Have you filled out your 2020 census form? According to records, just 48 percent of Rochester residents and 64 percent of Monroe County residents have responded to the survey. The Democrat and Chronicle reports that Rochester has the nation’s fourth worst response rate of any medium or large-sized city. Why does it matter? Community leaders are urging households to complete the form because the data collected determines congressional representation, the allocation of federal dollars, decisions related to local development projects, and more.

This hour, our guests discuss how the digital divide and the pandemic have affected census response rates, and the short and long-term impacts of not having accurate information. Our guests:

  • Jeff Behler, New York regional director for the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Ana Liss, director of the Monroe County Department of Planning and Development, and executive director of the Monroe County IDA and IDC
  • Miguel Meléndez, chief community engagement officer for Ibero-American Action League
  • Simeon Banister, member of the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group, and vice president of community programs at the Rochester Area Community Foundation

Provided / U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. census plays a heavy role in determining how much federal money comes into different communities. 

In order to get the most accurate numbers possible, nonprofits that are part of the Rochester-Monroe Complete Count Committee are pumping efforts to get more people to fill it out. 

Causewave’s Rashad Smith said only 47 percent of city of Rochester residents have completed the census so far. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is announcing that an additional $10 million will be in his new state budget to help with the 2020 national census and to make sure that as many New Yorkers as possible are counted. 

And he’s announced three celebrity chairs of his census commission: Martin Luther King III, "Hamilton" creator and star Lin Manuel Miranda and actor Lucy Liu.  

Cuomo said the additional money will be used to target traditionally hard-to-count populations, including immigrants.

US Census Bureau/Facebook

New York state continues to lose population in new census numbers along with several other states.

The past year’s population growth rate in the United States was the slowest in a century due to declining births, increasing deaths and the slowdown of international migration. That’s according to figures released earlier this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

James Brown WXXI

Every 10 years, the census counts everyone who lives in the United States and that information is used to help distribute federal aid.

That's why local leaders involved with the Rochester-Monroe Complete Count Committee are discussing ways to get the word out.

Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello, (D) the bipartisan committee's co-chair along with Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, said the census should not be a political issue.



The state commission set up to make sure all New Yorkers are counted in the 2020 Census has been plagued with delays, vacant positions and a budget half of what was requested by state legislators. And now some commissioners are worried the task force won’t be able to allocate money until June.