Op-ed | Six weeks left to make NYC count in the 2020 Census

Julie Menin, director of NYC Census 2020. (File photo)


Listen up, NYC. The next six weeks will define the next 10 years.

The 2020 Census is set to end on Sept. 30, which gives us just a few weeks left to be counted. And right now, almost half of our city is in danger of being left out. If these New Yorkers aren’t counted, it will cost our communities hundreds of billions of dollars in funding we need and deserve over the next decade. As we recover from COVID-19, we will need all the aid we can get. 

Let’s break the numbers down. 

Right now, NYC has a census response rate of just about 55%, trailing the national average by nearly 10 points. 1.7 million NYC households are at risk of going undercounted, which would mean New York could only get half of our fair share of the $1.5 trillion in federal funding distributed according to the census count every year.

Not only that, but we could also lose two representatives in Congress, weakening our voice in government at a moment when we need it most. And now, we only have six weeks left to get our numbers up.

We’re facing a critical moment in our history, and the census will shape the direction we take. The funding we need for our schools, for our affordable housing, for our health system and emergency services, senior centers, and so much more all depend on the census. In fact, when a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, the census will help determine how those vaccines are distributed to communities across the country.

We cannot afford an undercount.

Every single New Yorker counts, regardless of age or immigration status, and we need every single one counted to make sure we get the resources and representation we deserve. 

The 2020 Census is only 10 questions and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Fill out the 2020 Census now at my2020census.gov or call any of the phone numbers below to complete the questionnaire over the phone with a Census Bureau representative. You can fill it out online or over the phone in 13 languages — all you need is your address. 

Time is running out fast. Make sure that you are not counted out. 

English: 844-330-2020

Spanish: 844-468-2020

Chinese (Mandarin): 844-391-2020

Chinese (Cantonese): 844-398-2020

Vietnamese: 844-461-2020

Korean: 844-392-2020

Russian: 844-417-2020

Arabic: 844-416-2020

Tagalog: 844-478-2020

Polish: 844-479-2020

French: 844-494-2020

Haitian Creole: 844-477-2020

Portuguese: 844-474-2020

Japanese: 844-460-2020

Julie Menin is Director of NYC Census 2020 and Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel, NYC Law Department.