Sanitation Department enlists Oscar the Grouch to encourage New Yorkers to participate in the 2020 census

Photo via Facebook/Oscar the Grouch

A beloved resident of “Sesame Street” is encouraging New Yorkers to participate in the 2020 census.

The New York City Department of Sanitation, in collaboration with NYC Census 2020, announced a new marketing campaign to boost participation in the census that will feature Oscar the Grouch. The campaign, will be produced in partnership with F.Y. Eye and Sesame Workshop, depicts Oscar the Grouch telling New Yorkers, “Make your family count, even the grouches!”

The campaign posters will be displayed on sides of more than 2,500 Sanitation trucks and mechanical brooms that provide services to every New York City neighborhood. Funding for the campaign was provided by F.Y. Eye and private contributors.

“Encouraging all New Yorkers to participate in the 2020 Census is an all-hands-on-deck effort,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “Our Sanitation trucks are some of the most recognizable parts of the NYC streetscape, and we are proud to put them to work in support of this important cause. We thank our partners for their support as we work to ensure everyone gets counted.”

During the 2010 census, the self-response rate in New York was 62%, while the national average was 76% — some self-response rates were as low as 35% in certain neighborhoods. Roughly one million children under five were left off of the 2010 census nationally, making them one of the most undercounted populations in the country. Since New York City was undercounted in 2010, NYC children are at risk of going undercounted again this year. 

As the 2020 Census approaches, City Agencies, community-based organizations, and countless other institutions and volunteers are working together to reach every New Yorker and every community. 

“It takes all kinds of characters to make New York City the best place in the world—especially the grouches!,” said F.Y. Eye Program Director Nina Robbins. “The 2020 Census will impact quality of life for New Yorkers for the next ten years and we need to get it right. By distributing this playful public service announcement featuring everyone’s favorite curmudgeon on garbage trucks that travel to every neighborhood in every borough, F.Y. Eye is amplifying the Census as a critical opportunity to connect New Yorkers to the resources they deserve.”

Starting March 12, New Yorkers will be able to fill out the census online at https://mycensus2020.gov, by phone, or by mail using the traditional paper form.