March 27, 2011City will File a Formal Challenge Under the Count Question Resolution Process
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was joined by elected officials from across New York City today to discuss the 2010 Census results for the city, which were released last Thursday. While Census data shows an all-time record high population for New York City of 8.175 million residents - at a time when many other Northeast cities are experiencing population declines - the Administration believes there was a clear and significant undercount of New York City residents. The Mayor announced that the City will file a formal challenge with the Census Bureau under the Count Question Resolution process. If the City's challenge is successful, the 2010 Census numbers would be changed. While any change to the 2010 Census results would not alter Congressional representation, it would change population numbers for 2010 and set a higher baseline for the population estimates the Census Bureau will make until the 2020 Census - affecting the population numbers Federal agencies use to apportion funds for the next decade. The Mayor and elected officials from across the city announced the City's intention to formally challenge the Census results at Manuel De Dios Unanue Triangle in Jackson Heights, one of the many neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn the City believes was severely undercounted.
"Our Administration has been looking at the Census numbers non-stop since they were released last Thursday," said Mayor Bloomberg. "And we can now say that we plan to formally challenge the Census results for our city, under the Count Question Resolution process established by the Census Bureau. We believe that errors have occurred in putting together the Census results for Brooklyn and Queens. It seem evident to us that something incongruous happened in the Census count in these two boroughs.?"
"I've got to tell you if the census showed us anything this past week, it's that they really don't know how to count urban populations," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. "They've never been good at it, but that's no excuse for shortchanging New York. These numbers are baffling. If you were to believe them on their face New York City added only a little more than 160,000 new residents in the last decade. A decade that any New Yorker from any part of the City could tell you saw tremendous growth in both Manhattan and the outer boroughs. In Queens alone, the census claims that only about 1,300 new people moved into the borough. Tell that to the folks on the crowded number 7 train. It's absurd. The numbers are dead wrong and it makes you wonder if the census bureau is living on a different planet."
"The Census numbers simply don't add up," said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. "It is critical that the Census Bureau gets this count right. Over the past decade, the last Census undercount cost New Yorkers hundreds of millions of dollars in Federal and State funding. And we may stand to lose more critical funding over the next ten years. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress, the City, and the State to correct this undercount and ensure our communities get their fair share of federal resources."
"New Yorkers cannot afford to accept the consequences of having our City undercounted by the census," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. "The many new New Yorkers who joined our City's community should not be denied basic Federal services and representation because the Census Bureau got it wrong. I am committed to working with Mayor Bloomberg to demand we get a fair and accurate count of all the people living in our city."
"In 2009, the Census Bureau estimated a 4.1 percent population growth for Brooklyn since 2000, yet the numbers released today claimed only a 1.6 percent increase," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "The good news is that this is the largest Brooklyn population since 1970. Even so, I am flabbergasted that the Census Bureau has made such a big mistake in tremendously undercounting our borough. It is inconceivable that Brooklyn - the hottest borough in which to live, work and play - grew only a small percentage in the past decade. By some counts, the Satmar community in Williamsburg, as well as the Lubovitch Chasidim in Crown Heights by themselves grew by 40,000 new residents, and that's just one example. Given Brooklyn's reputation as the 'proud home to everyone from everywhere,' it's likely that recent immigrant and minority communities, including the Asian population in South Brooklyn and our residents in Central Brooklyn, have been drastically under-represented in these numbers."
"As an elected official here in Queens for the past 30 years, I have watched the population of our borough become the most diverse of any county in America," said Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall. "JFK Airport, the Gateway to America, brings individuals and families here from around the world, and many stay here in Queens with relatives already living the American Dream. Although my office formed a Complete Count Committee to increase participation in the census, I believe that many in our immigrant population still did not participate in the count due, in part, to privacy issues and language barriers. I believe that Queens has traditionally been undercounted and continues to be. I invite Census officials who believe that our population is stagnant to go on tour with me and discover the difference."
"As a former math teacher, I can tell you that the Census count doesn't add up," said Congressman Gary Ackerman. "The figures released by the Census Bureau are absolutely bizarre. I know of no neighborhood where there are fewer people than there were in the last census. But I know of scores of neighborhoods where the population has increased in multiples, particularly within the ethnic and minority communities in Queens. We understand how difficult it is to conduct these types of population counts. But the fact of the matter is that everybody was not counted at a time when everybody should count."
"While Census mail participation rates in Kings County increased from 54 percent in 2000 to 58 percent in 2010, I am concerned that the results of the data may not have been the most accurate reflection of New York City's population," said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. "For example, according to the census over ten years, Brooklyn's population only grew by 1.6 percent. I look forward to more census data being released so that we can get a better understanding of the data collected from the 2010 Census."
"The Census Bureau initially estimated the City's population at 8.4 million and I believe even that figure is too low," said Congressman Eliot Engel. "New York City has been growing on a daily basis for years, in every borough and likely in every neighborhood. There is a long history of undercounting the City's population. I'm not asking for a do-over, but the Census people should take a second, closer look at the City and its bustling population, with some area recounts, and then they will see the hundreds of thousands of people they missed the first time."
"It is critical to ensure that each and every New Yorker is counted in the Census. By establishing accurate Census data, New Yorkers will be able to receive the proper representation and resources that they deserve and need," said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks. "Federal funds are allocated based upon the number of people in each state and if undercounting has occurred communities will not receive the proper funds to meet the needs of the population for hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, public work projects and emergency services. Because I have one of the most diverse districts in New York, I have held events in my congressional district and conducted heavy media outreach to try to ensure that my constituents responded to the census so that they would be counted. I look forward to working with Mayor Bloomberg and the Census Bureau to make sure that those in the sixth congressional district, and across New York, are not left behind."
"I'm extremely concerned by what appears to be a major undercount of New York City by the U.S. Census," said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. "Almost any New Yorker can tell you that their neighborhood has, in the last 10 years, seen a noticeable influx of newcomers, immigrants, young people, or others. It is ludicrous to suggest that Brooklyn and Queens, in particular, registered such miniscule gains as the Census reports. We need an accurate count of our city's residents in order to provide sufficient resources to our many neighborhoods and communities. While it may be harder to count populations in dense urban areas, there is simply no excuse for a wholesale undercount of our city."
"With the threat of budget cuts looming over every level of government, we have to get down to the bottom of this so that we can ensure that this city and our communities get every dollar, every benefit that they are entitled to," said Congressman Charles B. Rangel. "An accurate Census count is so key to not just getting Federal funding, but for giving our community businesses and non-profits the kind of demographic data they can use to attract new clients and provide services to residents. It is also key in ensuring that voting districts on every level are drawn in a way where people are fairly represented."
"I am pleased to see that New York City is growing, including a healthy increase in the number of people in the Bronx," said Congressman José E. Serrano "I am certain that there was a slight undercount in the Bronx, as there are still many undocumented who are fearful of visits by government officials. I'm also concerned that other areas of our great city were undercounted in the Census, and that this will have an impact on our federal funding over the next decade."
"It is particularly disconcerting that the undercounting appears to have disproportionately affected New York's immigrant communities," said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. "An accurate Census is needed to ensure all New Yorkers have access to vital services."
"An accurate census count is important because it determines the distribution of government funding for critical community services; reflects upon your representation in national, state and local government; and guides local decision-makers on where to build new roads, hospitals, housing, schools and more," said State Senator Eric Adams. "Brooklyn has had a population and housing growth, and these current census numbers do not reflect this. New Yorkers cannot and will not be shortchanged."
"Clearly Queens County has been under counted again and it's a shame," said State Senator Tony Avella. "The borough is being plagued by overdevelopment, traffic congestion and limited parking, overcrowding in our schools and a deteriorating infrastructure and other issues that are directly correlated with a spiking population. All anybody needs to do is try to walk through the pedestrian packed streets of downtown Flushing on any afternoon to get an idea of how overpopulated our urban centers have become. We need a more accurate counting of our population so that we receive the appropriate federal funding and the proper amount of representation."
"Anyone who has set foot in western Queens in the last 10 years knows without a doubt that its population has dramatically increased over that time," said State Senator Michael Gianaris. "Whether it is the number of new buildings sprouting up, increasing rents or even a simple walk through our crowded sidewalks, it is obvious that the population has spiked upward. For the Census Bureau to suggest otherwise calls into question the validity of any of its data throughout the country."
"The latest findings by the United States Census Bureau claimed that the population in New York City increased by only 2.1 percent in the last ten years and Queens, by 0.1 percent," said State Senator Shirley Huntley. "According to the Census Bureau, the 10th Senatorial District, which I represent and reside in decreased by close to 4,000 residents from the 2000 census. I am astounded by this data and its inaccuracy based on the fact that there was an increase in new housing all across the city. It is quite evident that there are more people living in particular areas that were undercounted by the Census Bureau. It is important we gather accurate information, therefore these findings should be investigated for their legitimacy because of the importance of receiving federal funding based off population and demographic data."
"The Census findings create more questions than answers for anyone who lives, works, and, frankly, pays attention to New York City," said State Senator Jeff Klein. "With millions in federal funding and aid at stake, we need to do everything possible to ensure that these numbers square with reality. I thank Mayor Bloomberg for leading the charge on this critically important issue."
"A short drive from here is the JFK international arrivals terminal," said State Senator Jose Peralta. "The tourists head to Manhattan, just about everybody else, it seems, comes here. You need only to look at the overcrowding in schools in this area to see that. I am working with Mayor Bloomberg to ease school overcrowding in this area, but we will not be able to keep pace with the waves of new arrivals without our fair share of representation and resources."
"Census data impacts funding for schools, hospitals, public protection, and transportation, among other vital services," said State Senator John Sampson. "To ensure our communities get the resources they deserve, we need a complete and accurate count. Unfortunately, the Census fell dramatically short of that standard by significantly under-counting populated areas, particularly in minority and new immigrant communities. I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for his vocal advocacy, and look forward to working with him and my colleagues in State and Federal government to right this wrong and deliver fair and accurate data for New York's future."
"Queens is the 10th most populated county in the entire nation and one of the most vibrant in the City, having experienced tremendous growth in residential development over the past ten years," said State Senator Malcolm A. Smith. "For the U.S. Census numbers to suggest that the Borough has only seen a .1 percent population increase over the last decade is nothing short of ridiculous, and an insult to the thousands of people who have relocated to Queens and made it their home. I urge the U.S. Census Bureau to re-evaluate their numbers."
"I am angry at the inaccuracies in the 2010 Census, which shows Queens' population growing by only 1,343 people," said State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. "I served as the district manager for a previous census, leading the count in Northeast Queens, and I was commended by the Department of Commerce for my work. This year, with all the new technology, there is no excuse for this undercount, and that is the only possible explanation for 0.1 percent growth in Queens. There appears to be no quality control; errors were made that should have been caught, and now Queens will suffer because of the ineptitude of the Census Bureau."
"I do not understand how the census came up with the numbers," said Assemblyman Peter Abbate, Jr. "I have a larger increase of students in my districts' schools than they have for the whole borough of Brooklyn."
"The United States Census Bureau did an abominable job in conducting a full and thorough count of the people who reside in New York," said State Senator Marty Golden. "These depressed numbers will be sure to have a long term effect on both Federal and State funding for the City of New York. All avenues, including legal action, needs to be explored in order to correct this injustice."
"If the Census bureau thinks population growth in Queens is flat, it probably still believes the earth is, also," said Assemblyman Rory Lancman. "We demand a recount, because our residents deserve the fair allocation of representation and resources that an accurate Census count will produce."
"It is outrageous that many immigrants and new residents in Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, and many similar communities across New York City were disenfranchised by a Census count that didn't include them," said Assemblyman Fransico Moya. "These communities are already shortchanged, and while we have made headway over the past 20 years, this Census count puts us back decades. Getting better resources for our schools, our social services, and businesses that generate jobs will be much harder because of the failures and inaccuracies in the Census count, putting communities like Corona at the back of the line once again - and that's not acceptable. I am proud to join the mayor and the City to ensure that residents of my district and all City residents receive their fair share of federal and state funding."
"I represent a vibrant multi-ethnic community in Brooklyn that has not lost the population shown in the 2010 Census," said Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein. "I am deeply concerned that insufficient outreach was done to accurately reflect the diverse population in my district and throughout the city. As a result our city and community will suffer tremendous hardship from lost resources."
"I want to applaud the Mayor for aggressively speaking on this issue," said Council Member Leroy Comrie. "While the recent Census figures may say one thing, those of us living and working in Queens know the reality. The population has increased because our schools are over-crowded, mass transit is overcrowded and as the most diverse and fastest-growing borough in the City, it is clear that there has been a serious undercount. I believe the recent Census missed the target with respect to new Asian, Latino and Caribbean residents now living here. We need to work together to convince the Census Bureau to quickly make a numerical adjustment. There is simply too much at stake."
"There is significant and irrefutable evidence, both anecdotal and statistical, that a major undercount by the Census Bureau has occurred in my area," said Council Member Daniel Dromm. "You can tell by walking down the street, getting on the subway, or trying to park your car -- that Jackson Heights, like most of Queens, has experienced a large increase in population. You can measure that growth directly by looking at the ever-increasing need for school seats, increases in births at local hospitals like Elmhurst, and by the surge in food stamp applications. I agree with Mayor Bloomberg - it is not possible that Queens added only 1,300 people over the last 10 years. It is obvious that these false figures failed to reflect the large influx of immigrants here in Queens. Even the Census' own American Community Survey estimated in 2009 that Queens County had added at least 77,000 people over the last decade. We demand a more accurate count of the people in our community."
"The numbers are baffling," said Council Member Lew Fidler. "We can see with our eyes that these numbers are an undercount. It is not only counter intuitive, but it flies in the face of physical evidence. If they do not fix this, the City will literally pay for it for the next decade."
"I proudly join the Mayor in denouncing the result of NYC 2010 Census numbers and call that these numbers be corrected to reflect reality," said Council Member Julissa Ferreras. "Despite the large increase in population, nationwide, within immigrant communities, the 2010 Census claims that there was only an increase of a few hundred in the Borough of Queens. These numbers are not just wrong, they are criminal. My district, the cradle of diversity and the City as a whole will be shortchanged of much needed federal funds- funds that could go towards Police, Fire, and Education, among other City services."
"These Census results are absurd," said Council Member David Greenfield. "According to the Federal numbers, one census tract in my district, where there was significant construction and development in recent years, saw a 47.3 percent drop in population. How is that possible? I warned about under-counting in my district last year, and I am upset to see my fears realized. Under-counting means fewer government dollars, which my constituents desperately need. Frankly, if these Census folks don't know how to count, they should go back to school."
"These results just don't add up," said Council Member Dan Halloran. "I've seen Queens add density and development in the last decade, and I know those new buildings aren't empty. I'm calling on the Federal government to do a recount to make sure we get the funding and representation we deserve."
"During this past decade, Brooklyn has become a prime destination for living and working. I'm certain that data released by the Census Bureau regarding Brooklyn's growth is flawed," Council Member Letitia James. "My thoughts are that recent immigrant and minority communities have been under-represented within these numbers drastically."
"I am concerned that the Census Bureau's numbers are grossly inaccurate and our community is once again being undercounted, which we all know will means years of our borough receiving less funding, less service and less representation," said Council Member Peter Koo. "Anyone who walks the streets of Flushing, Jackson Heights, Corona, and almost any major Queens community realizes that the population has increased greatly over the last decade. It is implausible that with recent development projects, the number of new students in our education system and congestion that exists throughout our entire Borough that Queens grew by only a small percentage. This represents a major problem that is vitally important we see corrected immediately. We must find out why these inaccuracies occurred and how to correct it. Inaccurate numbers that fall way below our expectations will mean that Queens will once again be denied our fair share of resources."
"I absolutely shocked at the findings of the recent census," said Council Member Karen Koslowitz. "By the increase in the number of children attending our schools in Queens and the growth of different ethnicities throughout the borough and the city, it is evident that the new census data is dramatically flawed. I am urging the Census Bureau to correct these inconsistencies to reflect the obvious growth in our city. New York City must receive its fair share."
"The Census Bureau's numbers don't appear to be in line with the astounding growth New York City has experienced over the last decade," said Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. "If these numbers are to be believed, thriving neighborhoods across the city like Bensonhurst and Astoria should be full of empty apartments, subways and school seats, but that's clearly not the case. These results will negatively impact the distribution of Federal funding dollars for a wide range of important services. New York City has successfully appealed the Census Bureau in the past, and I believe we should do so again, to ensure New Yorkers are getting their fair share of federal funding. In addition, the Census Bureau needs to re-evaluate its counting process, especially in how they are addressing the needs of immigrant communities."
"The undercount of Queens in particular, but New York in general, is outrageous," said Council Member James Sanders Jr. "The Rockaways alone has grown by more than ten-thousand people since the last census, so how can it be that Queens has only grown by thirteen-hundred people? I support our Mayor's attempt to correct this mistake, in order to avoid the loss of funds for education, police and all of our critical needs. I stand shoulder to shoulder with our Mayor to fight this injustice."
"I was very disappointed by the latest census figures and the overall lack of participation that was reported by Queens residents," said Council Member Eric Ulrich. "My office went to great lengths to help people understand the importance of the 2010 Census in relation to making sure that our communities receive the proper funding for essential services. Given the construction boom that has taken place over the past decade, the determination that Queens gained a little more than 1,300 residents would be laughable if it didn't come with such serious consequences."
"If the census numbers are correct, Astoria would be home to rapidly expanding construction on every block and a rapidly shrinking population," said Council Member Peter Vallone, Jr. "I guess I spent five years rezoning Astoria to stop the overdevelopment of empty buildings."
"I applaud Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to address this flawed system that inaccurately depicts the Queens population," said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. "Common sense is lacking in this Census formula and before these numbers go to print there should be a serious review of this methodology that greatly affects our city's funding. In a time where every penny counts New York City should not be shortchanged."
"I am extremely surprised given the increased efforts of many organizations including my office and our partner CACCI, that there was not a significant surge in our numbers," said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. "I believe that there has been a significant undercount and based on past years it will be of the populations that need to be counted the most. My district in particular and other similar ones have a history of being undercounted. I sincerely hope there is another review of these numbers."
"New York City has a hard-to-count population and unfortunately, the Census Bureau has yet to find an effective way to accurately count our residents," said Council Member Ruben Wills. "In this current fiscal climate, every penny really counts towards maintaining services to our residents. It is critical that we have a full count of our city's residents to ensure our proper allocation of federal dollars. I stand firmly with Mayor Bloomberg and my colleagues in the City Council to challenge the results of this Census report."
Stu Loeser/Marc La Vorgna