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CONGRESSWOMAN YVETTE D. CLARKE
REPRESENTING NEW YORK’S 11th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2009
Contact: Ronnie Sykes: 347.213.1533
Rep. Clarke’s Caribbean Count Bill Garners Support from New York Senators
Checkbox would better represent diversity, encourage higher census participation in the Caribbean community, and help to achieve a more accurate count in the 2010 Census
Washington, DC— Today, Senators Charles Schumer and Kristin Gillibrand proposed a Companion Bill to Rep. Yvette D. Clarke’s Caribbean Count Bill (H.R. 2071), an historic bill that calls for Caribbean nationals to have their own origins check box on the U.S. Census form. The Bill requires that all questionnaires used in the taking of any decennial census of the U.S. population, to include a checkbox or a similar option be included so that respondents may indicate Caribbean extraction or descent.
“I want to commend Senators Gillibrand and Schumer for demonstrating great leadership by introducing the Senate companion to HR 2071: Caribbean Count Bill,” said Rep. Yvette D. Clarke. “Census Day is less than a year away, and it is imperative that every household participate in order to ensure an accurate count. Data generated by the Census is used to help equitably distribute federal funding from a wide range of government sources. A higher response rate from the Caribbean immigrant community would help ensure that more public resources are available to all New Yorkers.”
Clarke continued, “the bill does not call for an additional race category, but rather a self-identifying ancestry category/national origin in order to get a more accurate count of people of Caribbean descent living in the United States.”
“New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the world and must be fully represented in the census,” Schumer said. “Including this checkbox would surely provide better representation of our great city and its Caribbean American population. New Yorkers of Caribbean descents are an essential part of the New York City population and they deserve to be accurately counted.”
“It’s time to make sure all New Yorkers are counted fairly and accurately in the census,” Senator Gillibrand said. “New York’s Caribbean community contributes so much to our economy, our diverse culture and the way of the life that makes New York the great state it is. By failing to recognize Caribbean families in our census data, we are failing to obtain a true picture of the people, families and communities that make up New York and all of America. It’s time to make this important change.”
The Companion bill proposed by Schumer and Gillibrand states that in conducting the 2010 decennial census and every decennial census thereafter, the Secretary of Commerce shall include, in any questionnaire distributed or otherwise used for the purpose of determining the total population by states, a checkbox or other similar option by which respondents may indicate Caribbean extraction or descent.
H.R. 2071- Caribbean Count Bill
This bill requires that a checkbox or other similar option be included so that respondents may indicate Caribbean extraction or descent in the questionnaires used in the taking of any decennial census of population.
This bill is important to the District because:
· It draws attention to the significance of the 2010 U.S. census to the Caribbean community, which because of cultural sensitivities and other factors can sometimes be reluctant to complete the forms.
· Census Day is less than a year away, and it is imperative that every household participate in order to ensure an accurate count.
· Today, data generated by the census is used not only to determine voter representation, but also to help equitably distribute federal funding from a wide range of government programs.
· Census data is an invaluable resource to private industry, helping businesses make sensible decisions about how and where to expand their capital. An accurate count of the Caribbean community will highlight their purchasing power and economic impact both in the U.S. and global markets.