The U.S. Department of Commerce announced via Twitter on Monday, Sept. 28, that the 2020 U.S. Census will end on Oct. 5 despite a federal judge’s ruling that the deadline was extended to Oct. 31.
“The Secretary of Commerce has announced a target date of October 5, 2020 to conclude 2020 Census self-response and field data collection operations,” the tweet said.
Just days earlier, a federal judge ruled that the 2020 U.S. Census can keep going through Oct. 31 giving everyone an extra month to be counted.
District Judge Lucy H. Koh in California issued her ruling after a hearing last Tuesday in National Urban League v. Wilbur L. Ross Jr. The lawsuit filed by civil rights groups on Aug. 18 aimed to block the Trump administration’s attempt to rush census operations to a close by Sept. 30 and send population numbers for apportionment to the president by Dec. 31.
The plaintiffs sought to stop the administration’s plan to force the Census Bureau to shorten the 2020 count against the judgment of the bureau’s own expert staff and in the middle of a pandemic.
“The court’s decision affirms our contention that changes to the census schedule will irreparably harm the integrity of the 2020 Census and result in a devastating undercount of vulnerable communities,” said National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial.
However, the Trump administration appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals followed by the tweet from the Census Bureau on Monday about the Oct. 5 deadline. Leaders say the move is illegal.
“The Census Bureau cannot completely overlook or overturn the court’s ruling, which is clearly Oct. 31,” said NYC Census 2020 Director Julie Menin. “Right now we’re waiting for the Ninth Circuit to rule on this. It’s completely up in the air and that’s what the Trump administration has wanted from the beginning. They want to cause fear and misinformation, confusion around the Census.”
New York City currently has a response self-response rate of 60.7%. Brooklyn remains the borough with the lowest self-response rate at 57.8% and Staten Island has the highest at 65.7%.
The city has a greater response rate than other large cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Atlanta.
NYC Census 2020’s multi-borough “Countdown to our Future” campaign has been engaged in approximately 100 events and activities in partnership with elected officials and community organizations to promote the census and provide census form assistance in several languages.
Outreach includes a new “Count the Heroes” campaign, which aims to boost response rates among healthcare workers. “Count the Heroes” includes a special focus on NYC Health + Hospitals with events at Harlem Hospital, Metropolitan Hospital and Kings County Hospital.
As the deadline for the U.S. Census remains unclear, Menin said that New Yorkers must still fill out the Census and be counted.
“The best thing to do is fill it out right now,” she explained. “Don’t wait even a minute. Fill it out immediately. We’ve had events all last week coming into this week all over the city. This is an unprecedented situation but the good news is there’s one easy way around the confusion that the Trump administration has intentionally made which is just fill the Census out.”