Getting Counted: The Importance of the Census to State and Local Communities

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 2:00pm
The Little Theater at LaGuardia Community College. 31-10 Thomson Avenue Long Island City, NY 11101
Getting Counted: The Importance of the Census to State and Local Communities



The hearing will explore how data is used by state and local communities and the efforts of governments, non-profits, and businesses to make sure everyone is counted.


  • The Census is a bedrock component of our democracy.  Required by the Constitution, it provides data essential to the functioning of our local, state, and federal governments, as well as to the well-being of every single person in the United States.
  • Census data is used to apportion funds for crucial federal programs like Medicaid, Medicare Part B, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Head Start, and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  In Fiscal Year 2015, Census data was used to apportion $674 billion dollars for 132 federal programs.  In New York, for example, the state received more than $547 million in federal funding for Head Start and more than $657 million for infrastructure development in Fiscal Year 2016.
  • Census data will also be essential to upcoming redistricting efforts and determine how much representation each state gets in the U.S. Congress.  New York may lose 1-2 House seats and electoral college votes depending on the 2020 Census count.
  • It is critical that everyone be counted to ensure their communities receive a fair share of resources, but many communities are in danger of being undercounted in the 2020 Census.
  • According to the Census Bureau, populations with a high risk of being undercounted include young children, people of color, low-income households, foreign-born residents, and households with limited Internet access.
  • During the 2020 Census, which will feature an online response option for the first time, there is a heightened risk of an undercount due to the digital divide, language access issues, and local community mistrust in the federal government.
  • Local and state governments, as well as community-based organizations, can play a critical role in counteracting the undercount risks, reaching hard-to-count populations, and ensuring their communities get counted in 2020.
  • Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, a member of the subcommittee and co-chair of the House Census Caucus, has fought the Trump Administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.


Panel One

Gail Mellow
LaGuardia Community College

Julie Menin
Census Director
City of New York

Joseph Salvo
Chief Demographer, Population Division
NYC Department of City Planning

Melva Miller
Executive Vice President
Association for a Better New York

Steven Choi
Executive Director
New York Immigration Coalition

Panel Two

Marc Morial
President and CEO
National Urban League

Greta Byrum
New School Digital Equity Laboratory

Elizabeth OuYang
Civil Rights Attorney, Educator, and Community Advocate

Jorge Luis Vasquez, Jr.
Associate Counsel
LatinoJustice PRLDF

Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq.
General Counsel
Center for Law & Social Justice

Kazi Fouzia
Desis Rising Up and Moving

116th Congress