Friday, October 6, 2017

The NY Count Is On for 2020 Census

This Report was published by "New York Counts", an In-Formation Full Count Committee, and New York State Common Cause and Highlights the Census Process and especially the need to reach out to "Hard to Count" Communities identified by the CUNY Graduate School's Center for Urban Research Mapping Service.

Every ten years, the United States conducts a “Decennial Census” with the goal of determining the Distribution of Resources and Political Representation by Counting every Person in the Country where they live. The Census is a complex operation to collect important Demographic, Social, and Economic information, but serves as the Country’s only source for reliable Nationwide and Community-level Data. The Census is Mandated under the Constitution and it is required by Law that all People respond, regardless of Age or Citizenship Status. Getting the next Census Count right is critical, as it will shape our Nation’s Democracy, Public Policy, and Economy moving forward. Key decisions about how the 2020 Census will launch are being made right now, and poor choices could have enormous impacts for all of us in the years to come.

Traditionally, every Household receives a Census Form by Mail and is asked to provide Information about All Members of that Household. For Residents who do not fill out and Submit the Census Form, Census Workers or “Enumerators” are hired to visit the Home and ask for the Information directly. When there are a large number of Households that do not fill out and Submit the Census Form themselves, the Area is considered “Hard To Count (HTC).”

Several Major Challenges of the 2020 Census lie in the Census Bureau’s heightened responsibility to ensure that People are Accurately Counted. Many groups have been Disproportionately Underrepresented in the Decennial Census for Decades, including Rural Households, Immigrants, Renters, Low Income Households, and Young Children. People of Color, particularly Black and Latino Communities, in both Urban and Rural Communities, are at an especially High Risk of being Undercounted by the Census at Higher Rates than other Population Groups. Failure to Address the trend of Undercounting will ultimately deprive Historically Marginalized Communities of Vital Public and Private Resources over the next Decade.

These Factors can have a very significant impact on the Accuracy of the Census Count of New York Residents. New York has a high proportion of historically Undercounted Populations. In fact, analyzing Census Tracts considered HTC on a comparative State-by-State basis shows that New York has the Second Largest Population in HTC Tracts and the Third Largest Population Percent in HTC Tracts.

Given the significant issues regarding Funding at the Federal Level, Local Governments, Activists, Community Organizations, and everyday Citizens can play a Critical Role in ensuring an Accurate 2020 Census by supporting State-based efforts to fill the Resource Gap left by the Federal Government. While continued Advocacy for adequate Federal Funding is essential, local Activists and Organizations must focus their immediate attention on participation by Counties, Cities, and Towns in the Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program. The LUCA is one of the Primary Opportunities for State and Local Governments to ensure the Accuracy of the Census. LUCA gives State, Local, and Tribal Governments the Opportunity to Review and Update the Census Bureau’s Address List and Digital Maps for their Areas, reflecting their Knowledge of Non-Traditional and Low Visibility Housing in their Communities. Through LUCA, Communities can help ensure that the Census Counts the Residents of all Housing Units and puts them in the right place.

The LUCA Program is Voluntary and only approximately 30% of Eligible State, Local, and Tribal Governments participated in 2010 Census LUCA activities. During the 2010 Census, 45% of New York Cities participated in LUCA, while slightly more than 25% of Towns and Villages did. Local Governments have until December 2017 to inform the Census Bureau of their participation. From September through November, getting Local Government involved in LUCA and engaging in Census Education and Promotion should be the priority for Activists and concerned Citizens.

Through this White Paper, we need to alert Activists, Community Organizations, and everyday Citizens to the importance of knowing the Status of their County, City, and/or Town’s participation in LUCA. As of September 27th, only 14 Counties: Cayuga, Clinton, Greene, Montgomery, Saratoga, Steuben, St. Lawrence, Tioga, and Ulster, plus the 5 Counties in New York City, have Registered to Participate in LUCA.

Of the remaining Counties, the Publisher of the Report are particularly concerned for the LUCA participation of the following Counties, based on Factors discussed in this White Paper:

• Delaware
• Erie
• Lewis
• Monroe
• Nassau
• Niagara
• Schenectady
• Schuyler
• Suffolk
• Tompkins
• Washington
• Westchester

CLICK HERE to read the 29 page (pdf) Report Taking Action to Avoid a Census 2020 Crisis.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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