Helping New Yorkers Get Counted

Operational unit: CUNY Mapping Service

The New York Community Trust has launched an interactive map showing the extensive breadth and reach of more than $600,000 in grants made in 2010 to community organizations and other groups that worked to increase participation in the 2010 decennial Census.

The map was developed by the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center.  It leverages the quick performance and reliability of Google Maps, coupled with a service from Google called Fusion Tables that makes it easy to store, edit, and map the grantee areas and related information.

The map is accessible at the Trust's website or directly at this link [NB: map is currently offline]. It displays the areas covered by two dozen organizations as part of their outreach efforts around the 2010 Census.  Virtually all of Manhattan and large areas in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens are highlighted on the map.  Visitors to the map can zoom in to each grantee's area of focus, search by street address, or simply click on each area on the map to see detailed information about each group's Census activities including a photo and link to more information where available.  The map also lists information for a dozen organizations that conducted Census outreach on a citywide basis.

The visual power of the map also conveys where outreach efforts overlapped, especially in areas of the city considered hardest to count in the months leading up to the April 1, 2010 Census Day.

In order to help ensure that New York City was represented fairly in the 2010 Census, the Trust partnered with the New York Foundation and a group of colleagues (part of the 2010 Census Funders NYC Initiative) to provide $604,500 in funding support to 37 community groups.  These organizations held neighborhood events, posted flyers, trained staff, advertised in local papers, and carried out other outreach activities. They contacted 365,000 people in 53 neighborhoods. Compared with the outreach 10 years ago leading up to the 2000 Census, there was a 3% increase in participation rate in the City overall for the 2010 Census, and a 5% average participation increase in targeted neighborhoods.

New York City has challenged the official citywide population count based on the 2010 Census, primarily due to the city’s belief that an excessive number of occupied housing units were counted as vacant in two areas of the city (southwest Brooklyn and northeast Queens).  Nonetheless, the Census Bureau reported that New York’s population increased by 167,000 people from 2000 to 2010, in contrast to a population decline in many other major cities across the country.

"The work of community outreach organizations to urge local residents to return their census questionnaire, especially in neighborhoods that traditionally had been undercounted, undoubtedly helped ensure that the city's population tally reflected an increase, even though the increase wasn’t as large as expected," emphasized Patricia Swann, Senior Program Officer for the Trust's Community Development & the Environment program. "We're proud of the hard work by these groups, and the interactive map that the CUNY Mapping Service developed is the perfect way to illustrate their work and make it accessible to anyone at the click of a mouse."

To highlight the important efforts of local groups, the NY Foundation commissioned a video from the People's Production House:

The Count: Boogeying Towards the Census from People's Production House on Vimeo.

Download the Census2010 NYC Funders Initiative brochure