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Syracuse, Onondaga County working to make sure everyone is counted in 2020 Census

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There's a push to make sure everyone in the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County is counted in the upcoming census. A special committee has been formed to support a comprehensive census count.

Officials estimate 5,000 people weren’t counted in the city of Syracuse in the 2010 census. According to the Central New York Community Foundation, that means every year, $1,000 for each of those uncounted individuals was lost in state and federal revenue that’s based on population numbers. That's not to mention political representation in Congress.

And it’s not just the numbers. There’s an intangible reason for getting the census right.

"If you’re a business looking to invest, seeing growth is significant," said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. If you’re someone who’s considering buying a home or upgrading a home, population is significant. Just on the psyche of the community, it has an impact.”

Walsh and County Executive Ryan McMahon are spearheading the 2020 Census Syracuse-Onondaga County Complete Count Committee. It involves community leaders, business and educational organizations and local governments getting the word out to those most likely to be undercounted: people of color, low-income individuals and children. New Americans are also likely to get lost in the count.

Jay Subedi has been part of Syracuse’s Bhutanese community for more than a decade. He isn’t sure if he was counted last time the national census measured the population.

"I don’t know, I don’t know. I was counted, maybe. But I was not used to the system," said Subedi.

Educating immigrants about the system, and helping fill out the forms is his goal as chair of the New American Forum in Syracuse. 

“Get into the community, go to the churches, go to the thrift centers, mosques, religious centers, anywhere, and educate the folks," he said.

The census count will largely be conducted between March and July of 2020. 

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.