March 6, 2020

Counting Down the Days: Just 6 Left Until 2020 Census Begins

New Yorkers are called upon to go online and fill out the 2020 Census at on March 12, 2020

NYC Census 2020 announces that more than 6,000 New Yorkers have been recruited to volunteer for census-related efforts the census citywide

NEW YORK -- With less than one week before the 2020 Census becomes available online, Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson, and NYC Census 2020 Director Julie Menin called upon New Yorkers to participate in the 2020 Census to ensure that New York City receives its fair share of hundreds of billions in federal funding for important programs and services, as well as its fair share of representation in Congress. 

The more New Yorkers who fill out the census, the more money the city receives for public education, healthcare, housing, roads and bridges, and so much more. This year, the census will be available online or via phone for the first time, making the census easier than ever to complete. Starting March 12, all New Yorkers will be able to fill out the census by visiting or by calling 1-844-330-2020. From March 12 until mid-May, the census will be primarily conducted online and via phone, and all New Yorkers are very strongly encouraged to participate online or by phone in order to avoid a knock on their doors in the summer. The census is for everyone, no matter one’s immigration or citizenship status, or housing situation, and all New Yorkers -- no matter what language they speak or where or how they live -- must be counted. 

“In a matter of days we need to make sure that every New Yorker is counted regardless of immigration status or where they live in any of the five boroughs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I encourage everybody to make their voices be heard sooner rather than later by filling out the census online or by phone. Our resources for a better future are at stake and we don’t want to wait another 10 years for the next census.”

“The importance of counting every New Yorker cannot be overstated. Millions of dollars in federal funds are at stake for our schools, our roads, our hospitals, our housing,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “Trump and his administration wanted to intimidate us so that New York wouldn't get an accurate count, but we are putting all our efforts into proving them wrong, together. I’m proud of the Council’s and the Mayor’s commitment of $40 million dollars to ensure a complete count—the largest investment of any city in the nation. Starting March 12, New Yorkers will be able to complete the census form, including online and over the phone. Filling out the census is fast, easy and secure, and can be filled out in multiple languages. I will be filling out my questionnaire. We cannot afford to fall short. We will not fall short. I encourage all New Yorkers to complete the census so that our City is counted fully.” 

“Make no mistake -- despite being one of the foundations of our democracy and the exercise meant to facilitate access to the resources and representation that are rightfully ours, the census has been weaponized against, and has undercounted, black and brown communities since the earliest days of our nation,” said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “This year, we’re not going to let that happen. The only way we’re going to make the census count for us and help to narrow the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in our nation is if we are counted. Don’t give into the fear - go online and stand up for your community and your city.”

“New York City has been losing out on funds for schools, hospitals, and more because only 62% of New Yorkers self-responded to the 2010 Census,” said NYC Census 2020 Director Julie Menin. “This year, we need to make that 100%. That is why, coupled with the need to combat the misinformation and disinformation being spread by those who want to create fear, we have worked with hundreds of partners to run the largest coordinated municipal campaign in the country; nothing will deter us in our fight for a complete and accurate count this year.” 

“Our message to New Yorkers is simple – the census is safe, easy, and vitally important,” said Carlos Menchaca, Co-Chair of the New York City Council Census Task Force. “Your immigration status does not matter. No importa tu estatus migratorio. This is a count of everyone, and the government is prohibited from sharing your information. El gobierno no puede compartir tu información personal. Everything the government funds – from schools, to healthcare, to our streets – is based on how many people they think live in New York City. Let’s show them we are here and are to be counted.”

“It’s imperative that every New Yorker knows how important it is to fill out the census starting next week. But New Yorkers should also know that the census is completely safe and confidential to fill out, and I am working around the clock to continue that education so we achieve a complete count,” said Carlina Rivera, Co-Chair of the New York City Council Census Task Force. “Billions of dollars in federal funding and congressional representation are at stake. I want to thank everyone who has joined us in making unprecedented investments for this effort, including the Mayor’s Office, our community-based organizations, labor unions, and trusted non-profits. Now let’s get counting.”

“In just one week all New Yorkers – regardless of immigration status -- can begin to raise our voices to fight for our fair share of federal funding and political representation by exercising our right to get counted in the 2020 Census,” said Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Participating in the census is safe, and you can get counted online, over the phone, via a paper form, or at your local library, in 13 languages. The census form has no questions about citizenship or immigration status. This is a time for all our residents to exercise their power without fear and right to be counted, declaring proudly, ‘I am a New Yorker’”

New York City has taken serious measures to ensure a complete and accurate count in the 2020 Census, which determines the city’s future for the next 10 years. In 2019, along with many partners, the City prevailed at the Supreme Court against the Trump Administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the census, an effort specifically designed to spread fear and depress participation. In addition, the de Blasio Administration and the City Council have together provided $40 million in funding to support the NYC Complete Count Campaign, which is housed at NYC Census 2020 and led by Director Julie Menin. 

Important Facts about the 2020 Census

  • The census is available primarily online and by phone this year: and 1-844-330-2020. 
  • There are no questions related to immigration or citizenship on the 2020 Census.
  • The census contains only 10 questions, and none ask about employment, income, or for one’s Social Security number.
  • The census is for everyone, regardless of immigration or citizenship status or housing situation. New Yorkers living with friends, family members, roommates, other families, or even in unlawful housing units, can and should participate in the 2020 Census.
  • All responses to the census and any personal information held by the Census Bureau are protected by Title XIII of the United States code, which makes the sharing of any personal information by a Census Bureau employee a serious crime, punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
  • By law, census information can only be used for statistical purposes, and cannot be used against an individual or family in any way. The Census Bureau cannot share any personal information with any government agencies, private individuals, or companies. This includes immigration enforcement, law enforcement, any other federal, state, or city agencies, and landlords.  
  • This year, New Yorkers will be able to complete the census form online in 12 languages in addition to English, and each of these languages will also have its own dedicated, unique phone number that speakers of these languages can call to receive direct assistance. In addition, the U.S. Census Bureau has published “explainer” guides in a total of 59 languages. For more information, please visit:
  • For New Yorkers who require assistance completing the census online, the City of New York, through the city’s three library systems, as well as NYC Census 2020’s Complete Count Fund awardees, will be providing a network of dozens of “pop-up” locations across the five boroughs where New Yorkers will be able to get questions answered in multiple languages, and have access to computers or tablets. A complete list and map will be available on starting March 11. 

NYC Census 2020 Citywide Organizing by the Numbers

  • Along with its partners, the Complete Count Campaign has hosted or attended more than 500 events since January 2019, including approximately 300 civil rights-style “teach-ins” across the five boroughs. 
    • Complete Count Fund community awardees have held 100 events and trained 400 outreach captains and census coordinators. 
    • NYC Census 2020 leadership has attended hundreds of community events throughout the city. 
  • The Campaign’s field program has delineated the City into 245 neighborhoods to help New Yorkers organize locally with local neighborhood organizing committees (NOCCs). More than 6,200 New Yorkers have signed up to volunteer, of which:
    • Approximately 4,000 are part of their local Neighborhood Organizing Census Committee
    • Approximately 1,200 will have been formally trained by March 11 on community organizing efforts, including how to use modern phone-banking and text-banking technologies, as well as how to effectively engage in community canvassing.
  • An additional 400 staff from Complete Count Fund awardees have received formal training as Outreach Captains and Coordinators.
  • An additional 850 City agency staff have received direct training on census engagement. Many of these staff are trainers themselves, who are conducting trainings for hundreds of additional City staff.
  • A minimum of 150 locations across the five boroughs, including 110 libraries, will serve as NYC Census 2020 “pop-up” sites, where New Yorkers can go directly to access valuable information in the languages they speak, as well as complete the census online directly, which is particularly important for the one-third of New Yorkers who lack reliable access to high-speed internet. 

Because of the pivotal role the census plays in determining each city’s and state’s rightful share of resources and representation, the census has at times over the course of history been subject to political manipulation, and the time leading up to the 2020 Census has been particularly rife with misinformation and disinformation about the census, both of which have generated fear around participation. The census is not only incredibly important, but it is also both easy and safe to participate in, and combating fear requires clear and consistent statement of facts about the ease and safety of participation.  
About the NYC Complete Count Campaign 

The NYC Complete Count Campaign represents a historic and unprecedented partnership between the Mayor’s Office, the City Council, the City University of New York, and more than 160 community-based organizations across all five boroughs, as well as the city's three library systems, labor unions, and civic and private institutions of many types. The Complete Count Campaign is by far the largest and best-resourced census-focused municipal campaign in the nation. A majority of its $40 million funding, an unprecedented $23 million, is supporting community-based organizing and outreach, and $3 million of the campaign’s $8 million advertising campaign is dedicated to local and foreign-language media, the largest such investment by the City in its history. 

New York City's Complete Count Campaign is being operated by NYC Census 2020 in coordination with the office's Citywide Partners, a network of 15 of the city's most trusted and effective advocacy, organizing, and service delivery organizations, in addition to CUNY. The organizations were discretionarily funded by the City Council in August 2019 at a total of $4 million to engage in census-related planning and organizing, and have worked hand-in-hand with NYC Census 2020 and the City Council on the creation and implementation of the Complete Count Campaign. 

Of the $23 million dedicated to local organizing efforts, NYC Census 2020, the City Council, and CUNY have granted $16 million  to 157 organizations through the NYC Complete Count Fund, the largest community organizing program the City has ever built. CCF recipients, which serve New Yorkers in more than 80 languages, have received funds to both expand their existing capacity, as well as to develop new skills through training from both campaign experts and community peers on best practices for community organizing, messaging and communications, integrating census awareness into social service delivery, and more. This integrated government-and-community training approach is a first for the City, and serves as the foundation for the City building an expansive and deep civic engagement infrastructure that is meant to outlast and grow beyond the census. 

Collectively, these organizations have been integrated into NYC Census 2020's Neighborhood Organizing Census Committees (NOCCs) network, announced in September 2019. This integrated outreach program will recruit thousands of volunteers citywide to engage in local census-related outreach, with the ultimate goal of getting hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers to self-respond to the census, especially in historically undercounted communities. Volunteers will primarily engage in four organizing tactics: teach-ins, phone banking, "text-banking," and community canvassing.