New York City

Dear friends,

The Bureau of the Census has come out with some initial statistics.

The mail back response rate for the country is 42%, 34% for NYC, 43% for Staten Island, 37% for Manhattan, 34% for the Bronx, 32% for Queens and 30% for Brooklyn. Communities of color and new immigrant communities are disproportionately undercounted. We have a lot of work ahead of us!

I am attaching a recent story from Nitzburg of the Queens Courier.

Onward the march,


Queens Political Future At Stake
In This Year's Census

For the next few months, beginning this week, this
nation will conduct its census. The Constitution
specifies that a census is to be conducted every ten
years, and upon the results of that census rests the
division of seats in the House of Representatives.
There is, however, much more at stake in Queens. Ten
years ago, about one in six Queens residents, mostly
immigrants fearful of government attention, were not
counted. That meant that Queens schools and hospitals
got far less funding than they deserved. It also meant
that Queens was deprived of one State Senate seat, two
Assembly seats, and two City Council seats. It also
meant that legislative districting in all Queens
legislative seats favored non-immigrants.

The beneficiaries of the low-count 1990 census were
officeholders like Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette and
State Senator Stavisky, who represent heavily-Latino
, and Councilwoman Julia Harrison, who now
represents a heavily-Asian district. In all three
districts, a more accurate count would have almost
certainly resulted in the election of Latino or Asian

The low count of the 1990 census was repeated
everywhere else in the nation. Perhaps as many as ten
Americans (mostly minority) were not counted,
and perhaps as many as six million Americans (mostly
white) were counted twice because of inaccuracies in
the counting methods. In 1990, New York State got one
additional Congressman because Ohio's count was
unexpectedly low. This year, Ohio has appropriated
more than $20 million to try to win back that
Congressional representative from New York. (New York
is expected to lose four House members anyway; the loss
to Ohio would be a fifth Congressional representative
lost.) Other states are battling for their share in
census-provided goodies. Within the past few weeks,
the Supreme Court stopped an attempt by New York and
other high-minority population states to rely on
sampling rather than a one-to-one count. This nation's
apportionment will rely on an individual nose count,
not on the science of statistics.

This places the responsibility on the nose to nose.
Answer the census questionnaire and make sure your
friends and neighbors do the same.

--Submitted by P. Ruiz, NYSABE


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