QUEENS, NY — Just over half of Queens households have responded to the 2020 U.S. Census, and now local officials are kicking off a weeklong competition between the boroughs to increase that rate.
About 54 percent of Queens households had filled out the 2020 Census as of Sunday, compared to more than 58 percent of households across New York State and nearly 63 percent nationally, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
That percentage is much lower in certain parts of the borough, with some parts of Long Island City reporting self-response rates below 15 percent.
Other neighborhoods where fewer than half of households have self-responded to the 2020 Census include East Elmhurst, Corona, College Point, Flushing, Kew Gardens Hills, Bellerose and much of southern Queens.
A low response rate is bad news for Queens: The census, which happens every 10 years, determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and how to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding for schools, roads and bridges, public transportation, hospitals and other critical services.
The city's health department and emergency management officials also rely on census data to prepare for and respond to emergencies, like pandemics.
City Council Members Adrienne Adams and Karen Koslowitz, Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee and Assembly Member David Weprin held a rally in Richmond Hill on Monday to mark the start of the U.S. Census Bureau's Census PUSH Week, which runs until Aug. 2.
The five boroughs will go head-to-head this week to increase their response rates by the highest percentage, while New York City competes with other major cities in the tri-state area.
Winners of the Census PUSH Week competition will be announced Aug. 4.
"It is important for every man, woman and child who lives in New York City to be counted in the 2020 Census, as it will determine our allocation of federal funding for the next ten years,” Adams said. “Regardless of immigration status, income or if your family just moved here, we need every household to participate in the census."
Residents have until Oct. 31 to respond to the census.
Monday, July 27 is the start of the NYC Census Week of Action! NYC is mobilizing for a complete #2020Census count. Your city needs your help! Volunteer or take action this week and help ensure that all New Yorkers are counted! Sign up now: https://t.co/2TnNlnM2J4 #GetCountedNYC pic.twitter.com/wnHmzmIco7
— Queens Public Library (@QPLNYC) July 27, 2020