Why is the census important?
A complete census count of all New York residents is essential because an undercount could result in the loss of billions of dollars each year over the next decade in federal aid provided through programs that are apportioned and distributed to states and localities. New York could also lose up to two congressional seats in an undercount.
Westchester Community Foundation, a division of The New York Community Trust, is one of 11 funders on the steering committee of the New York State Equity Fund. This statewide collaborative of 35 foundations and financial institutions serves in an advisory capacity on the Fund’s grantmaking with the shared goal of reaching hard-to-count communities in the 2020 Census.
People of color, immigrants, residents of low-income households and rural households, and young children are among those who have been undercounted historically.
A complete census count of all New York residents is critical. “These groups will spread the word that participation is essential for effective distribution of resources and fair representation in government,” said Patricia A. Swann, senior program officer at The New York Community Trust.
The Census Equity Fund, housed at The Trust, has distributed nearly $2 million in two rounds of grants. The first round was to ensure agencies with large capacity-building programs had the infrastructure needed to support a complete count. The second round went to regional agencies to get out the count. The third and fourth rounds will focus on a rapid response at local levels when the count gets started. When the response rates are low in certain neighborhoods, the Fund will deploy resources to assist in getting a complete count.
The Foundation is also working closely with Westchester County’s Complete Count Committee, using a long-established donor fund to support the hiring of a coordinator to assist the county in its efforts to get a complete count.
Census 2020 resources
U.S. Census Bureau:
The Census questions: