• Census Student Voices

Why Brooklyn Needs to Fill Out the 2020 Census

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

By CUNY Census Student Eunice Ojedele

The Reminders Are Everywhere As a resident of Flatbush, Brooklyn, I see daily reminders of why it’s imperative that our communities fill out the census. During the 2010 census, only about 61% of Flatbush residents responded, which means that nearly four-in-ten people failed to fill out the decennial count of US residents, and our neighborhood missed out on a huge chunk of appropriate funding. Filling out the census helps determine the amount of funding that the state government and local communities receive from the federal government for an entire decade. This funding goes into infrastructure: housing, schools, hospitals, emergency services, roads, bridges, and more. 

When I look around Flatbush, I wonder if the additional funding to bolster essential services might also lead to a better looking and maintained version of my beloved but unkempt community. Our schools and train stations are dilapidated. This is in part because too many fail to fill the census and our schools and transportation hubs are denied the federal dollars we need for upkeep. Census data also helps determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S House of Representatives, and in fact is used to redraw federal, state and local boundaries for election districts. 

Many of the people in my diverse community may wonder if it’s safe to fill out the census, wondering if completing the census means that the government might use it as a tool to crack down on those who are undocumented. Thankfully, there isn’t a citizenship question included, and every piece of information provided is confidential. U.S Title 13 Code preserves the security of all your census records. If anyone violated that legislation, it is a criminal act with serious penalties including fines of up to $250,000 and/or 5 years in the federal penitentiary. The census consists of 10 questions that take 10 minutes, and will have an impact on our lives for 10 years. For us, there is nothing to lose by completing the census and everything to gain. Flatbush, BK and other NYC communities are counting on you to get counted. Take this bold action today for a better tomorrow for all of us.

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