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Politics and Government

‘Negative consequences’ for years to come: Syracuse mayor responds to census count ending early

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh is responding to the U.S. Census Bureau’s decision to end all counting efforts for the 2020 census a month earlier than previously announced. The bureau’s director said it’s part of their plan to accelerate the completion of data collection by the end of the year. Walsh said cutting off the census count on September 30 is very troubling, undermines all the works that’s been done, and will hurt the city for years to come. 

“I’m incredibly disappointed, incredibly troubled,” Walsh said. “I’m calling on the White House and all of our federal delegation to reconsider that decision. It will have significant and long-term negative consequences on the people of Syracuse.”

The self-response rate in Syracuse, so far, is about 50%. That’s below the state and national average. Census data is used to determine how much federal funding municipalities get, and also federal representation, for the next decade.

Walsh said Syracuse has numerous hard to count populations, like students and communities of color.

“That’s why having as much time as possible to do the enumeration, to knock on the doors, is so important,” Walsh said. “But we’ve seen a continued effort on behalf of the federal government, and specifically the White House, to undermine the process and make it that much more difficult for our marginalized communities to participate in the census.”

Walsh said the city saw tangible progress and an uptick in the self-response rate last week, after they increased their efforts.

“Understanding that that time is going to be limited, we just have to double down on our efforts for the remaining time to try to get everyone we can to fill it out,” Walsh said.