On Thursday, March 12, the 2020 Census will begin. Since 1790, once every ten years, this constitutionally mandated survey attempts to take a count of every single person in the United States. This year, for the very first time, the questionnaire can be completed online!
Much is at stake. Census information is used to determine New York City’s share of more than $650 billion in federal resources. These funds are absolutely crucial to our schools, of course, but also other public services that benefit our families: public housing, roads and bridges, health care, and other social services. Undercounting may also affect our representation in Congress and the Electoral College. It is vitally important that everyone in our school system, including all DOE staff, complete the Census form, and that leaders of our district and school communities, as trusted messengers, play an active role in urging all families in our schools to do the same.
In 2010, only 62 percent of New York City residents self-responded to the Census—far below the 76 percent national average response rate. In some neighborhoods, self-response rates were as low as 35 percent! That disparity between our City’s reality and the inaccurate count worsens the inequities that we are all working so hard to overcome in our schools and communities. This year, it’s important to make sure that every New Yorker is counted, and every community is recognized. Our City’s future depends upon it.
The form takes no more than five minutes to complete and simply asks:
· How many people live or are staying in your home?
· What is their sex, age, race, and ethnicity?
· Is your home owned or rented?
· What is your home address?
The census does NOT include a citizenship question. Even if parents are undocumented, filling out the census will NOT put them or their family at risk.
You can learn more about the Mayor's Office of NYC Census 2020 at nyc.gov/census and submit your pledge committing to fill out the questionnaire when it arrives. The Census Bureau will be sending out further information about the 2020 survey. For now, please mark your calendar as a reminder.
For our schools, families, communities, and New York City, spread the word: stand up and be counted!
Richard A. Carranza