Census 2020

NYC Launches Census Contests to Improve Participation Due to Lagging Response Rates

To date, the city has a response rate of 56.2 percent compared to national rate of 64 percent.

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What to Know

  • New York City officials announced Thursday that NYC Census 2020 has launched a number of competitions to mobilize participation so that its residents "get their fair share" after the city has seen itself lagging in census response rates.
  • Officials announced “NYC Counts” and the hyperlocal “Census Subway Series” census contests to mobilize New Yorkers to self-respond to the census before the Sept. 30 deadline.
  • To date, the city has a response rate of 56.2 percent compared to national rate of 64 percent.

New York City officials announced Thursday that NYC Census 2020 has launched a number of competitions to mobilize participation so that its residents "get their fair share" after the city has seen itself lagging in census response rates.

Officials announced “NYC Counts” and the hyperlocal “Census Subway Series” census contests to mobilize New Yorkers to self-respond to the census before the Sept. 30 deadline. To date, the city has a response rate of 56.2 percent compared to national rate of 64 percent.

"RIght now the New York City response rate is 56.2 percent. So we are a little over half-way there," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday during his daily coronavirus briefing. "Now, I want to be clear, imagine for a moment this was the end of the process today and we were only at 56.2 percent. Well, that would suggest we get half the representation we deserve in Washington. That would suggest we get half the funding we deserve for education, transportation, for affordable housing from Washington. I don’t think there is any New Yorker who wants half a loaf and wants to lose our fair share. So let’s be clear, we have work to do. And everyone is a part of it."

He urged all New Yorkers to complete the census and to engage census personnel if they come knocking at your door.

"Our census workers are going out to apartments building all over the city and we are hearing some reports that they are being denied access and that is not appropriate and that is not what we are going to allow in this city….if someone doesn’t allow our census personnel in, that means we aren’t going to get our fair share of funding or representation. That’s absolutely unacceptable," de Blasio said.

In order to entice more individuals to participate, de Blasio and the city's Census 2020 Field Director Kathleen Daniel announced a number of competitions."

Starting Thursday, Daniel said, all New Yorkers who filled out a census take part in "NYC Counts" for a chance to win a number of prizes including $1,000 Seamless gift cards (6 individuals will win this prize), annual memberships to MoMA + MoMA PS1 with a total value of $200 (25 individuals will win this prize) and $50 in Lyft credits and annual Citi Bike membership (100 individuals will win this prize).

The competition is open to all New Yorkers who have completed the census. Rules and additional information can be accessed at nyc.gov/censuscontest.

Another contest is the hyperlocal Census Subway Series which will pit two neighborhoods in different boroughs against each other to see which one has the biggest increase in Census 2020 completions.

"This wouldn’t be New York City without a subway series and we are neighborhood proud in this city. So we are pitting Jamaica, Queens in the county of Queens against Canarsie, Brooklyn in the county of Kings," Daniel said. "Let’s see who gets to keep their crown. We’ll see who does the census the most and has the highest spike in numbers between Jamaica and Canarsie. So let’s get it done everyone. In this coming week, go online to my2020census.gov or pick up the phone and dial 1-844-330-2020 and get the census done."

In the end, officials hope that these contests will prompt more New Yorkers to complete the census.

"Everyone counts and we need all of New York City and get the census done," Daniel said.

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