As the 2020 Census draws to a close, Bayonne lags behind its 2010 Census numbers.
As of Sept. 2, only 58.3 percent of Bayonne residents had responded. By comparison, New Jersey has a 67.1 percent response rate.
In Hudson County, Bayonne currently ranks fourth; Secaucus 66.3 percent; Hoboken 65.7 percent; West New York 58.4 percent; Bayonne 58.3 percent; Guttenberg 58.2 percent; North Bergen 57.5 percent; Weehawken 57.1 percent; Union City 54.5 percent; and Jersey City 52.6 percent.
Of the Bayonne respondents, 49.5 percent were online.
This year, the census count will stop early. Census workers will finish counting on Wednesday, September 30, due to an order by President Trump.
“Since President Trump removed October from the census work schedule, the Census Bureau will have to get Bayonne’s uncounted residents counted in six weeks instead of ten,” Mayor James Davis said in August. “You can help get the job done by getting yourself counted, just in case the census workers are unable to get to your house or apartment.”
“In Census 2010, more than 60 percent of our residents sent in their census forms,” Davis said. “Let’s try to match and exceed that number this year.”
The city needs a higher response rate to receive vital federal funding, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our community needs your help,” Davis said. “You need to be counted now, or the City of Bayonne could miss out on millions of dollars during the next ten years.”
Federal funds at stake
“Through telephone calls, leaflet distributions, and letters to religious leaders, we have been urging the people of Bayonne to take part in Census 2020 now,” Davis said.
“Bayonne receives its own Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the federal government,” Davis said. “That grant is based on our population size. We get more than $1 million per year from that grant.”
For Bayonne, the anticipated CDBG allocation for 2020 is approximately $1.4 million. The block grant funds street-paving, senior citizen meal programs, and housing rehabilitation, among other programs.
“If our official population count were to fall below 50,000, we would no longer get our own Community Development Block Grant,” Davis said.
Medicare Part B, Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), and highway planning and construction also use federal funds.
“Census information helps determine federal funding for Special Education and Title I, a program that funds basic skills education,” Davis said. “Census numbers are used to calculate the federal-state mixture of funding for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Transitional Aid to Needy Families.”
How to be counted
Residents can respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, through the census form, or by a census taker.
A link has been added on the homepage of the city’s website, www.bayonnenj.org, toward the top of the page where it says “BE COUNTED IN CENSUS 2020.”
Residents can also go directly to the census website at www.2020census.gov.
To be counted by phone, residents can dial 844-330-2020 for English; 844-468-2020 for Spanish; 844-479-2020 for Polish; 844-416-2020 for Arabic; and 844-478-2020 for Tagalog.
In September, the Census Bureau will send paper census forms one more time to people who have not been counted. Residents who receive a paper form should fill it out and mail it in.
In August, census workers fanned out across Bayonne to visit residences that have not responded to the census. Census workers can be recognized by their Census 2020 ID badges which show expiration dates, according to Davis.
“If census workers come to your home, please help them get you and everyone else living there counted,” Davis said. “Please remember to include children and anyone else who lives there.”
Census workers will be on hand to count Bayonne residents at food distributions and musical events in DiDomenico-16th St. Park.
“Everybody counts,” Davis said. “It’s time to get counted. Do it now!”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.