Census Justice is a Racial Justice Issue
The Impact of the Census on Communities of African Descent
Each year, the federal government uses census count data to determine how to spend nearly $800 billion dollars for services that communities rely on.
Your community's census count data determines how much you will receive for services like SNAP/WIC, healthy food programs, nurses, doctors, health benefits, affordable and emergency housing, teachers, bus and train lines, transportation infrastructure, senior services, infants and youth services, climate, emergency care, and more. It also determines how many elected officials will be assigned to your district.
Communities that are under counted do not get their fair share of these resources. Historically, communities of African descent are under counted. This has a devastating impact on our community's ability to meet its needs. Increasing the 2020 Census response rate in New York City’s “Hard to Count” communities of African descent will play a significant role in securing the proper level of services and political representation for the next ten years.
The CLSJ Census Justice Project is working to ensure a full count of NYC communities of African descent.
Census Under-Counts Leave Black Communities Under-Resourced & Under-Represented
New York City, which has the highest population of people of Pan African descent in the US, had one of the lowest response rates during the 2010 Census.
Central Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and parts of Manhattan and Staten Island are home to large percentages of “Hard-to-Count” populations such as African Americans, Caribbean American and Caribbean immigrants, African immigrants and low income residents.
Increasing the 2020 Census response rate in New York City’s “Hard to Count” communities of African descent will play a significant role in securing the proper level of services and political representation for the next ten years.
Brooklyn Community District 5 (primarily East New York and the Starret City area) is home to 182,896 people.
While the census response rate for Starret City, a stable working and middle class housing complex, was 66.2%, the response rate for East New York was extremely low between 40% and 45.9%.
This means this community only receives 40% - 45.9% of its fair share of government funded resources.
Currently, 80% of the population resides in “Hard to Count” Census tracks.
Approximately 52.5% of the residents of Community District 5 are Black, 37.1% of Hispanic origin, and 36% are immigrants.
We must ensure communities of African descent are ready for the 2020 Census.
How do race and racism impact the Census?
#CheckBlackOnCensus2020 | #CheckBlack
In America, race plays a huge role in the protection of minority groups. Racial categories can trigger voting rights protections, anti-discrimination laws, funding for social services and much more.
However, race, ethnicity and nationality are not the same thing.
For example, one can have national roots in countries like Nigeria, Jamaica, Trinidad, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ghana or Senegal; be part of a specific ethnic community within that or another country; and also be considered part of the “Black” race.
In America, "Black" is a protected racial category. "Nigerian," "Jamaican," "Trinidadian," "Dominican," however, are not.
For the first time, on the 2020 Census, persons of African descent—regardless of nationality or ethnicity—will be able to indicate both their ethnicity/nationality and their race! So when you fill out the Census and indicate your nationalities, be sure to also #CheckBlack for the race category. This ensures your community gets its fair share of Census based resources and protections.