9 questions, 5 minutes: Buffalo makes last big push for census participation

Aug 10, 2020

The 2020 Census is still going on, but not for much longer. The once-a-decade count of all residents of the United States was supposed to go through Oct. 31, but federal officials are ending the process at the end of September. This concerns Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, who says undercounting in the city in 2010 cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars over the last decade.

"The census is critically important to the City of Buffalo, to ensure that we get our fair share of federal funds for schools, roads, housing and other critical programs," Brown said. "Buffalo was undercounted according to the U.S. Census in 2010. We had an approximately 67% response rate. That's not good enough."

Brown notes that the census takes only a few minutes to fill out, and that by law, the information is used only to get an accurate count of population, so answering the questions does not, in his words, put anyone at risk.

Credit City of Buffalo

"The census is a very easy process and that's what we want people to know," he said. "Nine easy questions. You can do it on your cell phone. It only takes five minutes. Go to 2020census.gov. And while you are waiting in your car, while you are waiting between the change of programs on TV, you can fill out your census. It's that easy. It's that quick."

Brown said the city is partnering with churches, community groups and other organizations to ensure that they get an accurate count by increasing the response rate.

"The census enumerators will have identification. Our youth census workers will have identification. If somebody calls you on the phone, please take the call. If somebody texts you, please respond to the text," Brown said.

WBFO's Nick Lippa contributed to this story.