Attorney General James: Every Person Counts; Therefore, Every Person Must Be Counted

NEW YORK — New York Attorney General Letitia James today encouraged all New Yorkers to complete the decennial census questionnaire to ensure an accurate count of the state population.

“The census is a fundamental tool of our democracy,” said Attorney General James. “As of today, every New York household has received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. An accurate count not only ensures that New York gets the representation we deserve and our fair share of federal funding, but it is critical to opening doors of opportunity for communities most in need. Everything from public schools to health care to roads and transportation depend on an accurate count. And with the coronavirus raging, many people may not be focused on the census. But, in this time of unprecedented health and economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever that everyone be counted. It has never been easier to respond online, over the phone, or by mail — all at a safe social distance. For those of you who have already filled out your questionnaire, we thank you. For everyone else, remember: New York counts; therefore, every New Yorker must be counted.” 

While the census counts people at their permanent residence, those without a permanent residence are counted in the place where they reside on April 1, which is why the date is known as “Census Day.” The 2020 Census count is actively underway. However, given the ongoing response to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. Census Bureau has adjusted its original timeline for this year’s count.

It is also important to underscore that thanks, in large part, to a successful effort led by Attorney General James and the American Civil Liberties Union to challenge the Trump administration’s previous attempts to manipulate the census, there will be no citizenship question on this year’s survey. Furthermore, census information is confidential and protected under Title 13 of the United States Code. Individual census responses cannot be shared with anyone, including law enforcement, immigration authorities, tax agencies, or the White House.