NEWBURGH – To maximize participation in the 2020 census, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (NY), and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) have called on the U.S. Census Bureau (Bureau) to establish a Questionnaire Assistance Center (QAC), hold a local jobs fair, and work in lockstep with the City of Newburgh to maximize local participation in the upcoming decennial census.
The officials explained that in 2010, Newburgh had one of the lowest census-participation rates in New York State (a mere 57%), and that the city cannot be allowed to fall through the cracks yet again, as representation and many forms of federal funding are determined by the decennial census count. Therefore, the federal representatives requested that the Bureau establish a Questionnaire Assistance Center (QAC) in Newburgh, host a U.S. Census Bureau jobs fair for worker recruitment in Newburgh, and help facilitate a meeting with key community leaders to establish a partnership and better coordinate census outreach and participation.
“This count impacts everything from better roads to seats in Head Start and money for kids to go to college. If we don’t do this right, Newburgh will be cheated out of resources it needs and deserves for yet another decade. That can’t happen,” said Rep. Maloney.
“Newburgh is already getting short shrift, and this simple solution will go a long way toward fixing the problem – let’s get it done.”
“An accurate census count is essential for any community to receive federal resources for transportation, housing, social services and infrastructure, and in 2010, the City of Newburgh’s was a far cry from the truth. We need to be doing everything possible to increase Newburgh’s census participation rate and bring it closer to reality, so that the city gets the support it deserves,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why today we are launching a three-pronged push to ensure that each and every resident of Newburgh is counted in the 2020 census. With the very first internet-based decennial census set to go live in less than a year, the time to prepare and mobilize to reverse Newburgh’s trend of low response is already upon us.”
“The census is one of the most important tools that we have to determine how federal resources are allocated. Ten years ago, the City of Newburgh had one of the lowest census participation rates in New York. As we prepare for next year’s census, we need to do everything we can to make sure that residents have the support they need to actively participate,” said Senator Gillibrand. “An accurate count will help ensure that the City of Newburgh receives the federal investment necessary to meet the city’s needs for the next decade, and I am calling on the Census Bureau to work with the community so that everyone can be counted.”
Maloney, Schumer, and Gillibrand explained that Newburgh’s census-response rate of a mere 57% in 2010 was near the bottom of New York State. This, the federal officials noted, is exactly why they are requesting that a QAC be established directly within the city itself, as a QAC will provide electronic resources to help people complete the first ever internet-based decennial U.S. census survey. Since Newburgh is an economically-distressed city, ensuring robust participation in the census is of the utmost importance, as representation and many federal funding calculations depend on the decennial census count. The officials stated that establishing a QAC in Newburgh could help reverse the trend of low census participation.
Additionally, since the Bureau will have to hire numerous temporary positions starting this fall and continuing into next year, the officials urged the Bureau to host a jobs fair in Newburgh in the coming months. Maloney, Schumer, and Gillibrand suggested that hiring diverse and well-trained local workers could help to ensure maximum community participation and a more accurate census count. The officials argued that the greater number of local applicants that the Bureau can field, the greater participation and engagement in the 2020 U.S. census.
Lastly, as education of community leaders and mobilization of community-based institutions is critical to maximizing participation rates, Maloney, Schumer, and Gillibrand requested that the Census Bureau meet with local leaders in Newburgh to determine best practices and how to improve response rates.