September 7, 2019
I was recently made aware of a troubling bit of news: U.S. Census officials are predicting that as many as one in three people in the most populated parts of our Capital Region will not respond when they receive their Census form next Spring.
This could have serious consequences. Census data collected next year will help inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated each year for the next decade for education, transportation, hospitals and more.
Our communities cannot afford to lose our slice of the pie in funding with the 2020 Census. Before heading back to Washington next week, I decided to host a series of public and media Census events to help shine a light on this vital concern for our region:
- At the Capital South Campus Center Literacy Zone, I joined with state and local leaders to sound the alarm on this Census undercount prediction and to share why we each need to do our part to ensure a complete 2020 Census count for our Capital Region.
- I organized a roundtable chat and public Q&A at Halfmoon Town Hall to discuss the effect Census data will have on our future transportation services. Local officials shared insights on how an undercount would impact their work and offered their strategies going forward.
- I also led a second roundtable discussion and Q&A at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, where I shared the stage with local officials, community leaders and stakeholders to better understand how economic development investments would be impacted by a Census undercount and explore how we can help ensure underserved populations and all of our communities are counted.
- Yesterday I visited the Schenectady Community Action Program, where I heard from providers and community leaders about how a Census undercount could impact our Capital Region school districts and other vital education programs including Head Start.
The U.S. Census has a proud history dating all the way back to America’s founding. Article 1, Section 2 of our Constitution mandates a full and complete count of every individual living in the United States every ten years, regardless of age, race or ethnicity. An official Census of the entire U.S. population has been conducted every decade since 1790. Its data inform countless state and community programs including federal funding levels for programs impacting health care, education and our Capital Region economy.
DID YOU KNOW?
- 19,542,209 people lived in New York State at the time of the 2010 Census, a population figure that shaped federal support for our schools, hospitals, transportation and numerous other programs, initiatives and services that our Capital Region neighbors and communities depend on.
- Census data impact how our U.S. government allocates more than $800 billion in federal funding every year for schools, fire departments, hospitals, community health centers and more.
- Education: More than $28 billion at stake nationally in Title I grants, special education grants, Head Start funding, national school lunch program, career & technical education allocations, and grants for improving teacher quality.
- Health Care: More than 25 million Americans are served by Community Health Centers every year, often as the only source of care available and an increasingly important source of treatment for our Capital Region neighbors caught up in the opioid epidemic.
- Jobs and Economic Development: Businesses rely on Census data when considering relocation, investment, whether to build a factory or office building, or open new stores. Billions of dollars in community development block grants, highway and transit funding, housing and HUBZones are also impacted.
- Political Representation: Undercounted states and communities could lose political representation, influence and needed resources—New York could even lose one of its Congressional Representatives—without a chance to fix these problems for another 10 years.
We are incredibly blessed to live in a region with impactful, cost-effective services that make it easier for our neighbors and communities to build, grow and thrive. We each need to speak up and get organized ahead of next year’s Census to ensure every resident in our region is counted. As your representative, I will continue working with our state and local leaders to spread the word and help our communities receive the funding that they need and deserve.
Thank you to everyone who helped raise awareness about the 2020 Census and its potential impact on our region this week. Your work continues to be an inspiration and your impact will be felt by our community for years to come.
Learn more about the Census and what we can do to ensure our Capital Region is counted at 2020Census.gov
As always, thank you for reading.