2010-04-21 / Features

Census Participation Remains Low Despite Ad Campaign

Thanks to the catchy tunes in their commercials, the slogan of the Census Bureau of the federal Department of Commerce, “We can’t move forward until you mail it back,” is ringing in the ears of anyone who has turned on the television in the past few months. But despite the Bureau’s persistence, the Queens participation rate is currently only at 53 percent, according to http://2010.census.gov.

One of the most important responsibilities of the census is to provide an estimate of the national, state, county and city populations. According to previous census counts, the Queens population is at around 2,255,122, with a margin of error at 3,191. This is a slow but steady increase since the 2000 census, which totaled the population at about 2,229,379, and a considerable spike since the 152,999 tally of 1900.

The population is following a generally increasing trend. In 1910 the population nearly doubled, to 284,041. It increased to 469,042 in 1920, then more than doubled to 1,079,129 in 1930. It continued to increase until 1980, when it fell from 1,986,473 to 1,891,325. It then resumed its climb to the 2,229,379 of 2000, and slowed down considerably to bring the borough to the population figures of today.

These numbers are estimates, however, based on the number of census forms returned and withheld. The only way to provide an accurate population count is to receive 100 percent participation from all residents nationwide.

“A low response rate could have very serious consequences for our city,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a recent news conference in City Hall. “For each person who is not counted in the census, the city loses about $3,000 in federal aid every year, money that could be spent on services our communities all want and need.” ––Cristina Guarino

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