2010 Census Deadline Hits, And NYC Lags

Did you mail in your census form? April 1 was the deadline to complete and mail back the 10-question, 2010 census forms. And the folks at the U.S. Census Bureau aren't fooling: Unanswered questionnaires will prompt Census workers to come knocking on your door between May 1 and July 10 to obtain the necessary information -- costing taxpayers more money, we hasten to add. City courts can also fine individuals up to $5,000 for not responding.

Although more than 50 percent of U.S. households have filed and returned the forms, New York City residents are trailing behind with only 37 percent submitting their forms as of the March 31 count. City officials are urging residents to complete and mail the forms on time to maximize federal funding.

But what if residents are not always at fault?

As reported recently by the NY Times, about 40 percent of Manhattan buildings are unmarked, and thus, addresses are unidentified -- causing problems for the mail man and potentially robbing New York City of federal fund allocations due to an erroneous headcount. Additionally, New York City is not a stranger to apartment-renting violations, with reports surfacing of homeowners illegally renting out ground- and basement-level rooms to help alleviate financial distress in a recession. Those hiding residents are probably not going to truthfully answer the census forms. It doesn't help, either, that the Census Bureau overlooked a 40-story, 900-apartment building when compiling addresses for mailings.

According to a recent RentedSpaces poll*, nearly 74 percent of our readers said they would fill out the census questionnaire. However, the remaining 26 percent said they would not fill out the forms because it is a "waste of time." Such attitudes toward the census, coupled with the aforementioned challenges, will no doubt muddy the picture that results from the 2010 census data. Your city might get short-changed of federal funding as a result.

*This poll reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate.
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