State Health Department Teams up With Health Care Networks and Providers on Census Outreach Campaign

Distribution of Promotional Materials Will Help Ensure Traditionally Overlooked Individuals Are Counted in the 2010 Census

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 15, 2010) - As part of a comprehensive, statewide effort to ensure all New Yorkers are counted in the 2010 Census, including many populations that are traditionally hard to reach, State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. announced today that the New York State Department of Health (DOH) is teaming up with community health care and social service providers to distribute Census materials and encourage their clients to complete Census questionnaires.

DOH is distributing more than 1.2 million brochures, flyers, palm cards, and posters to organizations across the State, including Women, Infant and Children (WIC) sites, food pantries, HIV care networks, and community-based Medicaid facilitated enrollment centers. English and Spanish versions of these materials will be available.

"It is critically important for the future of New York that we assure a complete and accurate count of New York's population in the 2010 Census," Governor David A. Paterson said. "Federal estimates suggest that more than 202,000 New Yorkers were not counted in the 2000 census – we can and we must do better. That is why I have instructed my administration to do everything possible to ensure a comprehensive count. This campaign is a real partnership between government, community, business and religious organizations. All New Yorkers must be counted."

"The national Census is intended to reflect the population distribution across our State and nation, and is used to determine the amount of federal aid for important projects like hospitals, senior centers, child care facilities, and schools," said Commissioner Daines. "By working with community service providers and health care networks, we can reach people who may otherwise be overlooked. When everyone is counted, we all benefit."

Conducted every 10 years, the U.S. Census is the basis for Congressional and State Legislature redistricting and the distribution of more than $400 billion in federal funding annually. Census questionnaires are being distributed to households (housing units, not individuals) throughout the country, and can be returned by mail once the 10-question form is completed. Census takers will follow up in the late spring/early summer, going door-to-door to locate households that have not returned the Census forms and encourage people to participate.

Although the Census Bureau strives to get an accurate count of all U.S. residents, it is estimated that more than 200,000 New Yorkers were not counted in the 2000 Census.

Last year, Governor Paterson issued Executive Order No. 30, which established the New York 2010 Census Complete Count Committee and charged it with raising awareness of the 2010 Census and maximizing the response of New Yorkers. The Executive Order also directed a New York State Census Action Council to oversee and coordinate the Committee's work. The Census Action Council is comprised the Secretary of State, the Governor's Counsel and Deputy Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs and some State agency commissioners, including Commissioner Daines.

To comply with the Governor's Executive Order, the Committee asked each State agency, including DOH, to develop a 2010 Census promotional plan to raise awareness of the importance of the Census and encourage New York residents to complete the Census questionnaire.

DOH's outreach and promotion effort is targeted to New Yorkers in groups that are traditionally undercounted, including homeless individuals, unemployed and low-wage workers, non-citizens and non-English speakers. DOH will be distributing Census materials to the following organizations that routinely interact with these groups: 11 HIV Care Networks, 41 food pantry contractors, 203 WIC sites, and 47 community-based Medicaid facilitated enrollment agencies.

"Getting an accurate count of the number and distribution of New York residents is critical to formulating effective government policies, including future health care programs, and allocating appropriate resources to our communities," Dr. Daines said. "The Department's outreach efforts will remind people that the Census really does count."

All responses on the Census questionnaire will be kept secure by the U.S. Census Bureau, and any personal information that could potentially identify an individual or family is prohibited from being shared with any government or private agencies for 72 years.

To learn more about the Census and what it means to New York State, please visit http://census2010.ny.gov/