The Census will ultimately decide, based on how many people are counted, how we get represented in government and how we are distributed funding. New district lines may be drawn, and we may gain or lose representation.
In Brooklyn alone, there is $800 billion at stake. That’s right, $800 billion will either be distributed to us or be re-allocated elsewhere.
New York used to have the most representation, but because fewer people have participated in the census in the last few cycles, we have lost quite a bit of our elected officials. Now Florida is receiving the seats and dollars that New York used to command.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Common misconceptions about the Census must be broken through.
1. You don’t have to be an official New York State resident or citizen to fill it out. Whether you’re undocumented or living here for a semester abroad, you need to count yourself as a person who is living in our community.
2. There are no possible negative repercussions to filling it out. Census takers will spend five years in jail and owe a hefty fine for sharing any of the information they collect, a stipulation they carry for the rest of their lives, not just until the Census is done..
3. This year you will be able to fill out the Census on your smartphone, so you can nip it in the bud and get it done early.
Additionally, the Census is currently hiring folks at $25 an hour for census operations. You can work full time, part time, or on a temporary basis. They are looking for folks with community connections, language skills, and a willingness to work hard.
This is one of the most important moments that will impact our communities forever, and it’s also a great historical document to maintain for the future. Take part!