An Accurate Census Will Help New York City Thrive for Generations

City Planning Commission Chair, Marisa Lago, recently visited REBNY with a reminder about an upcoming task that is critically important to the future of New York.

Although the real work is two years away, U.S. officials have already begun preparing for the job of fairly and accurately counting every person in the United States for the 2020 Census. As the government agency in charge of the count, the Census Bureau continues to lay the groundwork for the constitutionally mandated effort.

It is obviously critical for the government to know just how many people currently live in the United States, and where. This forms the basis of benchmark surveys for governments, businesses, universities, polling agencies, researchers, and numerous other institutions. This data helps public policy experts to better understand population changes over time.

Moreover, the demographic data included in the census forms the bedrock of governmental decisions that affect every single American. When deciding where to build a new road, for example, census data is taken into consideration. And this is not just limited to roads – it also informs the location of new schools, health care facilities, child care facilities, and senior center facilities to determine where new utilities are needed.

For a municipality as dynamic as New York City, understanding the demographic changes in our city is of crucial importance. After the last update to the 2010 census, in 2016, officials learned that the city is in the midst of a population boom the likes of which it hasn’t seen for over 50 years. That growth in population extends to all five boroughs.

That data can be used to make future projections, all of which will help attract new businesses, inform new investment, and help create a better New York City that can serve the needs of each and every citizen – now and in the years to come.

Like every other public policy issue, the census is important to the real estate industry.

As the city continues to debate critical issues around land use, the production of housing to meet demand at every income level, transportation improvements, and other city planning matters, these debates should be informed by accurate data.

And on a smaller scale, the census can help developers, brokers, and property managers to better understand their blocks, neighborhoods, and cities – and, as such, make more informed and educated business decisions that will better serve New Yorkers.

It goes without saying that this process is duplicated in towns, municipalities, counties, and states across the United States. Better data about and accurate headcounts of the people who drive on American roads and live and work in American towns and cities helps to make those localities even stronger.

There is nowhere in America where that is more true than the ever-changing New York City. Understanding who lives in our city, and where, is essential to maintaining New York’s status as the greatest city in the world.