NYC launches census subway series, counts contest to mobilize New Yorkers for 2020 census

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NYC Census 2020 has announced the launch of the NYC “Census Subway Series” and “NYC Counts” census contest.

While announcing this on Monday August 17, 2020, Julie Menin, Director of NYC Census 2020 and Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel, NYC Law Department, stayed that the move was aimed at mobilizing New Yorkers to self-respond to the census.

She said it would counter President Trump’s move to cut the census short by one month.

“The 2020 Census will be a critical component of New York City’s recovery after COVID-19.

“That means we must do everything we can to achieve a complete and accurate count, and fight Donald Trump’s attempts to steal the census,” said Julie

She expressed her gratitude to Seamless, Lyft, and MoMA, for supporting the efforts through incentives that will enrich the lives of the New Yorkers who win great prizes for their families.

The Census Subway Series is a five-week challenge in which two neighborhoods from different boroughs will compete against each other to see which neighborhood posts the largest gains in its self-response rate over the course of a week.

The first two neighborhoods to compete are Jamaica, Queens and Canarsie, Brooklyn.

Subsequent neighborhood competitions will be determined on a weekly basis, based on the latest self-response rate data.

As of August 14, New York City’s self-response rate is 55.6%, and the nation’s is 63.6%.

In addition to bragging rights, residents of the competing neighborhoods — as well as any New Yorker who completes the census during the next five weeks — may be eligible to win exciting prizes from Seamless, Lyft, and MoMA as part of the new NYC Counts census contest.

Any New Yorker who completes the census which began on Monday, August 17 can enter the contest to win one or more of the following prizes: $1,000 gift card from Seamless, a $50 Lyft credit voucher and annual CitiBike membership, an annual membership to the Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1.

“Every New Yorker–regardless of background, immigration status, age, or what language you speak–has the right to be counted in the census as we fight for our fair share of vital funding and political representation for our communities,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

“The census is safe, responses are completely confidential and protected, and there are NO questions about citizenship or immigration.

“We are excited to partner with Seamless, Lyft, and MoMA, as we work to get all New Yorkers counted in the census by September 30. You don’t have to wait for a census taker to knock on your door—you can fill out the census online or by phone today,” Mostofi.

Filling out the census has never been more important. The census determines how the federal government distributes nearly $1.5 trillion every year to states and cities for education, housing, transportation, health care, and much more. New York City relies on census data to make critical decisions every day, including planning for vaccinations, affordable housing, sanitation and transportation services, and countless additional vital programs and services used by every New Yorker.

The census also determines the number of seats New York State has in Congress, as well as the shapes and sizes of local and state legislative districts.

If New York does not achieve a complete and accurate count in this year’s census, the state could lose up to two congressional seats, as well as representation in Albany.

Given the unprecedented and dire economic crisis New York City is currently facing, the city cannot risk losing any representation in the bodies where decisions about New York City’s economic and political future are being made every day.

In New York City, this means that the U.S. Census Bureau now must count nearly 1.7 million households that have not yet responded to the census in just seven weeks.

Outside of Manhattan, the neighborhoods in New York City with the lowest self-response rates are largely Black, Brown, and immigrant neighborhoods (also true for cities across the country), exposing the true motive behind the President’s move: a partisan, political ploy to rob diverse communities coast to coast of the empowerment and respect the Constitution guarantees them.

“We’re excited to continue supporting NYC Census 2020 in driving respondents for this effort, especially with the time crunch the city is facing,” added Padma Rao, VP of Special Projects at Grubhub.

“We want to do our part in giving back to the community, ensuring New Yorkers get the resources they deserve and need for their neighborhoods,” he said.

Given that the census is a national competition for resources and representation, it is important to understand the city’s response rate relative to that of the nation.

Though New York City is currently behind the nation by 7.9 percentage points in terms of census self-response rates, as a result of NYC Census 2020’s extensive citywide and hyper-local organizing efforts, the city’s response rate has increased by 1.8 percentage points in the last three weeks, while the nation’s only increased by one percentage point.

In 2020, New York City has been aggressively closing the gap between itself and the nation as compared to 2010, when the gap between the city and the nation was 14 percentage points at the start of the U.S. Census Bureau’s door-knocking period.

In addition to emergency response funds, the Census informs funding on schools, libraries, hospitals and more. Every New Yorker should fill out the Census.

The census is easy, safe, and confidential. The census is 10 simple questions that take less than 10 minutes to complete.

By law, all census responses are completely confidential and cannot be shared with anyone, including any immigration authorities, tax authorities, any law enforcement authorities, or even landlords. The penalties for breaking this law, Title XIII of the U.S. Code, are up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. This law has not been broken since it was passed in 1953.

NRFU is when census takers visit all the homes that have not yet completed the census. If you do not want a census taker knocking on your door, complete the census online or by phone right away. If you self-respond completely and accurately, it is unlikely that you will get a knock on your door during NRFU.

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