The census can affect arts funding – and a whole lot more!

Volume 120, No. 2February, 2020

The 2020 census is fast approaching! For various reasons, in past years a significant number of New Yorkers have not participated in the census. Without a complete count, our city’s fair share of congressional representation is at stake, as are billions of dollars in federal funding for health, education, transportation, infrastructure such as bridges and tunnels, and many other programs that New Yorkers rely on.
Specifically for the arts community, the census has the potential to seriously impact the distribution of dollars from the federal cultural agencies. But population-based funding allocations also exist throughout the government, including in the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and others, all of which also have pockets of funds that in part stream to the arts. Additionally, special government grants are given to areas with large populations of historically marginalized communities. If the census doesn’t get an accurate count of these populations, then arts organizations engaged with those populations could be hindered in the amount of money they can get through government grants.
For all these reasons, it’s critical that our members participate in the census, and that we as union members engage with our friends, family, and communities to make sure that every person is counted. Beginning in March, you can respond to the census online, by phone or by mail. It’s up to us to shape the future of our communities! Learn more at 2020CENSUS.GOV.