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Making sure everyone counts on the 2020 Census

Posted at 11:36 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 23:36:01-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Every New Yorker counts. That's the message city politicians and Census officials spread at a meeting Thursday night on the West Side. It's an effort to inform city residents, particularly those in immigrant and refugee communities, about the 2020 Census that is a month away.

"There's no doubt in my mind that if we count everyone our numbers will go up, we've seen an influx in refugees and immigrants," Councilman David A. Rivera (Niagara District) said.

If Buffalo's population does increase on the census, as Rivera and other city officials predict, it would be the Queen City's first growth on the Census since 1950. There are concerns, however, including counting the number of people in immigrant and refugee communities. Census officials said the city's West Side was underrepresented in the 2010 census.

The more population an area reports, the more money cities get from the federal government for a variety of programs. This year is the first time the Census is available online.

"But that's bad news for the city of Buffalo because we don't have great internet reliability, either people don't have internet or they can't afford to keep it on," said Assemblyman Sean Ryan (D-Buffalo).

Paper forms will still be mailed out, but there are language barriers. Census officials said that's where neighbors have to step in and help one another. People can also take the Census at the library.

The below map from the Partnership for the Public Good shows that most of the Buffalo area is shaded. Shaded areas were in the bottom 20% nationwide for Census response rates.

Census officials stressed there is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census.