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Census 2010 Participation Rate in Queens and Problems

by kace

  • Posted on May 19, 2010

  • News


The Queens Tribune, a
local weekly newspaper, published an article about the current situation of the
Census 2010 in the May 10th print. It reported that the local census
participation rate went up 3% compared to the participation rate from ten years
ago, but still fell short of the national participation rate.

            Queens Census Numbers up 3

As of May
4, the Census return rate for Queens is 59 percent, 3 percent higher than in
Lavorgna (Spokesman for Mayor Michael Bloomberg) said,
“The key is partnering with
community organizations who were willing to help us”. Dan Andrews (Spokesman
for Queens Borough President Helen Marshall) said “We are relying now on more
than 40 percent of individuals living in Queens to generate more than 2.8
billion federal dollars”. Peter Koo (Councilman of NYC District 20) said that
many undocumented immigrants are afraid to participate because of their illegal
status, and it is important to solve this problem by emphasizing that it is
illegal to use Census information for law enforcement purposes. Dan Halloran
(Councilman of NYC District 19) said that he hopes Queens will break the 60
percent mark.

The Korean
American Voter Council, which had assumed the executive role of Korean American
Census Task Force (KACTF) analyzed the problems of the Census 2010 as the

were able to find a few faults in the multilingual system of the Census.

1)      1) Problems
with the English form: Even though many ethnic groups coexist in the United
States, everything was written in English and there was no guide for
non-English speakers. In the Census 2000, participants were able to request
forms in their preferred languages by returning the postcards that were
enclosed along with the English form. However, in the Census 2010, participants
were only able to request forms in their preferred language by phone, and even
then many of those forms were thrown out because they weren’t sent along with
the original form.

2)      2) Problems
with the website: The information on the website was all written in English so
immigrants that are not fluent in English were not able to find the information
they needed online.

3)      3) Problems
with the Korean language support center: There were many cases in which the
employees of the Korean language support center could not speak Korean.

4)      4) Problems
with home visits: There were a lot of problems with communication because all
the forms and guide material were written in English. Also, the memos that the
census takers left at houses where the residents were absent were also in
English, causing the residents to throw out the note upon return to the house
without understanding the memo. 

Because of the aforementioned problems, there was a
lot of difficulty for non-English speakers to participate in the Census. Thus,
there was no doubt as to the reason why the census participation rate was so
low in Queens, especially in areas where non-English speaking immigrants are
concentrated in. Especially in the case of undocumented immigrants, many are
not fluent in English and are not aware of the fact that the information that
they provide in the Census would not be used in any other way, and therefore
there was no mystery as to why their participation rate was particularly low. In the coming Census 2020,
these problems should be rectified and the new census should be carried out in
a more effective way.