Institute Joins Hundreds of Advocacy Organizations for “Everyone Counts” Campaign on Census Action Day
Focus is on Hard-to-Survey Communities of Color
NEWARK – Today, marking Census Action Day, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and partner organizations are mobilizing people across New Jersey to get counted in the 2020 Census. The Institute, which is focusing its Census outreach on Hard-to-Survey Black communities, is a Census Counts campaign partner organization.
The Institute, the State of New Jersey, and other #Census2020NJ partner organizations are working to ensure that communities the Census has historically missed have the information and resources they need to get counted so they don’t miss out on critical federal funding and political power which are determined by the Census count.
“We understand that many people are unsettled as we face an unprecedented health crisis. Fortunately, completing the Census online or by mail is something people can do safely from their homes – and thereby avoid visits from Census counters,” said Patricia D. Williamson, NJ Counts Project Director at the Institute. “As the current public health crisis will drain resources from communities – including Hard-to-Survey ones already lacking in adequate funding – it’s more important than ever that people are counted, and that their communities get the investments to which they are entitled and will need now more than ever.”
Almost a quarter of New Jersey’s population lives in Hard-to-Survey areas, designated because fewer than 73 percent of their residents returned their 2010 Census forms. Populations including people of color, low-income individuals, young children, immigrants, and transient people are most likely to go uncounted.
“New Jersey has one of the worst racial wealth gaps in the country, and that gap will only increase if basic programs in vulnerable communities are not funded adequately,” added Williamson. “Everyone – all adults, children, and immigrants – must be counted.”
New Jersey has Hard-to-Survey areas in 18 out of its 21 counties. Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey’s two largest cities, rank first and second in the nation, respectively, for their percentages of African Americans living in Hard-to-Survey tracts (Newark – 96.1 percent, Jersey City – 92.9 percent) , and rank third and second in the nation for their percentages of Hispanics living in Hard-to-Survey tracts (Newark – 93.1 percent, Jersey City – 93.3 percent). These same communities often have the highest poverty rates and are most in need of essential services.
New Jersey receives more than $17.5 million annually from the federal government. School breakfast and lunches, pre-school, after-school/child care, and public health programs including WIC (Women, Infants & Children), immunizations, and Maternal & Child Health are funded through Census data. So is construction for safer bridges and roads.
After robust advocacy from the Institute and others, New Jersey dedicated $9 million to 2020 Census outreach.
People can take the Census online at my2020census.gov or by phone at 1-844-330-2020.