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PR- 113-10
March 16, 2010


Census in Schools Curriculum will help Students Carry Message of the Importance of Census to Parents

More than $25 Billion in Annual Federal Funds Based on Census Data

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and City Census Coordinator Stacey Cumberbatch today detailed the City's efforts to ensure a full and accurate count of all New York City residents in the 2010 Census and encouraged City schools to highlight the "Census in Schools" curriculum over the next two weeks as census forms are arriving in the mail. Last April, Mayor Bloomberg signed an executive order creating, for the first time in City history, a New York City Census Office, which has been working closely with the U.S. Census Bureau and forming local partnerships across the City with community organizations, cultural and educational institutions, faith-based organizations, immigrant advocacy groups and others to spread the word that all New Yorkers have something to gain by filling out the census form and nothing to lose as all information is kept confidential, in accordance with Federal law. In addition, due to the City's census efforts, more than 127,000 addresses previously unknown to the U.S. Census Bureau have been added to the national census mailing list. The Mayor was joined at the announcement at by U.S. Census New York Regional Director Tony Farthing and S.J. Jung, President of Minkwon Center, a Flushing area community organization working with the City to increase participation in the census. Also joining the Mayor were Principal Cindy Diaz-Burgos of J.H.S. 189, the Daniel Carter Beard School, and Principal Joe Luft of Flushing International High School who will be highlighting the "Census in Schools" curriculum in their classrooms over the next two weeks.

"The City's diversity defines and strengthens us in so many ways, but it also presents obstacles to getting an accurate census count," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Our population is harder to count than anywhere else in the nation, due to language barriers, fears about privacy and the vertical nature of the city. We have been working for nearly a year now on breaking down those barriers, primarily focused on dispelling the fears people may have about filling out the census form. We need every household to complete and return the census form to ensure every New Yorker is counted."

"We have 1.1 million students in our schools and it's critical they're all counted so we get every state and federal dollar necessary to give them the best education possible," said Chancellor Klein. "The census is also a great learning opportunity for our students to understand the history, process and importance of this survey and how it can impact their everyday lives."

"An unprecedented effort is underway in neighborhoods across our City to achieve an accurate and complete 2010 Census count," said City Census Coordinator Stacey Cumberbatch. "Every New Yorker should take action over the next few weeks by filling out a census form and mailing it back as soon as possible, and no later than April 15th."

The "Census in Schools" curriculum offers educators an easy way to incorporate information about the census into their lesson plans. It includes age-specific educational materials for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The curriculum is designed to familiarize students with the Census Questionnaire, help students build map literacy by teaching them how to read different kinds of maps and how to create their own maps. Most importantly, the curriculum teaches students that information collected by the census is entirely confidential and that every family should return the census form.

This week, City schools will be sending a letter to go home with every student encouraging their parents to fill out their census form and explaining the importance of ensuring every New Yorker is counted.

More than $25 billion of annual federal funds are distributed to New York City based on the decennial census, including funding for schools, counter-terrorism and security efforts, and social service organizations. Elected representation at the federal, state and local levels is also determined by census data. In the 2000 Census, the response rate in New York City was 55 percent, well below the national average of 67 percent. In many neighborhoods, like Downtown Flushing, Central Brooklyn or South Jamaica, the response rate was below 40 percent.

The City's census efforts have included working with the U.S. Census New York Regional Office to identify properties that were not a part of the national mailing list. The Department of City Planning has identified more than 127,000 apartments or homes - nearly 4 percent of all the housing units in the city with approximately 300,000 residents - that were not a part of the planned census form mailing list. Those homes will now be receiving the census form.

The City's Census Office has been working with community organizations, cultural and educational institutions, faith-based organizations, labor unions, immigrant advocacy groups and others, utilizing each group's existing networks to distribute information about the census. The key component of the City's efforts has been informing the public that under federal law, the personal information collected by the census is entirely confidential, and cannot be shared with any federal, state, or city agency.

The City's Census Office has provided thousands of posters and brochures in several languages for display at City offices and conducted workshops with resident associations at New York City Housing Authority facilities, where response rates have been historically low. Working with NYC & Company, the City's Census Office has also placed 2010 Census bus shelter ads in many hard-to-count neighborhoods throughout the City.   

The census response rate in New York City has traditionally lagged well behind the national average. The low response rate in the City is due to a combination of factors, including the large population of immigrants, who may have privacy concerns, a fear or mistrust of government or face language barriers. To view a map detailing the response rate for each census tract in New York City, visit

New York City has the highest percentage of "hard-to-count" residents of any city in the nation. The Census Bureau's research has identified three main factors that make people "hard to-count":

  • Being economically disadvantaged;
  • Being unattached or mobile, which includes renters and single men and women; and
  • Living in high density areas with ethnic enclaves.

New York City's demographic profile also includes:

  • More than 3 million foreign-born residents, with one-fifth (approximately 600,000 people) of arriving since 2000;
  • The largest Chinese population of any city outside of Asia;
  • More people of Caribbean ancestry than in any city outside of the Caribbean;
  • More than 2.27 million Hispanics, more than any other city in the United States;
  • Nearly 2 million residents of African descent, more than double the amount in any other U.S. city; and
  • Residents speaking more than 200 languages, with almost half of all New Yorkers speaking a language other than English at home.

There will be nearly 1,300 Questionnaire Assistance Centers, operated by the U.S. Census Bureau, open by March 19th at locations around the city to provide assistance in multiple languages.

Since the year 2000, New York City's population has increased by 4.4 percent. The City's population stands at 8,363,710 according the July 2008 Census Bureau estimate.


Loeser/Marc La Vorgna   (212) 788-2958

Matthew Mittenthal   (Dept. of Education)
(212) 374-5141

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