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From The Mayor: The Census is Upon Us; Why It's Important PDF Print Email




By Mary Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville

Feb. 12, 2020: The 2020 Census is upon us. The Founding Fathers thought the census so important they mandated it as part of the constitution.

Letters from the Census Bureau will arrive from mid to late March. This first entreaty will arrive in the mail without a paper questionnaire. Instead, households will be directed to a website to complete online.

Paper questionnaires will only be delivered to households that don't receive mail at a physical location, most notably those with PO boxes.

Completed forms are officially/ideally due on April 1, though a reminder postcard will be sent around April 8, followed by a paper questionnaire on April 20.

From May through July, hundreds of thousands of census workers nationwide will comb the streets to collect data from households that failed to respond.

Surprisingly, Westchester County has a reputation for being one of the most difficult communities to count, with a significant loss of federal funding dollars and governmental representation at stake.

The Westchester cohorts chronically under represented include renters, the disabled, senior citizens, and Spanish speaking residents.

As a state, in 2010, New York had a census response rate of 76%, resulting in $73 billion in annual federal education aid as an example. Had the response rate been 95%, $92 billion would have been directed our way primarily for schools with large low income populations, special education programs, and Title III programs which support English language learners.

Most fundamentally, census numbers affect the distribution of both federal and state legislative representation and correspondingly affect programs in education, healthcare, law enforcement, and highway funding nationwide.

As a result of the last census (2010), $675 billion was allocated for programs close to home, including senior lunch programs, highway congestion planning, and relocation, and 911 emergency systems – all requiring census driven demographic maps.

Scientists rely on the data to interpret the distribution of diseases and health hot spots, including cancer zones and obesity data. The census numbers are used to target interventions in at risk communities.

Contrary to the acceleration in technology, it is actually harder to conduct the census due to increasing cultural and linguistic diversity and a greater distrust of government. The recent proliferation of personal data scams has added to the heightened concern about releasing highly personal details.

As an assurance, by law, the Census Bureau cannot share your information with other governmental agencies, including welfare and immigration agencies, police, FBI, Courts, the military, and the Internal Revenue Service. The law also requires census forms to remain private for a 72-year span since most of the people listed would have passed away or were young children when the data was collected. As an example, in 2012, the Census Bureau released data from the 1940 census and posted it online through the National Archives.

To compound the issue, the wording of the census is not as straightforward as one would expect. As an illustration, the very first question asks for how many people are living and staying in your house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2020. Confusion results because a household must only count the number of people physically staying in the home, not family members living elsewhere, including college students, parents cared for at resting homes, those on military duty, or incarcerated. Yet non-immediate family members living under one's roof, including staff, nephews, boyfriends, etc. are to be counted.

By law, the Census Bureau is required to report the new congressional apportionment numbers to the President by December 31, 2020. States, including Texas, Colorado, Florida, and Oregon, are projected to gain seats in the House of Representatives while Illinois, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia are expected to lose Congressional representation.

Long after the December deadlines, the census numbers will truly affect everyday life even beyond what I aforementioned. Businesses will use the numbers to determine where they build stores and locate distribution centers, vaccine amounts to be ordered, highways to be constructed, and even our Social Security programs' future and viability will depend upon census data.

To that end, we at Village Hall are committed to providing you with all the information and resources available to help you to accurately register your information as so much is riding on it for the entire decade going forward.


Photo by A. Warner

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.


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Bronxville Overview

Bronxville Overview

Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.

While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.

Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.

The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.

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