in the summer.