By Mary Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville
Oct. 7, 2020: As a result of a Federal Court decision in California, the time for conducting the 2020 Census has been extended until October 31, 2020.
As we are only at 77.5% of residents counted, these next few weeks are critical to raise our numbers. Essentially, almost one quarter of Village residents remain uncounted, and that will translate into the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for the next ten years.
We significantly trail our neighbors in Pelham Manor, Scarsdale, and Rye Brook, to name a few communities who are well above 80 percent counted. We need to improve our numbers if we are to receive our fair share going forward.
Census poster on lawn of Village Hall
As background, The Founding Fathers thought the census so important they mandated it in the Constitution in Article 1 Section 2. In the first census taken in 1790, the US population was enumerated to be 3,929,214.
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.
In 2010, New York State 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.
Census numbers affect the distribution of both federal and state legislative representation as well as funding for education, healthcare, law enforcement, and highway improvements. As a result of the last census (2010), $675 billion was allocated for programs in our geographic area, including senior lunch programs, Medicare Part B, highway construction and relocation, and 911 emergency systems – all employing 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 and even affect the distribution amount of vaccines and flu shots.
Despite 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 illustration, in 2012, the Census Bureau released data from the 1940 census and posted online through the National Archives.
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.
At this juncture, there are two quick avenues to get counted before the deadline. You can call 844-330-2020 from 7 am to 2 am daily with a call back option available or complete the process online at 2020census.gov. With only five quite straightforward questions, the average time to complete is just under two minutes.
Long after the 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 program’s 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.
Your response plays a critical part in keeping our community a vibrant and financially healthy place to live.
If you have any questions, contact Stephen Shallo at 914-779-4023 or by email at
Pictured at top: Mary Marvin
Photos 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.