FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO NEW YORK CITY THAT NEW YORKERS COMPLETE CENSUS FORMS AND STEPS THE CITY IS TAKING TO MAKE IT EASIER IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, March 21, 2010
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Last week, like millions of other New Yorkers, I opened my mailbox to find a form for the 2010 Census. The Census is a once-in-a-decade count of every person living in the United States, including both citizens and foreign residents. Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, it's been going on since 1790. From then until today, the Census has been a key part of our representative democracy. The information it collects decides how many men and women will represent our state in Congress and how many electoral votes we have. It also affects our portion of federal aid for public safety, education, health care, transportation, and other areas vital to our city's quality of life. Businesses rely on census data, too - when deciding where to locate and expand, launch products, and create jobs.
"The Census count is incredibly important for the health of our economy, and for maintaining the government services we all rely on. But historically New Yorkers have been drastically undercounted. That's because our residents tend to move around a lot. We come from lots of different places, and speak more than 200 different languages. Our diversity is a strength, but when it comes to the Census, it presents real challenges. In the year 2000, our City's Census response rate was only 55 percent - well below the national average of 67 percent.
"We're determined to do everything we can to bring up our response rate in 2010. Last April, I established a special NYC 2010 Census Office to work with the U.S. Census Bureau's New York office. We've also been getting the word out to community groups, especially organizations serving immigrants. And last week, we encouraged our public schools to teach lessons about the Census, in the hopes that conversations begun in the classroom would be continued over dinner tables across the city.
"Understandably, new immigrants are often wary of filling out Census forms. There are language barriers, and also fears about how the information will be used. Let me assure all New Yorkers: what you write on your Census form will not be shared with any other government agency. By law, the Census Bureau must keep your information completely confidential. The Census form asks 10 basic questions about each person living with you - and it's important to include information about every person on the form. There is nothing to lose by participating in the Census, and you, your family, and community have everything to gain when you do.
"If you have questions about the Census in any language, just call 311 and we will put you in touch with someone who can answer them. There are nearly 1,300 Questionnaire Assistance Centers set up throughout the five boroughs and thousands of people ready and willing to help. Starting tomorrow, March 22, the Census Bureau will post real-time participation rates for the 2010 Census, which can be accessed on the City's website: nyc.gov.
"I encourage all New Yorkers - all 8.4 million and counting - to take a few minutes this week to fill out your Census forms and put them in the mailbox. We can't move forward until you mail it back.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958