NYC Records & Information Services

City Hall Library Notes - SEPTEMBER 2020


Spotlight on: Census Update

The deadline to respond to the 2020 census is September 30. New York City’s response rate as of August 6 is 9.1 points behind the 2010 response. This is as of August 6 when census began door-knocking. New York State’s is 5.7 points behind 2010. Please click here for further state, local and census tract reports.

Image of Haven Emerson's letter to the Mayor’s Office

The Municipal Library contains some historical materials on the census in its vertical files. Haven Emerson, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health in 1915, wrote to the Mayor’s Office. Dr. Emerson’s letter can be seen above. He explained the discrepancies between New York State and New York City Police censuses taken in 1915 after the federal census of 1910. Emerson believed that the growth of population increased until 1914: when with the onset of World War, I, immigration slowed. Another concern was under-counting of the population. Only “permanent residents” were included. This left out prison inmates, hospital patients, military personnel, hotel residents and staff among others. He points out that a true picture of the population would be achieved by combining the State census results with the number of what might be called “transient’ population. The revised statistics, presented to the Federal government, would give a more accurate picture of the New York City demographics. This would enable the Federal census-takers to prepare better for the 1920 census. It is important to be counted!

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Municipal Library Notes

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