Governor Hosts Conference to Raise Awareness about Upcoming Census and Ensure a Complete Count in New York
Breakout Panels Featuring Administration Officials Help Answer Questions from Advocates, Community-Based Organizations, Community Leaders, Faith Leaders and Local Officials, Including How to Participate in the Application Process for Potential Funding
Follows Formation of New Census Council Co-Chaired by Martin Luther King III, Lucy Liu and Lin-Manuel Miranda and Governor's Proposal to Include an Additional $10 Million for the Census in the FY 2021 Budget
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today kicked off the State's campaign to make sure every New Yorker is counted in the upcoming 2020 Census. The Governor today hosted the State's first Census Conference to raise awareness about the Census and engage advocates, community-based organizations, community leaders and local officials to ensure a complete count. The Conference consisted of breakout sessions featuring administration officials to help answer questions from these key stakeholders about a variety of topics, including how to participate in the application process for potential funding that will flow through counties; how communities can coordinate efforts and use resources the State has made available; how to reach at-risk and hard-to-count communities; what leadership and messaging tactics to use to ensure a complete count; and how to achieve a complete count by improving digital literacy and opening up places for individuals to fill their Census online.
The Census Conference follows the recent formation of the Governor's Census Council, which is being co-chaired by Martin Luther King III, Lucy Liu and Lin-Manuel Miranda to lead the State charge to ensure every New Yorker is counted in the upcoming 2020 census.
"As we prepare to undertake our nation's 24th Census, New York is standing up to the federal government's intimidation tactics and attempts to discourage immigrants and other communities from filling out the Census questionnaire," Governor Cuomo said. "This Census comes at a divisive and ugly time when the social fabric of our nation is being stressed and tested in ways I've never seen before. New York is the capital of diversity, and during these difficult times, our State's voice is vital. And this census counts and calibrates the voice of New York, so we need to make sure it is heard loud and clear. This conference is a big part of our efforts to inform all New Yorkers about the Census and engage hard-to-reach communities, helping to ensure every single New Yorker is counted and the Empire State is accurately represented at the federal level."
Governor Cuomo has already taken several actions to support a complete census count in New York State this year. On January 20th, Governor Cuomo proposed an additional $10 million in the FY 2021 budget to ensure a fair and complete count of every New Yorker in the census. The additional funding will bring the state's financial support to up to $70 million for the 2020 Census.
Additionally, dozens of other State agencies and authorities, CUNY, and SUNY will use their resources and ongoing contact with the public to develop and deploy up to $40 million to get residents to fill out the Census using existing resources. These state entities, including the Departments of Labor, Motor Vehicles, Agriculture and Markets; the offices of Mental Health, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, and People with Developmental Disabilities; Empire State Development; and the Division of Veterans Affairs will conduct outreach and provide Census-related information across their millions of contacts with the public.
As we prepare to undertake our nation's 24th Census, New York is standing up to the federal government's intimidation tactics and attempts to discourage immigrants and other communities from filling out the Census questionnaire.
Examples of how State entities will leverage their resources include, but are not limited to:
- Because the U.S. Census Bureau is only providing translation for a fraction of the languages spoken in New York State, State employees already trained to use the Language Line, will provides on the spot translation services for more than 200 languages.
- The Department of Labor, which reaches more than 9 million workers, 550,000 businesses and serves more than 500,000 New Yorkers directly, will open all 96 of its Career Centers as census assistance centers where members of the public can securely complete their 2020 Census questionnaire online. Career Centers will also display Census information on TV monitors in the waiting room, posters and handouts in multiple languages. The Department of Labor has also already promoted Census Bureau jobs at more than 100 jobs fairs and other recruiting events it hosts in every region of the state.
- Every New Yorker lives within 30 miles of one of SUNY's 64 campuses and CUNY adds 25 campuses across New York City's five boroughs, all of which can serve as nodes that combine outreach efforts with resources. The two university systems, including community colleges, will also collaborate with the State to ensure their nearly 700,000 students are counted. For instance, Empire State College will open dozens of computer labs across the state for members of the public to use to complete the Census as well as use its campuses to allow the Census Bureau to train employees for the Census.
- The Department of Motor Vehicles has 27 state-run district offices and 94 county-run filed offices across the state through which it reaches about 12 million customers annually with 19.5 million connecting with the Department through its website. Census information will be displayed and distributed at every location and staff will be equipped to promote the Census in discussions with all visitors. It will also tap its database of approximately 4 million email addresses.
The State has also worked to add over 225,000 addresses to the Census Bureau's Master Address file. In addition, following leadership from New York State, local governments added and corrected several hundred thousand addresses. This multi-layered, multi-year effort produced nation-leading results. Governor Cuomo also invested $500 million to leverage hundreds of millions of investment dollars from the private sector to expand high-speed Internet to all New Yorkers with nearly 90% of the funding already awarded.
The State's support for the Census count builds on findings and recommendations released in October by the New York State Complete Count Commission, which held 10 public hearings and reviewed hundreds of comments, expert testimonies and in-depth analysis of previous census results. The Commission found that the 2020 Census faces unprecedented challenges. For the first time, the Census will be conducted primarily online, and while the Trump Administration failed in its effort to include a citizenship question on the Census, its attempt to do so spread fear among immigrant communities. The Trump administration and Congress have also failed to fully fund Census operations in the years leading up to 2020. As a result of that failure, the Census Bureau has been forced to cut costs, shifting responsibility for on-the-ground work necessary to drive participation in the 2020 Census from the federal government to state and local partners. The number of U.S. Census Bureau field offices in New York has dropped from 35 in 2010 to 21 in 2020. The newly formed Census Council will help fill the gap from the federal cuts and inaction.