A sign informs ethnic Russians of the upcoming census count in the Russian enclave of Brighton Beach March 7, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York.
Google is launching a new feature that allows users to track participation in the 2010 Census in real time -- as new numbers indicate that New York's early response to the survey has been far lower than the national average.
As of today, only six percent of the 2010 Census forms have been returned by New York households, city officials said. That's compared to 16 percent nationally. In fact, in some neighborhoods, like Ocean Hill in Brooklyn and Soundview in the Bronx, have returned zero forms so far -- a staggering number considering the first Census forms were mailed out early this month.
Breaking it down by borough, the Census responses in the five boroughs are:
The Bronx: 2 percent
Brooklyn: 6 percent
Manhattan: 7 percent
Queens: 6 percent
Staten Island: 16 percent
The low returns come even as the Census campaign implores all people -- citizens and immigrants -- to respond to the 10 questions by running a series of ads in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian and 24 other languages.
Census officials have also been working to assure respondents that the information is private and won't be forwarded to immigration officials, landlords or the IRS.
“New York City is the poster child for a ‘hard to count’ population, but we simply have to do better – there is too much at stake,” said Mayor Bloomberg.
"People need to fill out the Census. Federal funding depends on it," he added.
More than $25 billion of annual federal funds are distributed to New York City based on the 2000 census, including funding for schools, counter-terrorism and security efforts, and social service organizations. A low count could cause the city to lose out on much needed federal money.
Meanwhile, a new Google feature will allow users to track real time participation for every city and county in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau and Google worked together to make the map possible.