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Congresswoman Grace Meng

Representing the 6th District of New York

Meng Urges Census Bureau to Engage South Asian Community in Run Up to 2020 Census

Jul 1, 2019
Press Release
Congresswoman, joined by several other Members of Congress, sends letter to head of U.S. Census Bureau
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) announced that she sent a letter to U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham urging him to include the South Asian community in the Census Bureau’s outreach leading up to the 2020 Decennial Census.
 
The Census Bureau—through its 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign—is presently conducting outreach in English and numerous other languages including: Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese. But the South Asian population is not included despite growing in size from 3.5 million in 2010 to approximately 5.4 million today.
 
“I’m shocked that the Census Bureau failed to include the South Asian community in its outreach leading up to the 2020 Decennial Census,” said Congresswoman Meng. “There are approximately 5.4 million South Asians currently residing in the United States, including many in my Congressional district in Queens, and I cannot emphasize enough how imperative it is that we have an accurate count of all living individuals. Director Dillingham must correct this error and immediately include the South Asian population. We have less than a year before the census begins on April 1, 2020.”
               
“Communities and neighborhoods across the nation have a lot to lose if we fail to engage the South Asian community in our census outreach,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. “Our census media efforts must reflect the future we want for our country which requires us to go beyond the bare minimum to achieving full inclusion in our outreach. We must make every effort to ensure that everyone counts!”
 
A copy of Meng’s correspondence, which includes signatures from eighteen other Members of Congress, can be viewed here and the text of the letter is below.
 
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The Honorable Dr. Steven Dillingham
Director
U.S. Census Bureau
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
 
Dear Director Dillingham:
 
We write to urge you to include the South Asian audience in the Census Bureau’s plans for the 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign.
 
The current 2020 Census Paid Campaign targets audiences in English and the following twelve (12) non-English languages: Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese.
 
With approximately 5.4 million South Asians currently living in the United States, an increase from the 3.5 million counted in the 2010 Census, it is imperative the Census Bureau takes the necessary steps to make sure the United States South Asian population is also accurately counted. These steps include targeting the South Asian audience in the 2020 Census Paid Campaign – as part of your broader media campaign for minority communities.
 
As you know, an undercount in the 2020 Decennial Census will have a devastating, decade-long impact across many states and municipalities. Furthermore, inaccuracies and depressed response rates could easily lead to severe population underrepresentation, as well as the misallocation of billions of dollars of federal aid that is distributed to communities each fiscal year. To uphold your duties that were enshrined in our Constitution to count every person living in our country, we strongly urge that your media campaign be inclusive and as extensive as possible to all the various audiences.
 
Thank you for your attention to this matter. Given the timeliness of the Decennial Census, we look forward to your prompt response on the implementation of this request.
 
Sincerely,