Suozzi and Curran Highlight Importance of 2020 Census, Upcoming Actions to Ensure Full Count
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Congressman Tom Suozzi (D – Long Island, Queens) today laid out the high stakes of the 2020 Census and highlighted key action being taken by Nassau County to ensure its residents get their fair share of federal funding and political representation. A full stage of elected officials, community stakeholders and advocates addressed ongoing efforts of the Nassau County Complete Count Committee, upcoming Census milestones, Census job opportunities, and new data illustrating the importance of Long Island being fully counted.
Earlier this year, County Executive Curran launched Nassau’s Complete Count Committee, a group comprised of more than 30 nonprofit, labor, faith-based groups and community organizations tasked with developing a plan to achieve a full count. In 2010 only 77 percent of Nassau County residents sent back their U.S. Census Bureau questionnaires. An undercount of the Long Island population will result in a reduction of funding for schools, infrastructure, health care services, and economic development for the next decade.
The County Executive will tonight host a Census Panel of community leaders and stakeholders moderated by Rebecca Sanin from the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island. The event, co-hosted by the Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs, Office of Hispanic Affairs, and Office of Asian-American Affairs, will take place Tuesday July 23rd in the Ceremonial Chamber of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building at 6:30PM.
“We are huge net donors to the federal government and a full and accurate census count is our only opportunity, for the next ten years, to ensure we receive our fair share of funding,” said Congressman Tom Suozzi. “We need every resident to fill out their census forms and to spread the word around their community. Thank you, County Executive Curran, for spearheading the Complete Count Committee.”
“Long Island being undercounted in the 2020 Census would mean less funding for our schools, roads, health care services, and law enforcement for the next decade,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “We simply cannot afford an undercount. That’s why I established Nassau County’s Complete Count Committee, a working group of over 30 non-profit, labor, faith-based and community organizations working together to overcome barriers to achieving a full-count. Nassau is fully mobilized in our efforts to ensure we are fully counted. We are engaging our immigrant communities, and all of our hard-to-count communities early to educate, assure, and motivate them to be counted. Long Island residents know that we send more in tax dollars to Albany and Washington D.C. than we get back in funding. The 2020 Census is our chance to get it right and to ensure we’re getting our fair share for the next ten years.”
“The 2020 census will play a critical role in determining federal funding and representation for our community over the next ten years. It’s critical that we get a complete and accurate count,” said Congresswoman Kathleen Rice. “And in light of the President’s failed campaign to the suppress participation among immigrant communities, it’s more important than ever that we bolster outreach and ensure that everyone is counted. I applaud County Executive Curran for taking the necessary steps to get the job done.”
“Getting an accurate count for the census is critical for Nassau County; $675 billion in annual federal funding is on the line, and it’s critical Long Island gets its fair share,” Jack Schnirman, Nassau County Comptroller said. “It’s so important everyone is counted, that’s why our Policy and Research Unit put together Census FAQ report with our partners on the Complete Count Committee. This easy-to-understand report is about making sure people know why it’s important to be counted.”
“Completing the Census is the single most important action a parent can take to secure their child’s future because of the significant 10-year funding impact on our schools and communities,” said Rebecca Sanin-President/CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island. “Suffolk and Nassau County are the 4th and 5th hardest to count counties in NYS—so we have built an army of Census soldiers to advance an accurate count in 2020 to ensure that New York can receive its fair share of funding. We need every Long Island resident to complete the Census and recruit their family, friends and neighbors to be counted!”
“Nassau County’s population continues to rise, especially in thriving communities like Glen Cove. It is vitally important that we do all that we can as local residents to ensure that an accurate count is conducted in 2020,” said Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine. “I commend Nassau County Executive Laura Curran for her leadership and for taking the initiative to create the Complete Count Committee, a diverse team made up of community stakeholders dedicated to promoting the 2020 Census and increasing resident participation throughout the county.”
“Every community must be accurately and comprehensively counted in the 2020 Census to ensure all Nassau County residents receive their fair share of federal resources and representation,” said Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D – Glen Cove). “I am excited to be involved in a collaborative effort to facilitate a successful outcome to a process that will have wide-reaching implications for our region.”
The U.S. Constitution mandates a decennial census to count every person residing in the country. The census is designed and executed by the U.S. Census Bureau, an agency within the Department of Commerce.
Census data is used by governments, businesses, and the nonprofit community to guide investment decisions. The census is used to fund $675 billion in federal programs, including for roads and bridges, public schools, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps), the National School Lunch Program, Section 8 Housing, Head Start, and the Community Development Block Grants.
The dollars-and-cents impact can be illustrated by a George Washington Institute of Public Policy analysis of 16 large federal assistance programs that distribute funds based on decennial census-derived data. In New York, this amounted to over $53 billion annually, or $2,687 per person. That means that for each person that is not counted, Nassau County stands to lose at least $2,687 per year per person in resources that it deserves from those programs. That is a loss of at least $26,870 per person not counted over the next decade.
Census data determines political representation, both on the federal and local level. This includes the electoral votes each state receives. It's also used by businesses to decide where to set up shop or relocate.
- Large Hard to Count Population:
- Nassau County is the fifth hardest-to-count County in New York State. In 2010, 22% of households did not respond to the initial census questionnaire. Hard-to-count groups include low income households, highly mobile people, children under five, racial and ethnic minorities, undocumented immigrants, individuals experiencing homelessness, and those with limited English proficiency.
- Funding Levels:
- The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has determined that the 2020 Census is a high-risk initiative and that cost estimates are not reliable. In addition, funding that has typically been available to community organizations in census efforts, has been scarce.
- Technological Advancement
- The Census Bureau is aiming to invite 80% of households to submit their responses on the internet. This presents an obstacle to those who may not feel comfortable using the internet (seniors) and those without reliable access to broadband (low-income residents).
- Citizenship Question
- There was an extensive legal battle over a question that asked for citizenship status should be included in the 2020 Census. Despite the question not being included, the climate of fear in the immigrant community may still dissuade many families from participating. As Nassau County does have a large and growing immigrant population, this is a challenge to ensuring an accurate count.
"As the Hispanic community continues to grow on Long Island, achieving a full count of all residents is more critical than ever,” said Gabriela Castillo, Executive Director of the Nassau County Office of Hispanic Affairs. “Despite federal government policies creating a climate of fear for immigrant families, Nassau County is committed to engaging immigrant communities to raise awareness about the importance and safety of participating in the Census."
“Since County Executive Curran took office, we've strengthened the bond between county government and our growing Asian-American community in Nassau,” said Farrah Mozawalla, Executive Director of the Nassau County Office of Asian American Affairs. “Our Office will continue outreach to our communities and work with community partners to ensure we are heard and counted.”
"Historically, communities of color have been under-counted in the Census, resulting in less funding for our local schools, infrastructure, and health care services,” said Dr. Regina Williams, Executive Director of the Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs. “That's why the Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs is working diligently with our community partners and stakeholders to ensure every resident in Nassau is engaged and counted in the 2020 Census."
Nassau County Complete Count Committee
Nassau County launched the Complete Count Committee with the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island (HWCLI) and the Long Island Community Foundation on February 5th, 2019. The Committee works together to build awareness and motivate our communities to fill out the Census in 2020. Subcommittees are focused on business, education communications, early childhood, faith-based communities, immigrants, local governments, people of color, and senior citizens. All are welcome to bring ideas, and insight.
To get involved, please call the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island at 516-505-4427
The next key Census milestone will be in August 2019, when the Census Bureau performs address canvassing by visiting targeted areas to ensure their address lists are up to date. In March 2020, the Bureau will begin outreach to all households by mail invitation to complete the Census. Households will have three options for responding: online, by mail, or by phone.
In advance of the 2020 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of people for temporary jobs across the country. Nassau County's Complete Count Committee is committed to helping to spread the word about these positions so that members of hard-to-count communities have the opportunity to help ensure their neighbors are counted. To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old at the start of employment, have a valid Social Security number, and be a U.S. citizen. Apply today: 2020census.gov/job
In partnership with Nassau County, the City of Glen Cove will hold a Census job fair on August 10.
"The Long Island Civic Engagement Table and our partners are proud to stand together to make sure that each and every person on Long Island gets counted,” said Rodman Serrano, Training and Field Coordinator for the Long Island Civic Engagement Table. “Our work mobilizing working-class communities of color to take civic action remains more important than ever as we devote our time and efforts to ensure an accurate 2020 Census count.”