Participate In Census – Or Lose Clout


Participate In Census

– Or Lose Clout

By DAN MASKIN • Opportunities For Otsego CEO

As mandated by the Constitution, the United States conducts a decennial census.

This once-every-10-year count of the population – it is coming up in April 2020 – shapes the future of  our communities and helps ensure political power is fairly allocated among the states and at the local level.

Some communities, like those with higher rates of low-income households and people of color, have historically been classified as hard to count.

In Otsego County, hard-to-count communities include the Sixth Ward and parts of the Fifth and Eighth wards in the City of Oneonta, and census tract 5913, which encompasses SUNY Oneonta.

Other hard-to-count communities are the towns of Oneonta and Hartwick, Milford Center, the areas of Morris-Gilbertsville and Westford-Decatur.

If communities are not fully counted in the 2020 Census, it may result in a significant loss in political influence and power as well as federal funding and other resources.

New York State could lose a member of Congress, or Otsego County may give up representation in the state legislature. Giving up political power could mean losing out on access to all kinds of resources, financial and otherwise, without a chance to fix the problem for another 10 years.

Following the lead of the national Community Action Partnership, OFO will engage in local efforts to ensure a complete count of the low-income “hard-to count” population in Otsego County.

Strategies will be implemented to communicate the importance of an accurate and complete 2020 Census count in Otsego County and measures put in place to assist families to access resources so they may participate in their civic duty.

Dan Maskin is CEO of
Opportunities for Otsego.

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