Message from Joe Salvo, Chief Demographer, Population Division, NYC Department of City Planning

“We are now in the final stages of the 2020 Census.  As I write this, we are waiting for a ruling from a federal judge in California regarding the extension of the 2020 Census.  It will either end on September 30th or, if the extension is granted, October 31st.  Regardless, it is important to know how the neighborhoods of New York City are doing, now that the Census Bureau is in the final stages of the 2020 enumeration.

According to our analysis of Census Bureau data, 95 percent of all New York City housing units have been “enumerated”– “completed,” “resolved,” “accounted for” as of September 22nd.  As the attached document explains, we have no way to evaluate the quality of the enumeration — including the count —  at this point; we are simply analyzing data from the Census Bureau on the progress of the count. Nevertheless, this is an important metric because if the Census Bureau says that 100% of neighborhood X has been enumerated, field operations and resources are reallocated to neighborhoods where the enumeration is incomplete.
It is important to put the 95 percent enumeration rate in context. The number may seem high, but the remaining 5 percent of housing units are the hardest to enumerate and can make the difference between a fair and accurate enumeration and one that is subject to a large differential undercount.  The 1990 decennial census, which is widely believed to be a bad enumeration, undercounted the city by 3.2 percent or 244,000 persons and had a much bigger impact on some groups more than others, by the Census Bureau’s own accounting. This undercount shortchanged the city in terms of resources and representation. The Census Bureau now says 5 percent of New York City’s housing units are yet to be enumerated, and they have just under a week to do so, based on the current schedule.
We hope that this document helps you help New York to get a fair count!  Thank you for all of your efforts!”
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