Op-Ed | Bringing healthy competition to the census

Julie Menin, director of NYC Census 2020. (File photo)

By Julie Menin, Director of NYC Census 2020 

It will shape the next 10 years, and we have less than 45 days to get it right.

The 2020 Census has faced an onslaught of challenges, from the attempted addition citizenship question to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the latest move to steal what is rightfully ours by shortening the census count by a month. Right now, just about 56% of New Yorkers have been counted. But we need a complete count to get our fair share of the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding our communities rely on, and the representation we deserve in government.

To help get New York counted, we need to mobilize every New Yorker to take action. So we’re tapping into one of NYC’s inexhaustible resources: neighborhood pride. Because the census is a competition, it’s also our chance to prove once and for all what NYC neighborhood reigns supreme.

Our new “Census Subway Series” contest will pit borough against borough, neighborhood against neighborhood, to see who will raise their response rate the highest and emerge as the census champion. And to kick it off, we’ll see a showdown between Jamaica, Queens (current self-response rate: 49.4%) and Canarsie, Brooklyn (current self-response rate: 47.9%). You might think you know which borough has the best pizza, best bagels, best rappers, or even the best people—but now, we’ll settle the score once and for all and see who has the best census response rate (and it’s all good — no matter what borough you’re from — you’re a New Yorker, which, c’mon, fuhgeddabout being from anywhere else).

It’s not just for bragging rights, either; if New Yorkers fill out the census to help their neighborhood, they can sign up to win some exciting prizes. All New Yorkers who fill out the census starting today who submit proof of completing the census are eligible to enter to win:

  • One of six $1,000 gift cards for Seamless
  • One of 100 $50 Lyft credit vouchers and a free annual Citi Bike membership
  • One of 25 annual memberships to both MoMA and MoMA PS1, a $200 value

To enter the contest, all you need is a screenshot or photo of the confirmation page showing you completed the census. The “NYC Counts” contest ends on September 21.

These are great prizes for the whole family and a great incentive for us to each do our part to support our city and our communities for years to come. Remember, the 2020 Census will be a critical component of New York City’s recovery after COVID-19. That means we must do everything we can to achieve a complete and accurate count, and fight Donald Trump’s attempts to steal the census.

Ready to get started? Do not wait. Fill out the census online or by phone today at my2020census.gov or calling 844-330-2020, urge your families and neighbors to be counted, and enter to win at nyc.gov/censuscontest.

Making Sense of the Census” is a weekly column from Julie Menin, Director of NYC Census 2020.  Every week we will be publishing pieces from Julie and guest authors laying out the facts and answering tough questions about this year’s census. Fill out the census now at my2020census.gov or by calling 844-330-2020. 

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