New York City Registers Significant Gains in First-Week Census Figures Compared To 2010 While Redoubling Efforts To Achieve Complete Count In The Face Of COVID-19

New York City’s first-week 2020 self-response rate registers a 75 percent increase over the first-week 2010 self-response rate.
New York City also more than halves gap between city and national averages for first-week self-response rates as compared to 2010.

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NEW YORK — The U.S. Census Bureau released its first-week, initial self-response rates to the 2020 Census today, and the figures demonstrate that New York City is registering significant strides in its first-week rates compared to 2010 figures, despite being on the front lines of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.  

New York City’s initial, first-week self-response rate of 10.5 percent is 75 percent higher than the equivalent rate in 2010, which stood at just 6 percent. Additionally, New York City has significantly narrowed the gap between itself and the nationwide average for this equivalent reporting period, registering only a 3.6-percentage point difference in 2020 (10.5 percent vs. 14.1 percent), compared to a 10-percentage point difference in 2010 (6 percent vs. 16 percent). This means that at this time in 2010, New York City’s response rate was only 37.5 percent of the national average, whereas today, it has nearly doubled to be 74 percent of the national average.

These figures are rendered even more notable given the enormous and unprecedented challenges that the 2020 Census has faced, and continues to face, including the fear, misinformation, and disinformation stemming from the protracted, multi-year battle surrounding the citizenship question, as well as a deep and widespread distrust of the federal government, the census being primarily available online for the first time, and now, New York City being one of the national epicenters of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The initial self-response data shows that the unprecedented citywide Census 2020 campaign is resonating and that New Yorkers, particularly in this critical time, want to ensure that we receive the resources and representation we deserve,” said Julie Menin, Director of NYC Census 2020. “We have far more to do, and we must remain both cautious and vigilant, especially since the communities on the front lines of COVID-19 are also the ones that have been historically undercounted by the census, which is why we need every New Yorker to join our quest to get all of us counted.”

By the numbers:

Initial, first-week self-response rate for the 2020 Census: New York City: 10.5 percent
New York State: 12.2 percent
U.S: 14.1 percent

Initial self-response rate for the 2010 Census (when compared to March 23):
New York City: 6 percent
New York State: 11 percent
U.S.: 16 percent

Given the spread of COVID-19, it is imperative that all New Yorkers take just a few minutes to self-respond to the 2020 Census now by visiting or by calling 1-844-330-2020 (there are 12 additional numbers for service in 12 additional languages; they can be found at If New Yorkers take a few minutes to self-respond now from the safety and security of their own home, they will avoid a knock on their door during the door-to-door enumeration period, which is still currently scheduled to take place later this year.

The mission of NYC Census 2020 is more important than ever. The census leads to direct investments in New York City’s health care system. For example, census data determine allocations for funding for CHIP and hospitals. What’s more, it’s how public health officials get the foundational data that public health experts use to plan for and manage situations like COVID-19.

About NYC Census 2020

NYC Census 2020 is a first-of-its-kind organizing initiative established by Mayor de Blasio in January 2019 to ensure a complete and accurate count of all New Yorkers in the 2020 Census. The $40 million program is built on four pillars: (1) a $19 million community-based awards program, The New York City Complete Count Fund, empowering 157 community-based organizations to engage historically undercounted communities around the 2020 Census; (2) an in-house "Get Out the Count" field campaign supported by the smart use of cutting-edge data and organizing technology, and a volunteer organizing program to promote a complete count in each of the city’s 245 neighborhoods; (3) an innovative, multilingual, tailored messaging and marketing campaign, including a $3 million commitment to investing in community and ethnic media to reach every New York City community; as well as (4) an in-depth Agency and Partnerships engagement plan that seeks to leverage the power of the City's 350,000-strong workforce and the city's major institutions, including libraries, hospitals, faith-based communities, cultural institutions, higher educational institutions, and more, to communicate with New Yorkers about the critical importance of census participation. Through close partnerships with trusted leaders and organizations across the five boroughs, this unprecedented campaign represents the largest municipal investment in census organizing nationwide and will build an enduring structure that empowers New Yorkers to remain civically engaged.