Rep. Maloney, Federal Officials, and Representatives from New York Counts 2020 Call NY State to Increase Funding for 2020 Census Outreach

Mar 19, 2019
Press Release

NEW YORK, NY- Today Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined federal officials, representatives from New York Counts 2020 and Census advocates to call for an additional $40 million in New York State funding for increased Census outreach in order to ensure that all New Yorkers respond to the Census.  There are few issues that are more important to the wellbeing of New York State than the upcoming 2020 Census. Census data is used to determine more than $70 billion in federal funding for New York. Inaccurate Census data could result in less representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and Electoral College and less funding for critical services like healthcare, infrastructure, and education programs.

New York State cannot rely on federal funding alone for Census outreach, especially when the Trump administration has done everything in its power to drive down participation. Rep. Maloney organized a letter signed by 11 other members of the New York delegation encouraging the state to invest $40 million in community-based outreach in support of the 2020 Census in this current budget. Community engagement and strategic outreach from trusted partners is the best way to ensure that each New Yorker is counted, and New York must direct appropriate funding to ensure an accurate count.

“The Census affects the very core of our democracy, and determines critical funding and representation in New York State,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “It’s a wise investment for New York to spend $40 million on outreach to ensure accurate data is collected. We must do everything in our power to avoid an undercount and we must resist any effort by the Administration to manipulate the 2020 Census for partisan political purposes. That’s why we are urging New York State legislators to provide critical funding. Protecting the 2020 Census protects New York and our future.”

“The $40 million we’re calling for in the New York State budget would be a critical and needed investment for community-based outreach for the 2020 census. It is essential that robust funding be allocated to get out the count throughout our state, particularly for underserved and hard-to-count areas. I cannot overstate the importance of having accurate and reliable census data. During the last census in 2010, our state was significantly undercounted, and we cannot allow that to happen again. The stakes are too high which is why we must do everything possible to ensure that every New Yorker is counted,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng.

“The Census is one of the most important issues we face as we head into 2020 and determines both our representation in Congress and funding for important projects across the country,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “All voices matter and should be counted, and we are standing together today to ensure that our city, our community, and our families have a say and that their voices are counted.”

“At a time when the Trump administration is trying every trick in the book to sabotage our census process, we need to make sure New York State has the resources it needs to fight back. Community-based outreach and education are critical to getting a fair, accurate count in the 2020 census, and I urge our State legislators and Governor to invest in these programs. This funding will ensure that New York State receives the fair representation and federal funds it needs and deserves over the next decade,” said Congresswoman Kathleen Rice.

“An undercounted Census will critically disrupt funding for health, education, housing, and transportation resources. Government funding for Census outreach is critical to reach hard-to-count communities and prevent loss of federal money. The Census best provides the needs for the people. We must do all we can to ensure representation across New York State!” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez.

"If we fail to complete an accurate count of our communities in the 2020 Census, New York is slated to lose two of our congressional representatives and billions in federal funding. In order to protect New Yorkers against these losses, it is imperative that New York allocates funding for Census outreach and education to traditionally uncounted communities. We urge the Governor to join the State Senate and Assembly, and meet our ask for $40 million in Census funding to save New York's fair share of political representation and federal dollars," said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

“The 2020 Census has just been designated 'high risk' by the US Government Accountability Office. We are living in a time when more national discussion has gone into the budget to build a racist border wall than into the tool that builds our country's future," said Amy Torres, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Chinese-American Planning Council and member of NY Counts 2020. "Asian American Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing racial group in this state, but recent surveys shows that fear, misinformation, and eroded trust in government make AAPIs more hesitant to respond to the Census. Community-based organizations are best positioned to combat these fears and encourage an accurate count. By leaving community-based Census efforts out of his budget, Governor Cuomo has allowed this fear and hesitation to take root, putting New York State at 'high risk' for losing federal funding, having less congressional representation, and the immeasurable damage that flawed Census data would wreak on our schools, hospitals, jobs, and city planning."

"Our quality of life depends on a fair and accurate count for all New Yorkers! The goal is to count all hard to reach immigrant communities including the city's African community," said a representative from African Communities Together.

”At a time when our immigrant communities are under attack from all sides, by the Trump administration, it is important for New York State to act responsibly and take these attacks seriously by giving adequate funding to reach vulnerable communities who have always been hard to reach. As a South Asian and Indo-Caribbean organization we know all too well how important it is to have proper resources, adequate interpretation and translation and most of all on the ground outreach that reflects the ability to reach all parts of our community,” said Rubi, Member of Desis Rising Up and Moving. 

"New York has lost at least two congressional districts every decennial Census since 1950. We cannot stick our heads in the ground hoping this time it will be different. We are a perfect example of a City and State threatened by an undercount. New York needs an intervention of $40 million invested in partnerships with community based organizations to do census outreach in our diverse communities, and this intervention is long overdue.  Our communities have spoken, the NYS Assembly and Senate have spoken, and now we need the Governor to put his money where his mouth and make this smart investment. We cannot afford not to,” said John Park, Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action.

“LatinoJustice PRLDEF (LJP) is committed to ensuring Latino’s and New Yorkers are fairly and accurately accounted for in the 2020 Census. Since being founded in 1972 as the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, LJP has advocated for and defended the constitutional rights and the equal protection of all Latinos under the law including ensuring that all Latino’s are fairly and accurately accounted for in the decennial census. LJP has also worked to secure the voting rights and political participation of Latino voters. Latino’s are the largest ethnic minority group in New York State and it is vital that all Latino’s are properly accounted for in the 2020 Census. An undercounting of Latino communities poses serious problems for political representation and proper disbursal of federal funding over the coming decade. Latino’s already face significant barriers to equal participation in the political process. Voter suppression efforts, gerrymandering, and limited language access barriers are among the many obstacles that discourage and prevent many Latino’s and families from exercising their constitutional right to vote. When Latino’s are undercounted in the Census, our communities are accorded fewer congressional representatives and other state and local political districts. It is therefore imperative that state-wide elected officials put $40 million in the state budget for community based organizations to assist in ensuring a fair and accurate count of all New Yorkers,” said Jorge Luis Vasquez, Jr. Associate Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF.


Full text of the letter below:

Dear Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins,

As you consider state funding for Fiscal Year 2020, we strongly urge you to include $40 million for the purposes of community-based outreach in support of the 2020 decennial census.

The 2020 Census is expected to be the largest and most digitally advanced census in our nation’s history utilizing online self-response as the primary enumeration method for the first time. Unfortunately, this innovative undertaking comes at a time of historic levels of distrust in government, fears about the safety of personal information, and an unnecessary question on citizenship in the midst of anti-immigrant rhetoric from the Trump Administration.

The combination of these factors alone would amount to a serious threat to the accuracy of the census in New York. Unfortunately, the Census Bureau has also experienced inadequate funding in the early years of this runup cycle, a reduction in local area census offices, and a government shutdown that has delayed decision making on critical systems.

These circumstances, when combined with New York’s high immigrant population and both dense urban and sprawling rural households, place our state in a uniquely difficult position in trying to ensure maximum participation in the census, the results of which we will be forced to live with for the next decade.

We believe that a $40 million state investment in community-based outreach is a modest one considering the immense importance an accurate census count means to New York. New York receives over $70 billion annually from the federal government directed through census data that affects everything from Medicare and Medicaid to school lunches and heating assistance in the winter, critical programs and services that help New Yorkers get and stay ahead.

Additionally, census data is used to draw legislative districts at every level of government and apportionment in the US House of Representatives. New York could lose as many as 2 congressional seats despite data showing that our states population has grown in the past decade.

Engaging the public at the community level is critical to ensuring a robust self-response rate and overall accurate count of NY residents in 2020. We strongly urge the allocation of $40 million for community-based outreach in support of the 2020 decennial census. The future of our state’s funding and representation depend on it.

Thank you for your consideration.


Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12)

José E. Serrano (NY-15)

Grace Meng (NY-06)

Adriano Espaillat (NY-13)

Paul Tonko (NY-20)

Nydia Velazquez (NY-07)

Eliot Engel (NY-16)

Kathleen Rice (NY-04)

Max Rose (NY-11)

Gregory Meeks (NY-05)

Yvette Clarke (NY-09)

Jerrold Nadler (NY-10)


Congresswoman Maloney is the author of the Census IDEA Act, a bill that prohibit the citizenship question from being added to the 2020 Census. She is also co-chair of the House Census Caucus and led 126 current and former Members of Congress on an Amicus Brief in support of the lawsuit to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census.

2020 Census data will determine how more than $800 billion in federal funding is allocated, the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives, and representation in the Electoral College for the next decade. In New York State nearly $70 billion in funding is distributed based on Census Data.

The Trump Administration’s efforts to decease Census participation could result in inaccurate Census Data that would severely impact New York and other immigrant-friendly states for the next decade, costing them resources and representation in government.

Congresswoman Maloney last year led an Amicus Brief filed by members of Congress in support of a lawsuit, led by the state of the New York, against the Trump Administration in objection to the citizenship question. Two US District Court Judges, Judge Jesse M. Furman of the Southern District of New York and Judge Richard Seeborg of the Northern District of California, have ruled that the Administration must remove the question. The decisions are being appealed. The brief appealing Judge Furman’s decision can be read in full here.