JERSEY CITY – In 2010, Jersey City had one of the largest census undercounts in the entire country. Mayor Steve Fulop said that amounted to a loss of millions of dollars in federal funding for law enforcement, education, and other state programs. This time around, city officials are attempting to make sure everyone living in Jersey City is counted.
“We’re going to have kiosks all over the city, we’re going to have people facilitating it, and we’re going to have councilmembers and myself talking to people about how easy the process is because it will impact us for the next 10 years on funding.”
Jersey City is an extremely diverse place and despite an array of immigration statuses among its population, the census affects everyone.
Starting Thursday night Fulop is kicking off a series of town hall meetings on the issue. The purpose of these meetings is to let those who are undocumented know that the census bureau does not give its data to any other federal agency.
“If people here from the Egyptian community, from the Indian American community from the Filipino community the hope is they trust their neighbors and we need to educate close to 300 thousand people and that’s why we’re starting early,” Fulop said.
Fulop says he does not support the census to include the controversial question about citizenship or any question that would dissuade anyone from filling out the form. The question is being held up due to multiple lawsuits, including in New York City.
The census bureau will be opening an office in Jersey City next summer to help navigate the challenges of collecting data communities. The census bureau will be hiring Jersey City residents.
“To be effective and efficient we need members of the community to work in their own neighborhoods while the census is a national event, in order to be successful we need to conduct it at the local level,” Regional Director Jeff Behler said.
City officials and community leaders all signed this board along with their guesses for the city’s accurate population, Fulop guessed 305 thousand people.