America is about to go through an important once-in-a-decade process: the U.S. Census. Counting everyone in America is a lot of work, but so much is at stake — especially for Nassau County.
Billions in funding is decided by the Census. Ten years ago, we were undercounted and as a result, Long Island didn’t get our fair share of funding for a decade. Nearly one in four Nassau residents didn’t fill out the 2010 Census when it was first sent to them, according to estimates. Nassau is ranked the fifth most difficult-to-count county in New York State.
We already send more money to Washington, D.C. than we get back, so we cannot afford another undercount. That’s why I brought together more than 30 nonprofit, labor, faith, and community leaders to form a Complete Count Committee with a single goal: ensuring every person in Nassau is counted in next year’s Census.
We are engaging our immigrant and hard-to-count communities early to educate residents about why it’s important to be counted, and to reassure them that it’s totally safe.
The federal government distributes $53 billion to New York State based on Census data. That’s money for roads, bridges, public schools, law enforcement, housing programs — the list goes on. So when you fill out a Census form, what you’re doing is making sure your community gets the services it needs.
Census data are used to determine political representation on the federal and local levels, including each state’s electoral votes. And businesses look at Census data when they decide where to set up shop or relocate. Real dollars and important decisions are based on that data.
Being counted should be easier than ever for many residents next year. By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the Census. Once the invitation arrives, you can respond for your home online, by phone, or by mail.
Don’t throw away that envelope from the U.S. Census Bureau. Ninety-five percent of households get their Census “invitation” in the mail.
Tell your friends, family, and neighbors to make sure they know they should be counted. And if you have children, being counted in the Census is one of the best things you can do to secure a better future for your child and community. So let’s make sure Nassau counts.
Laura Curran is the Nassau County Executive