About the Census


The U.S. Constitution mandates a decennial census to count every person residing in the country. The census is designed and executed by the U.S. Census Bureau, an agency within the Department of Commerce. Census data is used to distribute federal funding, draw legislative districts, and influence future development. The next census will begin in April 2020 and it is essential that Nassau County gets a complete and accurate count.
Census data is used by governments, businesses, and the nonprofit community to guide investment decisions. The census is used to fund $675 billion in federal programs, including for roads and bridges, public schools, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps), the National School Lunch Program, Section 8 Housing, Head Start, and the Community Development Block Grants.


Nassau County must have a complete and accurate census county to ensure competitiveness in public funding and private investment. If a resident is not counted, the County will still be responsible for providing services but will not receive due resources. There are four challenges that may present an obstacle to obtaining a full and accurate count:  

Large Hard to Count Population:

Nassau County is the fifth hardest-to-count County in New York State. In 2010, 22% of households did not respond to the initial census questionnaire. Hard-to-count groups include renters, children under five, immigration, and those with limited English proficiency.  

Funding Levels:

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has determined that the 2020 Census is a high risk initiative and that cost estimates are not reliable. In addition, funding that has typically been available to community organizations in census efforts, has been scarce.

Technological Advancement:

The Census Bureau is aiming to invite 80% of households to submit their responses on the internet. This presents an obstacle to those who may not feel comfortable using the internet (seniors) and those without reliable access to broadband (low-income residents).

Citizenship Question:

There is currently a legal battle occurring on whether a question that asks for citizenship status can be included in the 2020 census. Many immigrant advocates have argued that immigrant households may choose not to participate. As Nassau County does have a large and growing immigrant population, this is a challenge to ensuring an accurate count.