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Friday, March 19, 2010

Bronx and the Census

Check your mailboxes; census forms arrive this week! If you’re wondering whether or not you should take time to answer the 10-question survey, city leaders and community groups are saying you should—there’s $400 billion on the line.

That’s the amount of federal funding given to state and local governments each year, and how much each area gets is based on population numbers gauged from the census. The city’s been stepping up efforts to get New Yorkers, especially in neighborhoods with large immigrant populations, to mail in their forms for the most accurate counts. (Ken Small, director of BronxWorks, wrote an op-ed in this month’s Mount Hope Monitor on the importance of the census for the Bronx).

During the 2000 Census, 56% of Bronx residents responded, according to the Census Bureau. This was slightly more than the city overall (55%) but well below the national response rate of 67%.

This map shows census response broken down by community district. Concentrations of some of the lowest response rates fell in Community District 12 (the area around Williamsbridge).

Earlier today, the New York Community Media Alliance held a press conference for members of the ethnic press at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Comptroller John C. Liu, Public Advocate Bill Di’Blasio, Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez and reps from the Census Bureau were there, urging attendees to spread word about the census to communities of color.

The speakers emphasized that there are no questions on the census form regarding immigration status, so undocumented residents should not hesitant to mail in their forms.

Tomorrow (Saturday, March 20), BronxWorks is hosting a census outreach event at its community center at 1130 Grand Concourse. The program is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature food, music and games.

For more information, or for help filling out a census form, you can contact one of four Bronx help lines:

Northeast Bronx: 718-216-2639
Northwest Bronx: 347-284-0226
Southeast Bronx: 718-216-2639
Southwest Bronx: 718-216-2756

Or visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/census2010/html/home/home.shtml 


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